Office Hours- A Council Member’s Perspective

I didn’t really know what to expect when I received my first Office Hours request. There were a few emotions running through my head after I finished reading the email notifying me of my first appointment:

1. I felt incredibly flattered that someone would choose me out of all the thirteen accomplished, experienced, and amazing youth who volunteer with me on the council.

2. Nervous. I wanted to give this person a positive experience with the National Youth Council, encourage them to stick with the Red Cross forever, and to think I was cool. All realistic goals, of course.

3. Really, really excited. I get to interact with someone who loves the Red Cross enough to want to talk to a complete stranger about it (one of my favorite things to do, to be honest)!

I sent an email their way to confirm that I was a real person, proofreading several times to make sure I gave off the perfect impression of professional, friendly, and awesome (this post is going to knock my carefully crafted reputation to rubble, I’m sure), and when our appointment rolled around, I felt just as flattered/nervous/excited as I did for the past week.

We had texted a bit before, and we actually had a phone call instead of video chatting like the Office Hours link advertises. But hey, she had just woken up and I hardly looked like a rose. Boston is killing my skin.

Anyways, it turned out she was starting a Red Cross club in her high school close to my hometown, and I was absolutely floored by how much she reminded me of myself when I was first starting! I mean, we even had the same meeting times (every other Tuesday at lunch). A majority of the conversation was filled with me rambling about tips for member engagement and retention, how to execute events that were successful with my club, different outside opportunities in the area, and all the resources that the National Youth Council pushes out to help with anything and everything Red Cross. She listened intently, and asked sharp and pertinent questions. I felt like I genuinely helped her, and also thought she was the absolute sweetest for putting up with me for the entire fifteen minutes.

Since then, I’ve had one other appointment with a volunteer struggling against his school a bit to start a club. I was absolutely blown away by his passion, dedication, and focus towards alleviating human suffering, even through peer and administrative pressures. Also, he printed out a short novel consisting of every activity guide on (cue silent cheering) to prove to his school that the Red Cross is worth its own club. If that doesn’t inspire you to pause Netflix to go out and do something for the world, I don’t know what will.

When you’re involved in an organization on a national level, it can sometimes feel like you’re being stretched across too big of a space, and it can be difficult to reach the individual volunteer. I think Office Hours provides so much more support and flexibility for that stretch, and I personally believe that it’s one of our best resources yet. My first appointment left me feeling energized and inspired by the youth of our country, and reassured me that my generation was one that is sensitive, conscious, and empowered to lead the world to strides in the right direction.

I have another appointment coming up this week, and I’m feeling as flattered, nervous, and excited as ever.

– Jacqueline Young

Sign up for office hours here!

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