2015 Navin Narayan Scholarship Announcement
Congratulations to our 2015 Navin Narayan Scholarship Winner – Melanie Nomiya! Melanie graduated from North High School last May and has just finished her first quarter at UCLA. She is now involved with the UCLA Red Cross Club and the West LA Red Cross chapter, and she continues to donate her time to the North High School Red Cross Club and the South Bay Chapter.
This $1000 scholarship will help her continue her Red Cross involvement, as well as provide outreach to future Navin Narayan scholarship winners. Melanie is still writing her Red Cross story, but we thank her for the impact that she has already made in her community. To see Melanie’s story, read below.
Four years ago, I could barely squeak out my name in front of people. I suffered from nervous attacks just before it was my turn to do presentations in class—palms sweating, knees shaking, heart palpitating. Ever since my childhood, my peers branded me as a shy, quiet girl. This constructed the foundation of my self-image; I thought myself to be weak and incapable of socializing. Little did I know that my future involvement with the American Red Cross would impact my life in profound ways.
I started volunteering with the South Bay Youth Red Cross when I tagged along with my older sister to one of their local general meetings. I remember walking into the room and being immediately greeted by the current youth executive board members there. That day was a disaster safety puppet show training, and despite being the most quiet girl in the room, the e-board members encouraged me to participate along with everyone else. The warmth of my first Red Cross experience motivated me to become more active as a volunteer and so I attended the next few meetings eager to learn more about the organization.
The South Bay Youth Red Cross end-of-the-year banquet in June 2012 was the pivotal moment that inspired me to put forth my greatest effort as a Red Cross volunteer. The adult supervisor proudly announced and congratulated the E-board president at the time, Siena Oberman, for being the recipient of the Navin Narayan scholarship. When I heard about her various accomplishments with the Red Cross, I was motivated to challenge myself by starting the Red Cross club at my high school. As I became more involved with the Red Cross the next three years of high school, I not only fell in love with the mission of the organization but I also began to grow in confidence.
I sought different ways to spread the Red Cross mission in my community as well as develop as a leader. In my junior year, I became the Disaster Preparedness officer of the South Bay Youth Red Cross e-board and in my senior year, I was elected as president. I attended and staffed the Los Angeles Region American Red Cross Leadership Development Camp in 2014 and 2015 which gave me a new perspective of the Red Cross as an organization—an organization that also fosters leadership development in youth like me. I was also one of the team leaders for North High’s International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign Team which was one of the five winning teams in the nation to attend the Youth Leadership Summit at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C.!
Four years ago, I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone. Four years ago, I was deeply moved by the work of local Red Cross youth. Four years later, I am extremely proud and honored to be a Navin Narayan scholarship recipient. When I found out I won the scholarship, I researched Navin Narayan’s biography and read his Rhodes scholarship essay. This time, I was moved to tears. Reading about Navin’s strength and dedication through the Red Cross further inspired me to use this scholarship to continue growing as a leader, represent the Red Cross in bigger ways, and of course share Navin’s story. As I will soon start my freshman year at UCLA, I hope to become active with the UCLA Red Cross and West LA Red Cross chapter, mentor high school Red Cross volunteers, and continue staffing for Leadership Development Camp! Nothing makes me prouder than saying that I’m a volunteer of the Red Cross. Thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve met through the Red Cross, and thank you all for believing in me.
– Melanie Nomiya, 2015 Navin Narayan Scholarship Winner