How the Red Cross Gave Back

For me and most Red Cross volunteers, there is no end to what we will do to be of assistance. This includes being ready to get up and serve at all hours of the day or night.

My call came at 3AM one morning this winter. It wasn’t to respond to a home fire or a tornado. Instead, it was to participate in a live stream event with the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) team at National Headquarters. The event was co-sponsored with the Swedish Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and was primarily geared toward international audiences. And I had been chosen to be the youth voice to represent the American Red Cross’ Humanitarian Education initiative. I was faced with a pair of big shoes to fill, but I was ready for my 15 minutes of fame.

As I was driving across the city, mentally practicing answers in my head, it finally hit me. I couldn’t believe that I had been asked to do this. Hundreds of Red Cross employees and volunteers from around the world were about to hear about my experiences with the International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign (IHLAC). A wave came over me and I immediately became so thankful for everything the Red Cross had given me. I could never have imagined that I would be given this incredibly unique opportunity when I first signed up to join my university’s IHLAC.

I immediately started to reminisce, and brought myself back to each incredible opportunity the Red Cross has given to me. Two internships, an incredible college club experience, tornado recovery experience, years of blood drives, and even the skills to be a successful babysitter when I was just 12 years old. Now I am lucky to have received the gift of the National Youth Council. I have been blessed with 12 new friends who will continue to grow with me in our Red Cross experiences.

The season of giving may be over, but when you’re a Red Cross volunteer, you have a gift that keeps on giving. If you’re considering getting more involved in 2016, look no further. This is your sign. When you give your time to the Red Cross, the Red Cross gives back.

– Shannon Vance, Navin Award Committee Liaison

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