Megan’s Reflection on the Field Ambassador Program

2017-2018 Field Ambassador, Megan Zachariah

In August 2014, I had just moved from Andover, New Jersey, to my new home in Sugarland, Texas. I was an incoming sophomore to Clements High School who left all traces of my identity in New Jersey, the place I called home for over 15 years. Being a Girl Scout of 8 years and having completed my Gold Award, the only part of my identity that carried over during the move was my commitment and passion for service.


An annual tradition in my school for all incoming students is “Club Night” in which all the functioning clubs of Clements High School advertised their mission and tried to recruit new students. Walking around the crowded cafeteria, I spotted a table covered in red. From red-colored desserts and Red Cross merchandise spread across a red tablecloth, I was captivated by the spirit and enthusiasm of both the Red Cross booth and the officers tirelessly trying to share their mission – to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.


From the moment I filled out the Club’s form requesting further information about Club membership, I knew I had just made a lifetime commitment, and I was excited.


May 2015 was my first year with the Red Cross and was one of the most impactful and memorable journeys I had ever experienced. Not only was I able to acquaint myself with my peer group based on our common passion for service, but I was also able to learn more about my community. My first year with the Red Cross took me to downtown Houston where I was able to meet fellow Red Crossers from other clubs and selfless adult volunteers who showed me that a lifetime commitment to the Red Cross was not only possible, but also rewarding.


During my first year with the Red Cross, I was also granted the opportunity to serve on my first disaster relief operation during the Memorial Day Floods in Houston. Tasked with manning the phones, my main responsibilities included assigning local volunteers relief work and receiving calls from affected individuals requesting aid. Forever ingrained in my memory was a call I had taken from a man whose car flooded leaving him stranded and unable to acquire the necessary resources for his young family. His grieved voice simultaneously moved and frustrated me, as I, a young 14 year old, could do nothing to personally help him other than referring him to more experienced volunteer. From that moment, I realized that I wanted to do more than just be a volunteer. I wanted to develop the necessary leadership experiences and skills needed in order to be a trusted asset and a beacon of hope as a Red Cross volunteer to individuals affected by disasters and emergencies.


As of June 2018, I have been a both a Red Cross volunteer as well as a youth leader for over 3 years. My conviction to serve my community at a more elevated level pushed me to serve as an officer with the Clements Red Cross, the Greater Houston Area Youth Service Council, and as a National Youth Council Field Ambassador. All the experiences I acquired with these three organizations have allowed me to grow as a leader and a more compassionate volunteer. From organizing region-wide socials to representing the Red Cross for the past two years at Club Night, my high school journey with the Red Cross has truly come full circle. As I close the chapter with my journey with the Clements Red Cross as well as on the Youth Service Council, I have also started a new chapter with the Red Cross. My work with the Field Ambassador program of the National Youth Council has opened my eyes to the bountiful opportunities available to collegiate Red Crossers and beyond.


During our very first introductory conference call, I was inspired by my fellow Field Ambassadors. Sharing our personal journeys with the Red Cross and motivations for continuing our service on the national level, I came to realize that this program would profoundly affect my future with the Red Cross. We shared our individual club’s and chapter’s traditions and different events we hosted to attract more volunteers. We collaborated on social media campaigns and YouthWire articles for national initiatives like Sound the Alarm and volunteer recognition. We spent countless hours every month to motivate youth across the nation to partake in the Red Cross mission. Though I have never met any of my fellow Field Ambassadors in person, I have benefited from their contagious enthusiasm for service and commitment to serve youth nationwide. As a team, we existed as a unique link between our individual regions and the National Youth Council. By implementing similar ideas across state lines, such as the Home Fire Campaign selfie challenge, both my club and I were amazed at the interconnectedness of Red Cross youth upon seeing participation across the nation.


My work as a Field Ambassador has allowed me to witness the efforts of Red Cross youth across the nation and use this knowledge to better engage the youth in my own chapter. Collaborating on national initiatives and solutions to overarching national problems, such as youth engagement, has by far been the most rewarding and impactful experience I have had so far during my Red Cross journey. From my first day as a Field Ambassador to my last conference call with the team, I have discovered an open door as I close the door on high school. The door that my Field Ambassador position has opened for me will bring me to continue serving the Red Cross through national initiatives and using the skills and ideas I have developed as an ambassador to advance my collegiate Red Cross club and community.


I will always remember my experience with the Field Ambassador Program as one that widened my potential as a youth leader. I want to thank all the Field Ambassadors, National Youth Council members, and advisors for dedicating all the time and passion needed to make this program as successful as it was.


If you are considering joining this program, you will greatly benefit personally and professionally. You will grow in your passion for service and leadership potential. As this program has opened the door for collegiate and adult Red Cross service for me, it will open even more doors for those who are dedicated to the Red Cross mission. Therefore, in the wise words of Clara Barton, The door that nobody else will go in at, seems always to swing open widely for me”; so enter this door with the conviction to serve your nationwide community and grow as a selfless Red Cross volunteer.
Thank you Megan for being an outstanding Red Cross youth volunteer,
The National Youth Council

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