Namrata’s Reflection on the Field Ambassador Program

Namrata Rajaraman, Field Ambassador 2017-2018


I have been a Red Cross volunteer for the past three years, ever since I first received a mini Hershey bar from a representative of the Enloe High School Red Cross Club. The variety of skills I have learned and the people I have met never ceases to amaze me. I have learned how to man a desk, fix a fax machine, conduct a social media campaign, install a fire alarm, talk to everyone from kindergarteners to Vietnam veterans, plan escape routes in case of a fire, and so much more while volunteering with the American Red Cross. From working the front counter as a blood drive greeter to communicating with the Lead Volunteer Coordinator for my region, volunteering with the Red Cross and being a part of the Field Ambassador program has been instrumental in helping me develop effective communication skills, responsibility, and passion for service.


I first came across the link to the application for the inaugural Field Ambassador program while looking at the Red Cross Youth website for activities that my high school club could do during the year. Our club had never been one of the most popular ones in terms of membership, and a common response I would hear while talking to other students about it was “We have a Red Cross Club?” So, when I found this link, I decided to explore it, wondering if this opportunity would help me think of ways to boost membership, implement project ideas, and most of all, avoid hearing “Red Cross Club? Huh?” one more time.


And it did.


When I received the email notifying me that I had been accepted to the Field Ambassador program, I was so surprised and overjoyed, I dropped the spinach I was buying on the floor. Looking back over the past seven months, being a part of this program was definitely deserving of that level of excitement (and worth the loss of my spinach.)


I remember the very first conference call with all ten Field Ambassadors, and how much I learned about the way other chapters function, the different journeys my fellow Field Ambassadors had taken to get to where they were with the Red Cross today, and the different ideas they had to help further its mission. Some were part of well-established chapters with their very own Youth Councils and Leadership Development Conferences, while others had volunteer boards that were constantly changing and an almost nonexistent youth volunteer base. We came from regions all across the nation, from the east to the west coast. One thing that connected us all, however, was our passion for service and dedication to the mission of the Red Cross.


Every subsequent conference call was a new learning opportunity. I learned what it was like to conduct a nationwide social media campaign for the Home Fire Campaign, Sound the Alarm, and, for the first time, truly considered what could happen in the unfortunate event that my house was to be set alight and how my family and I could escape in a safe and timely way. I learned how incredible it makes others feel to be recognized for their hard work while working to recognize outstanding youth members from across the nation, and was inspired by the myriad of innovative projects other passionate youth were conducting across different clubs and chapters. I learned skills through working with the Red Cross and how I could potentially apply these skills in college, the workplace, and at other times later in life. The Field Ambassador program helped me consider ideas I had never thought about before and meet new people from across the country, and these are experiences whose value can never be underestimated.


Being a part of the Field Ambassador program was also invaluable towards the growth of my school club and strengthening my connections with my local chapter and nearby clubs. Before starting the program, I hadn’t been aware of the fact that other Red Cross Clubs besides my own existed in the area, and I was pleasantly surprised when my chapter liaison provided me with a spreadsheet with at least ten other clubs in the area, including college clubs, which got me thinking about how I could continue my Red Cross involvement in college, as well. The skills and guidance I gained from being a Field Ambassador also helped me keep my school club afloat and garner more interest than we have had in the three years I have been a member. We now have more than fifty members and twelve people running for board, up from five the year before, which was an improvement bigger than I could ever have hoped for. If it weren’t for the guidance of my National Youth Council liaison during our monthly calls and the inspiration from the other Council members and Field Ambassadors, I wouldn’t have had the stimulation to keep the club I care so deeply about on its feet, and for this I am eternally grateful.


What started out as a vague interest in anything related to the medical field and a hunt for clubs handing out candy during a freshman year club fair has turned into a journey of learning and leadership unlike any I’ve ever had. The returns I got from this program, from invaluable leadership experience to vastly improved communication abilities to a stronger rapport with my local chapter and school club members, would not have existed if it had not been for the Field Ambassador program. Whether you are first starting your Red Cross journey or are a seasoned Red Cross volunteering veteran, whether your club has hundreds of members and a competitive application process or just one member (you), I encourage anyone reading this to apply to be a Field Ambassador. You will learn how to make the most of your Red Cross volunteer experience, make a national impact, and, most importantly, grow as a person and as a volunteer. I know I have done all of the above, and I’m excited to continue my journey as a Red Cross volunteer through my senior year in high school and beyond!

Thank you for your service, Namrata!

-The National Youth Council


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