National Youth Council Members 2021–2022


Will Chai

Will is the Chair of the National Youth Council.

Will is a student at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island studying Human Biology and Neuroscience. He began volunteering with the American Red Cross in the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region after becoming the president and founder of a Red Cross Club at his high school. In October 2016, Will was elected onto the National Capital Region’s Volunteer Appreciation Committee, where he helped create policies that improved volunteer engagement in the region. In 2017, he went on to serve as a Citizen CPR Leader and Blood Services Ambassador. Throughout the years, Will and his Club have organized numerous fundraisers, raising thousands of dollars for disaster relief, and participated in many Red Cross campaigns such as Holiday Mail for Heroes and Sound the Alarm. Will has been recognized for his efforts by being awarded the 2015–2016 Youth Volunteer of the Year for the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region. He has also received the 2015 and 2016 Presidential Volunteer Service Award and was selected to be the host and speaker for the 100th Annual Red Cross Meeting in Washington D.C. Contact Will at [email protected].



Ariana Deng

Ariana is a student at the University of Southern California, where she is pursuing a double major in Global Health and International Relations Global Business. She began volunteering with the American Red Cross the summer before her freshman year of high school when she attended the 2016 Northern California Coastal Region Leadership Development Center (LDC). Following her first camp experience, she became a staff leader and member of the Advisory Board for LDC, helping grow professional development and disaster preparedness skills in high school volunteers. Ariana has also held positions in the East Bay Red Cross Chapter, serving as Club Liaison Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Youth Executive Board. She facilitated monthly regional volunteer meetings, CPR and First Aid trainings, and other projects related to the five lines of service. Ariana was also involved in her high school’s Red Cross Club. As President, she aimed to create a welcoming atmosphere for members. Additionally, she established her club’s first Committee Board that allowed members to gain leadership experience and create more local volunteer events. In both 2018 and 2019, she received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Aside from the Red Cross, Ariana enjoys dancing, editing videos, as well as watching romantic comedy movies. Contact Ariana at [email protected].



Alisha Merchant

Alisha is a student at the University of Southern California, where she is studying film. She began volunteering in the New Jersey region when she joined the Bergen County Youth Council in 2017.  Since then, she has held the position of Vice President in her County Council, alongside reregistering and running her school’s Red Cross Club and serving as co- president of the New Jersey Youth Council. In these roles she has organized virtual disaster preparedness scavenger hunts, Holiday Mail for Heroes events, educated the community about CPR and fire alarms at local fairs, and organized fundraisers where she’s raised hundreds of dollars. She received the New Jersey Red Cross Youth Pacesetter Award in 2019. She’s also taken roles outside of youth clubs as a Financial Development Stewardess, writing letters for donors in New Jersey, and volunteering as a Blood Donor Ambassador. She is currently training to become a Disaster Outreach volunteer! As a member of the National Youth Council, Alisha hopes to create more accessible volunteer opportunities in a virtual space and connect volunteers across the nation. Outside of Red Cross, Alisha enjoys doing yoga, watching YouTube videos, and going on midnight drives with friends. Contact Alisha at [email protected].



Arthi Venkatakrishnan

Arthi is a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, New Jersey interested in pursuing business. She began volunteering with the American Red Cross in 2017 at the Princeton Youth Council in the New Jersey Region. Since then, she’s become the co-president of the Princeton Youth Council, Regional Intake Lead of the Volunteer Intake Processing Center, president of her school’s Red Cross club, president of the New Jersey Youth Council, and lead International Humanitarian Law youth advocate in her region. Through her leadership in various volunteer services, Arthi has spent 1000+ hours planning blood drives and fundraisers, designing social media awareness content, and managing various teams of adult and youth volunteers. For her efforts over the past 4 years, she has received regional Pacesetter and Outstanding Youth Involvement Awards, as well as the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award and Prudential Spirit of Community Bronze Award. Arthi joined the National Youth Council in 2021 and is very excited to work with youth across the nation. Apart from volunteering at the Red Cross, Arthi spends her time reading romance novels and singing, Contact Arthi at [email protected].



Audrey Nguyen

Audrey Nguyen is a student at the University of Houston, where she is majoring in Honors Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Medicine & Society. Audrey began her Red Cross story with the Sound the Alarm: Save a Life Campaign in her sophomore year. Since then, she has served various local and regional leadership positions, such as President of her high school’s Red Cross Club and Chair of the Texas Gulf Coast Region (TGCR) Youth Service Council. What makes volunteering with the Red Cross so fulfilling to her is definitely the people. Everyone she has met along her journey, from her fellow students to the TGCR Unit Executive, has reinforced how meaningful it is to serve her Red Cross community. Whether installing smoke alarms, planning the next regional initiative, or just having fun together, the people are what make the experiences unforgettable. One of Audrey’s favorite memories was leading disaster communication workshops as the TGCR Field Ambassador. She has always been passionate about body language and human interaction. Hosting these virtual sessions was an opportunity to delve deeper into her interests while helping other Red Crossers become better, more knowledgeable volunteers. Outside of the Red Cross, Audrey loves to watch YouTube videos, (attempt to) dance, and bake at 1:00 a.m. Contact Audrey at [email protected].



Dylan Lim

Dylan is a senior at Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio, Texas. He began his Red Cross journey by volunteering at the Fort Sam Houston Hospital in both 2018 and 2019, where he began to notice the importance and need of youth volunteers in his local region. From this experience, Dylan became inspired and founded a Red Cross Chapter at his high school during his Sophomore year, where he continues to serve as President. He has led his club in a wide array of service activities, including Holiday Mail for Heroes, Totes of Hope, Helping Hands, and works as his clubs Youth Advocate Lead for the International Humanitarian Law Youth Action Campaign. During March of 2020, Dylan created a region wide mask making initiative with his club and community, and more notably, he recently started a large-scale initiative with over 18 different elementary and middle schools in his area, where he focuses on spreading the Red Cross mission, youth activism, and humanitarianism to a younger age demographic. Dylan also currently serves as a Training Lead Youth Ambassador for the Central and South Texas Region, in order to support fellow highschoolers on their Red Cross journey, and has received his School’s 2021 Superintendent’s award and the Gold Presidential Service award for 2019 and 2020 as recognition for his community service. Outside of the Red Cross, Dylan loves playing piano and tennis, walking his dog, and blending smoothies. Contact Dylan at [email protected].



Elizabeth Low

Elizabeth is a senior at Linn Mar High School in Marion, Iowa. She began her Red Cross journey in 2018 when she started the first high school Red Cross Club in Iowa. As president of the Club, Elizabeth also works with adult Red Cross volunteers to introduce new ideas to the Club for improving the community. Elizabeth has led the Club through several Red Cross initiatives including Holiday Mail for Heroes, Sound the Alarm, blood drives, fundraisers for nationwide disasters raising over hundreds of dollars, and other community projects. She also guided the club through a COVID-19 campaign during March of 2020 to encourage her school’s students to follow health guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the virus. As a National Youth Council member, Elizabeth hopes to encourage young students across the nation to start their own Red Cross Clubs to improve communities around the country. Outside of the Red Cross, Elizabeth loves to volunteer at her local hospital, bake for the Ronald McDonald House, play violin and tennis in her free time, and cuddle with her dog. Contact Elizabeth at [email protected].



Ethan Chiu

Ethan is a senior at Syosset High School in Syosset, New York. He began his Red Cross journey in 2019, co-founding Syosset Red Cross Club and presiding over one of the largest clubs in his school. Having organized a beach cleanup and a nursing home visit before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethan shifted to all-virtual fundraisers for the American Red Cross and virtual community events aimed at raising money for local healthcare heroes in hospitals and clinics, which were both featured in the Red Cross Youth May and June newsletters. By the end of the first year of Syosset Red Cross Club, it had become the top hour-earning high school in the Greater New York region. In the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Ethan hosted fundraisers in local restaurants to raise thousands for the American Red Cross, community mapping events, local business initiatives, supply drives for the homeless, and beach cleanups. Ultimately, Ethan hopes to get more youth involved with the American Red Cross as a National Youth Councilmember. Aside from the Red Cross, Ethan loves to read, debate, conduct research, and walk with friends. Contact Ethan at [email protected].



Himashi Liyanarachchi

Himashi is a freshman at the University of Florida majoring in Microbiology and Cell Science and minoring in Computer Science. Recently, moving to the North Florida Region, she serves as her region’s Volunteer Services Youth Lead. She began her Red Cross journey when she founded her Red Cross Club as a sophomore at Seminole High School, where she served as Co-President. As Co-President, she focused on managing the Club, delegating tasks, and organizing/leading events. Through the Club, Himashi has organized and participated in events including Holiday Mail for Heroes, hands-only CPR Training, Sound the Alarm installation events, and various Red Cross services. She held several Red Cross Ready & Hurricane Preparedness Presentations with a team of fellow youth volunteers. She also aided in supervising her Club’s International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Youth Action Campaign (YAC), going on to serve as a Political Discourse Speaker at the 2020 IHL YAC Summit. Through this position, she was able to further develop her passion for International Services and Awareness, constructing an engaging presentation for select members of Congress. Himashi joined the National Youth Council in 2020 and anticipates a long-lasting involvement with the American Red Cross, contributing to further projects associated with International Humanitarian Aid. Contact Himashi at [email protected].



Rodrigo Estrada

Rodrigo is a recent graduate from the University of Chicago, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in International Relations with Honors. Originally from El Paso, TX, Rodrigo joined his local Red Cross chapter as a high school sophomore in response to the humanitarian needs of his border community. He has continued turning his compassion into action as Community Volunteer Leader for the El Paso Chapter. Rodrigo has also mobilized the power of youth as Youth Engagement Lead and Regional Coordinator for the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Youth Action Campaign in the Illinois Region. He also serves on the Latino Outreach Committee. Rodrigo is a recipient of the nationally competitive Truman Scholarship for public service. Contact Rodrigo at [email protected].



Shivum Kapoor

Shivum is a senior at San Mateo High School in San Mateo, California. He began volunteering with the American Red Cross in the Northern California Coastal Region at the start of his freshman year after stumbling into his high school’s Red Cross Club, which he later became the president of. After falling in love with NCCR’s monthly Sound the Alarm campaigns, Shivum sought additional ways to engage with the organization and has never looked back since. In 2020, he joined the Regional Screening & Intake Team to screen, onboard, and engage prospective youth volunteers with the Red Cross mission. Shivum also held positions on NCCR’s Youth Executive Boards as a Club Liaison Coordinator and Co-Chair, where he supported new Club creation and worked alongside his fellow board members to create and host dozens of events. He was voted in as a youth representative on his region’s Board of Directors. Concurrently, Shivum is the Regional Youth Engagement Lead for NCCR and strives to create, provide, and enhance engagement opportunities for NCCR’s youth and young adult volunteers alongside his region’s Volunteer and Youth Services Team. In 2019 and 2020, he received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and was the 2021 recipient of the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership at the National Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. Aside from the Red Cross, Shivum enjoys swimming, making pancakes, and experimenting with different coffee flavors. Contact Shivum at [email protected].



Steven Huang

Steven Huang is a student at the University of California, Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he pursuing a major in Molecular and Cellular Biology with an emphasis in biochemistry. He began volunteering with the American Red Cross in the Northern California Coastal Region as at the end of his freshman year in high school. Throughout his high school career, Steven’s been involved with blood drives, fundraisers for Measles and Rubella, Sound the Alarm, Pedro the Penguin and a mask drive that gained district-wide recognition. Outside of high school, in the Northern California Coastal region, Steven was appointed as the Chair of the West Bay Youth Executive Board, interviewed as a prospective youth screener, hosted and been a staff member for the Northern California Coastal Region’s annual Leadership Development Camp (LDC), and served as a youth representative for his chapter’s Board of Directors. He is currently serving as the Volunteer Screening Lead for his region. Steven has been recognized for his volunteerism by being awarded the 2020-2021 Youth Champion Award, the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 President’s Volunteer Service Award, and the Jefferson Volunteer Award on behalf of his high school. Outside of the Red Cross, Steven loves to practice portrait and landscape photography, work out, cook, and brew coffee. Contact Steven at [email protected].



Wes Smith

Wes is a student at the University of Arkansas, where he is pursuing a Major in Business Management/Entrepreneurship while minoring in Nonprofit Studies and Marketing. His first exposure with the American Red Cross came from the First Aid Merit Badge in Boy Scouts at eleven years old, and again as a Lifeguard Instructor as a Senior in high school, helping certify over fifty lifeguards during the summer. Upon entering the University, Wes found the Red Cross Club and began his volunteer efforts. By the end of freshman year, Wes was elected as President of the Red Cross Club for the ’19-’20 school year, and in December 2019 he received a seat on the Northwest Arkansas Chapter Board. After receiving MOAR’s Youth and Young Adult Leadership Award in June of 2020, Wes used the opportunity to volunteer in New Orleans for two weeks as a Shelter Supervisor while attending courses virtually. His vision for Youth and Young Adult Engagement in MOAR led to the creation of the Region’s first Red Cross Club Coordinator position in January 2021. After discovering the opportunity for Business Operations Internships, Wes spent the Summer of 2021 with the Executive Office of the Los Angeles Region. Aside from volunteering with the Red Cross, Wes loves to travel, idealistically discuss new thoughts and changes, and enjoy good food. Contact Wes at [email protected].



Allie Parker, Advisor

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2015, Allie joined the Red Cross as an AmeriCorps member serving as the Youth Services Coordinator in Oakland, CA. where she spent most of her service year integrating youth and young adult volunteers into disaster preparedness programs across the region. Allie is now a Volunteer Services Sr. Specialist in Northern California Coastal Region based out of San Francisco, responsible for supporting and engaging the region’s youth and young adult volunteers. Recently, her focus has been on growing and expanding the region’s Youth Executive Board leadership opportunities, engaging youth and young adult volunteers in the more rural areas of the region, and growing youth participation and leadership in departments such as Disaster Services and International Services. Allie has a passion for youth engagement and volunteerism, having spurred from her time as both a youth and young adult volunteer herself. Advocating for, and getting the opportunity to support youth and young adult volunteers as they serve our communities through the Red Cross mission has been an incredible experience thus far. She is thrilled to continue that journey with the National Youth Council and watch youth involvement grow within the organization. In her spare time, you will find Allie reading classic books, attempting to master new hobbies, or binge-watching reality TV shows. Contact Allie at [email protected].



Anna Giang, Advisor

Anna has been dedicated to growing and developing youth services in the Los Angeles Region by establishing relationships and initiating youth programs within some of the most underserved communities in Los Angeles County for the past five years. She advocates for youth integration, building partnerships and providing mission delivery opportunities for youth and young adults to enhance their leadership and professional skills. She oversees and mentors the youth-led Leadership Development Camp. Each year, she looks forward to spending a week in the mountains with nearly 150 youth, where she can witness her youth leaders empower their peers as they lead sessions and activities. Before working for the Red Cross, Anna served as a Peace Corps member in rural Mongolia as a Youth and Community Developer and as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology, education, and Asian American studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Anna loves to be active, so if she’s not chasing around her nieces and nephews, you’ll find her hiking, or learning something new. Anna is honored to support the National Youth Council and work alongside these compassionate young leaders to encourage youth involvement nationally. Contact Anna at [email protected].


Volunteer Connection

Volunteer Connection