Catch Up With the National Youth Council

On July 24th, the members of the American Red Cross National Youth Council (NYC) headed to Washington, D.C. to have their annual summer meeting. Four new members and one new advisor joined the team, making it a very productive meeting.

On Friday, the National Youth Council heard from several different departments at National Headquarters. Maria D’Ambrosio from the Corporate Office on Diversity spoke to the Council about the different initiatives that the American Red Cross has to empower both volunteers and employees to be better advocates for the organization through education around diversity related issues. The Council also heard from the team at International Humanitarian Law (IHL) about the recent IHL summit and the fruitful ideas and exchanges that came from it. The Youth and Young Adults team from Volunteer Management updated the NYC on  continued initiatives to engage with youth around the country.
Saturday was a day full of goal setting and project planning for the NYC. The Council voted to elect a new Vice Chair, Doire Perot.. In addition, there will be two new working group leads, Aparna Ghosh and Dana Frayne. Check out their bios here. The Council worked to film a video surrounding diversity to be released in October.  New members also learned how to facilitate Connect Tour workshops, and the Council set new goals for achieving more workshops in different areas of the country.
On Sunday, the Council had joint meetings with the National Young Professionals Council (NYPC) to discuss the progress of hour two groups and how they can work together to be better advocates for young people in the organization.

Category: Blog · Tags:

Do You Wanna Build a Club?

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 10.10.51 PM

Check out a video from two of the National Youth Council members, Taylor Waters and Jacqueline Young.

Take their advice and build a club using our Activity Guides!



“Do you wanna build a club?

High school, college, or yo pro?

It doesn’t matter what you choose.

It will be good for you and all the youth.

You’re going to be best buddies and change the world.

Just use an activity guide.

Do you wanna build a club?

It’s going to be the best club.

I’m so excited!

Love you, Gail.”


Category: Blog · Tags:

Retired Army Colonel Reports to Red Cross for Duty

In October of 2010, Retired Colonel Benjamin F. Robinson retired from a second career in civil service. The following week, Robinson walked through the front doors of the American Red Cross and said he was ready to volunteer. No time for relaxing – he had work to do.

“There was no way I could sit at home and watch As the World Turns. I always said if I had the opportunity to pay back the Red Cross, I would,” Robinson said.

It all started in the early sixties when he was stationed in Germany. His mother, back home in Georgia, fell ill. The doctors had not given her much time to live, so the Red Cross was contacted to help relay the emergency message to him. After receiving word of his mother’s condition, Robinson was granted leave. Within 72 hours, he walked into the hospital and stood at his mother’s bedside.

“My mother hadn’t spoken in two weeks. When I walked in the door she said, ‘There’s my baby’… I didn’t know how the Red Cross did it, but they got me there,” he recalled.

It was his presence, he believes, that aided in his mother’s recovery. “My mother lived 30 years longer than the day the doctors said she was on her death bed. She was afraid I would do something wrong so she had to stick around and watch out for me.”

Sure enough, someone must have been watching over Col. Robinson. While fighting in the Vietnam War, he found himself in the midst of a sticky situation and a rations drop of Red Cross supplies somehow got him back out.

During his military career, not only did he have personal experience with the Red Cross through his mother’s illness, but he was often the colonel who received Red Cross messages for others and authorized the leave for other soldiers.

“My job, when I got the call, was to make sure the soldier was packed up, make sure they had what they needed and get them home,” Robinson said. “If the Red Cross called, I didn’t think twice. I just sent them.” He was always connected to the Red Cross, but not with the knowledge of how they were doing it. He now understands what it takes to get that soldier home—from the first phone call, to the colonel receiving that piece of paper.

For four years now, Robinson has been volunteering three days a week with the Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, answering those very calls. While he describes it as an intense learning program, he is intrigued by the daily efforts of the surrounding staff and volunteers.

“These people—the concentration, dedication, devotion and patience—they don’t know I’m watching, but I am. I look every day at their professionalism, what it takes to deliver that message, and it’s sincere. If it wasn’t for this service and dedication, some of these soldiers wouldn’t get home.”

It only takes one meeting with Ben Robinson to know why the Red Cross works to bring soldiers like him home.

“I’m pleased to be here. There is no hesitation for me to come here every day. I retired from the Army as a colonel. I fought in Vietnam. I spent 23 years as active duty military and 32 years of federal service. And I guess I’ll spend my next 30 years with the Red Cross.”



Article from

Category: Blog · Tags:

Red Cross Artifact: Clara Barton’s Bed



Clara Barton’s inspiration for starting the America Red Cross was cultivated while caring for the sick and wounded on Civil War battlefields. As a unique artifact from her time behind the lines goes on display, it’s a great reminder to appreciate stories told through any medium – whether it’s on paper, through a photograph or even a foldaway bed.

WHY THIS BED? Barton was determined to carry out the work she saw as necessary to help get supplies and medical care to the Civil War battlefields – so determined that she convinced the government and the Army to give her passes to go behind military lines.

According to Red Cross records, Barton’s situation led to an order to a firm in Philadelphia for a trunk bed, to be acquired by Barton for her use in battlefield relief.

Barton’s fortitude and frugality were a thread through everything she did during the war. Although she had the bed, Barton and her team made a point to serve soldiers by taking similar primitive living conditions and sleeping arrangements.

Red Cross archivist Susan Watson summarized Barton’s attitude as, “If they can take it, she can take it.”

Even if Barton and her group of supporters had sought a room to stay the night, any viable space close to battlefields – such as inns or churches – would have most likely been commandeered for makeshift battlefield hospitals.

CONSTRUCTION AND HISTORY Also called a camp bed, the piece is constructed to fold into a traveling trunk, complete with a wooden frame and tooled leather. To use the bed, Barton would have opened up the trunk into three sections – hinged on the short sides of the trunk as it opens – to reveal heavy canvas attached to the frame with nails.

Through conservation work on the bed in 2004, a sealed compartment was accessed to reveal slender poles that attached to the bed, and bright blue mosquito netting used as a canopy for additional protection.

Dr. Julian Hubbell, a long-time devotee of Barton and supporter of the Red Cross mission, helped carry on her story after her death. Ms. Rena Hubbell, niece of Dr. Hubbell, donated the trunk bed to Red Cross in April, 1931.

The bed has been housed in collections storage in a Washington, D.C. Red Cross building. In the past it was displayed in a neighboring Red Cross building, but it hasn’t been opened in years.

THE MOVE While Barton was not a trained nurse, she provided medical care for the wounded during the Civil War. Therefore, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland is a fitting location to display the bed in one of their galleries as part of a loan agreement with the Red Cross. This is the same museum that manages the Office for Missing Soldiers, an effort Barton started and ran out of the third floor of a building in Washington, D.C. after the Civil War ended.

“The museum is thrilled to work with the American Red Cross in bringing the story of Clara Barton to the American public through the use of an amazing artifact of her Civil War experience,” said George Wunderlich, Executive Director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

“Clara Barton is a far more influential figure in world history than most people are aware. Through the use of artifacts used by her, we can help tell her incredible story in a very personal and compelling way. The new partnership between our museum and the American Red Cross is doing more than bringing this outstanding artifact into the public eye; it is going to help people better understand Clara’s world and how she still influences our world in the 21st century.”

Watch the move from the Red Cross to the museum on the Red Cross YouTube channel, and stay tuned to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine to find out when the bed goes on display.

Article courtesy-

Category: Blog · Tags:

New NYC Members Announced

The National Youth Council is pleased to announce one new advisor and four new members. Join us in welcoming Krista Goldsmith, Dana Frayne, Catherine Reilly, Joshua Lovett, and Navjot Hansra.
Krista Goldsmith– Senior Account Manager with Blood Services in the Greater Buffalo Region (Buffalo, NY)
Krista has been involved in this capacity for over 12 years now. She has helped student leaders achieve their Red Cross dreams by going above and beyond the duties of her job. She has an internship program with college and high school students working in blood and she really enjoys working with youth. With her background in Blood Services, we feel that she would be a great counterpart to Logan and would be a tremendous asset to us on the Council to help us reach our goals of expanding “up and out” into the field.
Dana Frayne– recent graduate of Land O’ Lakes High School in Trinity, FL and incoming freshman at Barnard College of Columbia this Fall. She works with the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Red Cross.
Dana has been highly involved with her local Red Cross Chapter for the past three years. She began volunteering after a hurricane ripped through her town, and since then she has worked mainly in disaster as well as SAF. She also started a Red Cross Club at her school and is genuinely passionate about the Red Cross mission. Additionally, Dana has participated (both individually and through her club) in National Youth Council initiatives. Given her impressive track record, we think that she would make a wonderful addition to the Council.
Catherine Reilly– incoming junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI (originally from Manville, NJ). Currently working with the Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter of the Red Cross, original affiliation with the Greater Somerset County Chapter in NJ.
Cat is an extremely organized and motivated student who has been heavily involved with the Red Cross since high school. She worked with other youth in her Chapter, serving various leadership roles. When she came to college, she became the National Collegiate Officer for the Crossroads Division and has one of the most successful Connect Calls in the country. Cat’s passion for the Red Cross and her national experience will be a great asset to the Council as we work to expand our reach.
Joshua Lovett– recent graduate of Tanner High School in ,AL and incoming freshman at Duke University this Fall. Original Chapter: North Alabama Territory in Huntsville, AL.
Josh has been heavily involved with his local Red Cross since a series of tornadoes ravaged his hometown. Coming from a rural area, he has gone above and beyond what is offered to him in the way of Red Cross involvement, starting a Red Cross Club at his school, and becoming a fully trained disaster volunteer. We are excited to bring Josh aboard as we feel that his rural perspectives can help us grow youth programming in that regard.
Navjot Hansra– finished her junior year and will be starting her senior year at American Canyon High School in American Canyon, CA.
Navi is a very dedicated Red Crosser. While still in high school, she has done a lot of great work in starting her own Club, and really pushing for the students in her Club to be heavily involved in her community. Navi is extremely motivated and has a genuine desire to help the Council reach its goals. As an extremely mature and articulate high school student, Navi will be able to provide that high school perspective that we always want at the table.

Category: Blog · Tags: