Get ready! The American Red Cross is committed to helping youth become better prepared for disasters and emergencies. During Youth Preparedness Week, from Monday, January 16 to Friday, January 20, Red Cross regions throughout the country are partnering with youth-serving organizations to provide preparedness training and distribute youth preparedness materials to children in their communities.
Regions are also integrating youth volunteers in their Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service activities including Home Fire Preparedness Campaign activities, The Pillowcase Project presentations, neighborhood canvassing and distributing youth preparedness materials.
The Red Cross has free resources to help young people and their families prepare their households for several types of situations from power outages to hurricanes:
- The Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies App provides 7-to11-year-olds a fun, gaming environment to learn how to prevent emergencies, like home fires, and what to do if severe weather or natural disasters occur. Using the app is an exciting way for children to learn, practice the lessons and share the information with family and friends.
- The Red Cross worked with Disney to develop the “Mickey and Friends Disaster Preparedness Activity Book.” The book teaches children and families how to prepare for and respond to a wide range of disasters and emergencies through interactive games and activities. The book is available to download in English and in Spanish.
- Other Red Cross emergency preparedness apps contain a ‘Make a Plan’ feature that allows users to create their plan and share it with their loved ones.
- A Family Disaster Plan Template is available to download.
Go to the Preparedness section of our website for additional resources and information. Feel free to share pictures of your activities or events using the hashtag #YPWeek.
National Youth Council members will be sharing their areas of expertise on Facebook this month! This way, if any youth volunteers have questions they know exactly who to ask for help! The NYC members can provide help with activity guides, resources, and general experience so feel free to contact them as they are anxiously awaiting your questions! Members specialize in a variety of areas including member recruitment and engagement, event planning, volunteer connection, and more. For a complete list of members and their areas of expertise, head over to the Facebook page!
Thank you to the 392 people who signed up for NYIM 2016! This is an incredible improvement from the 65 sign-ups last year. NYIM is all about highlighting youth involvement as about 20% of the entire Red Cross volunteer force is youth volunteers. Throughout the month, participants are encouraged to hold events like Kit Drives, Fire Safety Canvassing, a Zombie Apocalypse party, etc. If you haven’t singed up for NYIM already don’t worry because it’s not too late! Show us your #TeamRC moment by signing up for NYIM! Thank you for making this years National Youth Involvement month a success already, be sure to send in your event success so you can be spotlighted for your awesome work! Can’t wait to see what amazing events everyone puts on!
The National Youth Council is incredibly excited to welcome five new youth members and one new advisor to the team! The selection process was highly competitive, and it was truly inspiring to see the dedication of the American Red Cross’ amazing youth volunteers and youth leaders through the applications.
It is an absolute pleasure to introduce the new youth members and advisor of the National Youth Council.
is a freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she is majoring in Journalism and is a Pre-Law scholar. Prior to college, she served as Co-President of the Augusta Red Cross Youth Board and was awarded the Youth Services Volunteer of the Year award for the American Red Cross of Augusta. Furthermore, EmmaKate has helped lead over 24 Leadership Development Conferences for elementary and middle school students, and hosted a “Rock the Runway for the Red Cross” Fashion Show that raised over $1,700 in one night for the Augusta Chapter 2016 Heroes Campaign.
is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania studying nursing and healthcare management. She has served as President of her high school club, as well as International Committee Coordinator, Liaison, and Co-chair of her local chapter’s Youth Executive Board. In 2014, she received the International Services award from her chapter and was named Youth of the Year. Joanna is the 2016 recipient of the Navin Narayan Scholarship.
is a freshman at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois majoring in Economics with a minor in Human Rights. Prior to college, she served as President of the Clements High School Red Cross Club and Executive Chair of the Texas Gulf Coast Region Youth Service Council, in which she created the local Red Cross youth newsletter, organized blood drives, and planned two Leadership Development Conferences. As an intern with the Disaster Service Department of the Greater Houston Area Chapter, Amy has assisted with Community Partnerships in the Texas Floods Disaster Relief Operation and directed the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. Amy was awarded the Red Cross Tom Sellers Exceptional Youth Volunteer Award and recognized as the Greater Houston Service Awards’ Youth-of-the-Year.
is a freshman at UC Berkeley, where she plans to study public health and immunology. She has served as the President of her high school club and as International Services Coordinator, Fundraising Coordinator, and Chair of the East Bay Area Youth Executive Board (YEB). She has been a youth staff member in the Northern California Coastal Region’s Leadership Development Center. Additionally, Anna has worked as a Red Cross certified lifeguard and water safety instructor at her local parks and recreation department.
is a senior at the Bronx High School of Science in New York who has interests ranging from Neuroscience to International Affairs. She has served as the youth representative on the Red Cross Board of Directors for the Greater New York region and helped establish the first regional Chapter Youth Council. As chair of the Chapter Youth Council for the past three years, Georgia has led region-wide events such as Missing Maps, Raid Cross, MLK Day of Service, and Night for Nepal. She has taught disaster preparedness classes and advocated for the acceptance of youth volunteers onto Home Fire Preparedness Campaign teams. Recently, she was able to volunteer with a Red Cross center in Patra, Greece that provides free first aid treatment and delivers care packages.
became a high school volunteer with her local chapter in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. From there, she founded two Red Cross Clubs in high school and college and served terms on both the National Youth Council and National Young Professionals Council. Anna is currently the Regional Youth Volunteer Specialist with the Western PA Region of the American Red Cross and advocates for youth and young adult involvement through all lines of service. In her role, she works with youth-focused community partners, volunteers, Red Cross Clubs, interns and young professionals.
Thank you to the Red Cross communities of these individuals for supporting them along their Red Cross journeys, and for helping them grow and thrive as American Red Cross volunteers.
We would also like to recognize the members who have rotated off the National Youth Council:
Former Positions: Chair, Creator of the Youth Diversity Pledge Facilitation Guide
Former Positions: Vice Chair, Chapter Services Support Working Group Lead, National Youth Involvement Month Liaison, Creator of the “Working with Youth” Tip Sheet
Former Positions: Youth Outreach Working Group Lead, YouthWire Editor
Former Positions: National Youth Involvement Month Liaison, Connect Tour Liaison
Former Positions: Navin Award Committee Liaison
Former Positions: RedCrossYouth.Org Liaison, Facebook Liaison
Former Positions: Beloved Advisor for three years
Thank you all for your efforts and accomplishments for the National Youth Council and for the American Red Cross. You will definitely be missed, and we know that you will all continue to do amazing things as volunteers and as individuals!
Last November, the Bolles Red Cross Club in Jacksonville, Florida sent over 65 cards to US Service Members. Holiday Mail for Heroes was a perfect way for the club to get involved for the holidays. Over 50 people were involved and over half the club set up the tables, paper, markers, and made the amazing music playlist.
Before the successful event, the Club coordinated with the local Red Cross chapter, The Northeast Florida Red Cross Chapter, annually sends cards to veterans in the area or overseas. They agreed on a deadline to send the cards.
Maria Muzaurieta, President of the Red Cross club, explained that it was “amazing to be part of this event and see the difference the club was making as people made cards.” She explained how this event also served as a great way to recruit new volunteers to the Red Cross.
Maria suggests reaching out early to the Chapter to coordinate a shipping time for the cards. Holiday Mail for Heroes was a great way to get members and nonmembers involved in the Bolles Red Cross Club.
On April 6th, the University of Michigan (UM) Red Cross hosted their fourth annual 5K fundraiser, Run for the Red.
Run for the Red has been successful in past years, and this year’s event was no exception. After a year of planning by Hani Ephor, a member, and coordinating with the Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter, the UM Red Cross Club was able to gather support and resources from local businesses and community volunteers.
“It has been amazing to see the growth of the 5K over the past three years, thanks to hard work from the planning committee, volunteers and the runners,” says Sally Yin, a member of both the UM Red Cross Club and the National Youth Council.
“Run for the Red is a platform that showcases the diverse talent, passion and humor of UM students. It is the event that I look forward to most every year.”
During the 2015 holiday season, the Silicon Valley Red Cross Spirit Committee hosted an event called Holiday Mail for Heroes at the Silicon Valley Chapter located in California. This event was inspired by the annual national campaign and corresponding activity guide. Through this event, the spirit committee aimed to support veterans and military families by providing comforting and compassionate messages.
In order to execute a successful Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign, spirit committee officers were responsible for hosting card-making events for youth volunteers, sorting and packaging these cards, and delivering these cards to veterans and military families in VA hospitals and military installments. The spirit committee ultimately recruited 25 youth volunteers, who in turn wrote and created over 100 thoughtful cards.
In addition to the Holiday Mail from Heroes Campaign, the spirit committee also served the armed forces by walking in the San Jose Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2015. Youth volunteers wore Red Cross gear and pins and chanted together loudly to show the Red Cross’s support for militant families.
Red Cross club member Tanvee Sinha said, “Solely writing these cards and walking in the parade with my fellow Red Cross members was an incredible experience for me, since I really felt like I was contributing to something bigger.”
In the future, Silicon Valley Red Cross Youth hope to continue supporting militant families by expanding project reach and by increasing engagement with existing events.
“We’ve been doing Holiday Mail for Heroes for a long time. It’s a great way to give back during the holiday season…and our club members understood that we were writing to people who have sacrificed a lot for our country,” says Mi Le, President of the Land O’Lakes High School Red Cross Club.
Last December, 26 Red Cross youth volunteers partnered with the National Honor Society to craft 97 cards for an annual American Red Cross campaign thanking military members, veterans, and their families. The success of this event inspired a Valentine’s Day card-making event, which generated another 26 cards.
“We wanted to make individual, unique cards, instead of generic ones. We gathered anything we could find, brought materials to the club meeting, and brainstormed to craft some meaningful messages.” The Land O’Lakes club of Florida sought to show their gratitude and appreciation to heroes and make an impact on their community. Their handmade cards reflect their creativity, love, and thankful thoughts.
In addition to donating the cards to the Red Cross chapter in their area, club members also sent cards to Central Florida members of the U.S. Central Command Coalition at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida.
“I loved having the opportunity to help people out and bring a smile to the faces of our servicemen and women, as well as children in my community,” says club officer Saloni Mehra. Their devotion to community service is inspiring.
For more information on volunteering with the American Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer#step1.
For more information on the Holiday Mail for Heroes project, visit http://redcrossyouth.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HolidayMailForHeroesActivityGuide.pdf.
Congratulations to our 2016 Navin Narayan Scholarship Winner – Joanna Hu!
Joanna recently graduated from Evergreen Valley High School (EVHS) in San Jose, CA, and will attend the University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) in Philadelphia, PA this fall. She is currently involved with the Silicon Valley Red Cross Chapter and EVHS Red Cross Club, and plans to join the Philadelphia Red Cross Chapter and U Penn’s Red Cross Club after beginning college. Learn more about Joanna’s story here.
This $1000 scholarship will help her continue her Red Cross involvement, as well as provide outreach to future Navin Narayan scholarship winners. Joanna is still writing her Red Cross story, but we thank her for the impact that she has already made in her community. Learn more about the Navin Narayan scholarship here.
Losing Your Most Prized Possessions – the newest Red Cross IHL youth activity guide – puts you in the shoes of a refugee or internally displaced person (IDP). By participating in this simulation, you can experience some of the struggles facing refugees and IDPs and learn about the protections offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) and refugee law.
In this simulation, you are asked to name your four most prized possessions and then make your way through a route filled with obstacles. See if you can hold on to all of your prized possessions during your escape to a safer haven. The activity guide provides you with discussion questions for after the simulation is finished. Reflect on how the group experienced the vulnerability that refugees and IDPs encounter daily – and how upholding the protections of IHL and refugee law can help ensure their safety.
Losing Your Most Prized Possessions provides a way to change your peers’ perspectives on the challenges facing people fleeing persecution, armed conflict, or other disaster. Recruit your friends and classmates to join you on the journey of a refugee or IDP.
Email IHLYouth@redcross.org for a copy of the complete activity guide!