Three years is a really long time….or so I thought. June 2012 was one of the most exciting months of my life for a whole variety of reasons, one of which is the National Youth Council. I still remember where I was (my room), and what I was doing (watching Netflix) when I got the call of my acceptance.
It has been a whirlwind of activity since then and I am so lucky to have been a part of this amazing group of dedicated Red Crossers. As my term comes to an end in the next month, I wanted to reflect on everything the Council has taught me, and encourage all of you to dive deep into all that you are passionate about – the rewards are beyond quantifiable!
Over the last three years, my Red Cross adventure has exponentially grown. What started out as a curious inquiry to the front desk volunteer in the building next to my temple grew into a lifelong love of volunteering and service. The Council specifically has given me a greater appreciation for all that the Red Cross does. It has made me a better leader, a better team member and a better person. That first year on the Council, I learned a lot about programs and initiatives, reasons why youth choose us (we are awesome…), and a behind-the-scenes perspective on some of the lines of service that I had less experience with, such as International Services. In that first year on the Council, I met many amazing employees from National, and among them are those that work in International Services, specifically International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
Learning about IHL and the importance of teaching it to youth reminded me of how global the Red Cross is – the International Movement is one of the best humanitarian services in the world, and it is incredibly amazing and humbling to be reminded every day that I am a part of that.
During my second year on the Council, I took on more leadership within our structure and got a chance to connect with my fellow Council members. From rural pockets to urban stretches, our members come from everywhere and it has been an absolute honor to work with all of them. There is almost no call or email that goes by without us reminding each other of the level of “Red Cross crazy” that we are. Probably the best part of the second year, going into the third year, was the opportunity to attend a Model IFRC General Assembly – for youth, by youth – in Seoul last summer. It was an incredible experience to be among so many committed Red Cross/Red Crescent volunteers who do so much for their own societies, let alone their international level of involvement. There is so much to learn from the other Societies, and so much to give. Without the Council, I would never have had this experience, and it is one that will resonate with me forever.
As this final year with all the projects, agenda, conference calls, emails and tasks comes to an end, it’s bittersweet of course. While I am sad to be leaving, I am excited for other youth volunteers to get a chance to experience what I did. As with any experience, there were trying times, happy times, sad times, crazy times, but the Council was truly an integral piece of my Red Cross experience. It’s already been nine years with the Red Cross, but I look forward to decades more!
There is still time to sign up to be a Red Cross Giving Day Social Ambassador and receive your FREE Red Cross t-shirt! Join the nearly 100 Red Cross youth and young adult volunteers across the country that have already signed up to share why they support the Red Cross on June 2, our first ever Giving Day! Wear your shirt, take a selfie, post to your favorite social media site, and use hashtag #allin1day. It only takes two minutes to make a huge impact. Sign up today! http://www.redcross.org/
Forty-one teams from high schools and colleges across the country participated in this year’s IHL Action Campaign. The IHL Action Campaign is a chance for young people to teach their peers about the importance of international humanitarian law (IHL), which strives to limit the effects of armed conflict and protects civilians and others who are not participating in the fighting. In order to do this, this year IHL Action Campaign teams created interactive projects that connected IHL to the topics of refugees and gender. Their Campaigns ranged from videos and skits to simulations and art displays, reaching nearly 54,000 people in total — 18,000 were reached in-person and an additional 36,000 were directly reached online.
You can read about this year’s teams on the IHL blog: http://humanityinwarblog.com/.
For more information on the IHL Action Campaign in general, including how you can become involved in next year’s campaign, visit: http://www.redcross.org/rulesofwar/international-humanitarian-law-for-young-people or email IHLyouth@redcross.org.
We’d like to invite you to participate in a Twitter Chat next week about youth volunteering. The US Department of Health and Human Services, @PHEgov, will be hosting a Twitter chat on Tuesday, April 21: 1-2pm ET. We’d love for you to participate and share your Red Cross story. To participate, use your personal handle and #NHSSchat in all your tweets. More about the chat info here. Also, if you haven’t already, follow the American Red Cross on Twitter.
During the chat, they will be discussing:
- Why volunteering matters to students and how it helps you and your community
- When is the best time to make the choice to volunteer and how volunteering before a disaster strikes makes your community more healthy when disaster strikes .
- Where young people can learn more about volunteering
- And more!
April 21, 1-2PM ET | Hosted by @PHEgov | Use #NHSSchat in all your tweets
Participating in a twitter chat is a simple way to learn more about a topic and share your ideas. It’s a great way to build your network and credibility online by showing your own expertise and passion around given topic. Twitter chats are simply a public conversation held on Twitter.
During the Student Health Volunteers Chat, we plan to discuss why choosing to become a student health volunteer matters to you and to your community, how you can volunteer, how volunteering can help with your career development, and more.
What is a Twitter Chat?
A Twitter chat is a way to have a conversation via Twitter that are scheduled for a certain date and time and that focus on a specific topic. They typically include a series of questions to help guide the discussion. Participants join the conversation by using tweets and including a predefined “hashtag” in each one. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. Hashtags cannot use spaces.
The Student Health Volunteers chat will use the hashtag #NHSSchat. The Student Health Volunteers Twitter Chat will be the first in a series of chats hosted by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in support of the National Health Security Strategy.
How do I join the conversation?
Once you have signed in to Twitter, search for the hashtag #NHSSchat and select Add Column. All of the tweets that are sent using that hashtag will show up in that column. If you want to tweet, simply select “New Tweet”, type your tweet into the dialogue box, and select Tweet.
You can use Twitter to track the chat as well – just type the search term #NHSSchat into the search box. However, tweets on Twitter may not be ranked in real-time order and this method has a more significant delay.
To join in the conversation, use the hashtag #NHSSchat in all of your tweets. This will allow all tweets in the conversation to be grouped. Leave comments, retweet other tweets, answer questions or even ask your own questions to further the conversation.
Top Ten Reasons to Download the New, Free Red Cross Emergency App
- IT’S FREE. Who wouldn’t want free 24/7 protection with emergency alerts and safety information?
- MONITOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Parents, rejoice. The “Family Safe” feature lets you know if your loved ones are okay, even if they don’t have the app.
- EYE CANDY. Customize your weather alerts in various locations with photos of the loved one, or furry four-legged family member who lives there.
- WORKS ANYWHERE IN THE U.S. You can set 35 different emergency alerts to monitor multiple locations anywhere in the U.S.
- PLAN AND PREPARE. The “Make a Plan” feature helps families plan out what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes.
- HABLAMOS ESPAÑOL. Easily toggle between English and Spanish to use the language you’re most comfortable with in a stressful situation.
- NO CONNECTION, NO PROBLEM. If you can’t connect, you can still access the pre-loaded preparedness and response information from Red Cross experts.
- MAP IT OUT. Love maps? This app lets you overlay people, places, weather alerts, and open Red Cross shelters.
- BE A GOOD SON (OR DAUGHTER). Don’t wait for your mom to get her alert and ask if you’re okay. Ping her directly with the touch of a button using the “I’m Safe” feature.
- TORNADO SIREN. It’s loud. It’s awesome. It could save your life.
The free app can be downloaded by going to the app store for your smartphone or tablet or by going to redcross.org/apps. The “Family Safe” feature is also available on the new Apple Watch. And while apps can help prepared someone for disasters, it’s important to remember that downloading any of the Red Cross apps is not a substitute for training. To learn more about or register for Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses, visit redcross.org/TakeAClass .