Being a Youth Representative on Central NJ Board of Directors

The Red Cross has so many opportunities for its volunteer whether they are youth or adults. For youth there are regional youth council boards. For adults there are executive board of directors. I got the opportunity to serve on an executive board of directors as the youth representative. I was able to bring the youth perspective on an all adult volunteer board. I specifically was a part of the Central New Jersey Board of Directors. It was an amazing experience for me to be able to grow and network with adult volunteers.

My job was to give updates on surrounding youth clubs activities. I was to engage the board and keep them up to date on all things youth. Though I only gave the youth update on what clubs were doing in the area, I got to stay and listen to the rest of the board meeting which I found very interesting. The board focused on keeping  the red cross budget and hosting philanthropic events to raise money. It was interesting to see another side of the red cross I am not always exposed to as a volunteer in blood, disaster and youth roles. During the discussions not relating to youth,I got to contribute on ideas. The board was very receptive and loved incorporating me into the conversations and made me feel included and welcomed. I served on the board for a year and was able to mentor the incoming youth representative who after being on the board for three months stated, “ From my experiences as a youth rep, the role is a great way to get more involved and better be able to use my skills to help accomplish the ARC mission statement in helping better the lives of my community and humans worldwide.”

I have had a great time volunteering as a youth representative for the Central New Jersey Board of Directors, and I find it to be a wonderful and valuable experience in my life and I would recommend this role to everyone. If that not enough some meetings there is free food.

Michelle Glauberzon, National Youth Council member, NYIM Liaison

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Social Engagement: Supporting the Red Cross Online and Offline

If your morning routine is anything like mine, one of the first things you do upon waking up is to check your phone for new notifications. In fact, although you might not realize how much time you spend on social media websites throughout the day, statistics show that the average user spends 50 minutes each day on Facebook alone. These numbers are even higher for young people.

However, time alone does not present a complete picture of the influence that social engagement can have on an individual. The content that you consume and curate for yourself is an important factor in whether you consider your time to be well spent (and for the amount of time that we invest in this content, we should certainly hope that our time is well spent). For example, if you are a cooking aficionado or a devotee to dogs, it is reasonable that you might want to receive updates from the popular Facebook pages Buzzfeed Tasty or Dogspotting, respectively. I, for one, follow both of these pages.

But your newsfeed can – and should – be something that reflects your values as well as your interests. Being conscious of the content in your social media newsfeed can help to remind you of the things that drive and move you (even as you are reading Tweets and liking Instagram photos when you should be studying for an exam). As students, we may not always able to get out of the door and help those in our communities as often as we would like to. Social engagement is an easy and effective alternative for us to carry out and live by the Red Cross mission every day. Online, our impact can range from supporting and encouraging exemplary volunteers, spreading awareness of the services that the Red Cross provides, learning and educating others about the events around us, fundraising in times of disaster, and more.

To start shaping your newsfeed with more content that matters to you, connect with the Red Cross on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. By doing so, you can make sure that regardless of what you are currently working on, the Red Cross and the people it serves will always be there with you.

To learn more about how you can celebrate National Youth Involvement Month online
and offline with thousands of other youth volunteers, please visit this page on redcrossyouth.org.

Waverley He, National Youth Council, Chair

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Youth in Colorado Raise Over $1000 for Hurricane Harvey Relief

For Valerie Warkins, Millie Zhang, Yulim Kim, and Amy Gola, they strived for more to help those who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. As the officer team for their local Red Cross youth high school club, they pushed for the above and beyond, making it their club’s mission to fundraise to help with recovery from the devastating winds and floods in Texas.

“It’s such a well known organization that when people see you’re a part of the Red Cross and trying to help, they’re more willing to help you out,” Warkins writes. “We were pleasantly surprised by the success and willingness of Monarch’s student body to help with hurricane relief.”

Housed in Louisville, Colorado, the Monarch High School Red Cross Club and it’s 30 members facilitated three major fundraising efforts:

1. Football Game Fundraisers: club members wearing Red Cross gear asked the crowd for donations

“The most successful event by far were the football games. I think, because a lot of parents were there. We got to talk to each individual that donated to let them know exactly where their money was going. We attended just three games and raised over $500.”

2. Pep Rally Million Dollar Minute: partnering with their Student Council, during their Homecoming assembly, club officers facilitated a game where a bucket is passed around the bleachers for one minute.

“It’s really fun, high energy competition to see how much money we raise in just one minute.”

3. Battle of the Grades: which grade could raise the most money. One week was set and they were off. Two buckets, one representing freshmen and sophomores, another for juniors and seniors. Announcements were given every morning for a status update as to which grades were winning. At the end, the winning grades were announced.

“They’ve made our chapter and region proud.” writes Inaliel Hernandez, President of the American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming Youth Advisory Board which oversees, advocates for, and supports youth volunteers across Colorado and Wyoming.

“They’re prime examples of how youth can make a true impact in their community.”

These events weren’t pulled off without strong communication and engagement from their club members.

“We often look to club members for ideas during our weekly meetings,” Warkins writes. “That’s where they brainstorm and staff their events. Members can be out in the field, raising funds for a noble cause.”

Daily school announcements reached all students and staff, promoting the cause and the Red Cross name across the building.

And so, in the end? Over $1,000 was sent to the hurricane relief from the club. It prompts one to ask what are the two lessons they’ve learned while fundraising?

1. Be direct when fundraising. Tell the donor who you’re fundraising for and why it’s important. Be thankful for any donation, no matter how small.

2. Use the Red Cross name. The American Red Cross name has a rich history of giving. Use that to your advantage. People are more willing to help when they see the name attached.

The club is already beginning to brainstorm new ideas for their spring semester to help even more of those affected by other hurricanes such as Maria and Irma. After this experience, the club earned an appreciation for the joy of volunteering with the American Red Cross.

“It was truly inspiring to see our whole school come together for this cause,” Warkins writes. “With every person contributing however they could, we hope we were able to make a positive effort with the American Red Cross to those affected by the hurricanes.”

–  Ian Lee, National Youth Council member, Youth Consortium Liaison

More than 160 local Colorado & Wyoming Red Cross volunteers had deployed out to Texas near the end of September. You can help regardless of your region. Get involved today by registering as a volunteer here.

Author’s Note: I am immensely proud of the Monarch’s RCC. I had no worries leaving the presidency to Valerie and the other officers as I went on towards college. This is a prime example of the impact youth volunteers can accomplish during their time in high school. Please look at our resources in RCYO and utilize the National Youth Council’s Office Hours program if you’re interested in founding your own Red Cross Youth Club.

Category: Blog, Disaster, Fundraiser, High School, News · Tags:

Meet your 2017-2018 National Youth Council Members!

National Youth Council (NYC) members are appointed 2-year terms every July. In July, we
welcomed new members Angela Liu, Evan Batov, Hoyt Gong, Ian Lee,  and Michelle Glauberzon. 

Learn more about our members’ below:

Within the National Youth Council, all members work collaboratively together to serve the
Red Cross mission and 5 lines of service. In addition, each member has their own specialized
position. These roles range from National Youth Involvement Month to Navin Narayan scholarship liaison to field relations specialists.

National Youth Council members’ detailed biographies can be found here. All NYC members are also available for office hours appointments to talk about any and everything Red Cross related.

 

Leadership Opportunities within the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is an organization that offers wonderful opportunities for all
volunteers to get involved in serving the 5 lines of service, including:

1. Service to the Armed Forces
2. Health and Safety
3. Disaster
4. Biomedical
5. International

_________________

The American Red Cross also offers an abundance of opportunities for youth to grow and
develop as leaders during their volunteer journey. Leadership positions are available at the
school, chapter and national level:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. School Leadership

If you are part of a Red Cross Club at school, apply to become part of your school leadership!
Opportunities include positions from President, Vice-President, all the way to Marketing
Liaison, Secretary, and more.

2. Chapter Leadership

Many chapters offer a Youth Executive Board or “E-board”, where a team of youth in the
Chapter help to create and implement youth events and fundraisers across the chapter.

3. National Leadership
If you are looking to go above and beyond, and help to lead American Red Cross youth on a
national scale, look into applying to the National Youth Council. The application cycle is open every spring, and a term is a two year time commitment. The NYC also have a new Field Ambassador program, which you can learn more about here!

– Miki Rai, National Youth Council member, Communications Working Group Lead

Category: College, High School, Leadership, News · Tags:

3 Great Ways to Get Involved with the Red Cross

As another new school year begins, we’d like to share with you 3 great ways to get involved with the Red Cross! Whether you are in high school or college, there are opportunities are youth of all ages to get involved.

  1. JOIN A RED CROSS CLUB

If your school already has a Red Cross club, definitely go on over and check it out! If it doesn’t, you also have the opportunity to start a Red Cross Club. Don’t know how to start a Red Cross Club? We have you covered! Check out “Club in a Box” on our website, which gives you step by step instructions.

      2. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL RED CROSS CHAPTER

The American Red Cross offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including disaster response, health and safety fairs, installing smoke alarms as part of the Home Fire Campaign, you name it! The easiest way to do this is through a google search to determine your closest Red Cross Chapter

      3. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER

The American Red Cross is a non-profit, which means that it relies on people like me and you, and other generous donors to help fund its operations and initiatives. For an activity guide on how to start your own fundraiser, click here.

– Miki Rai, National Youth Council member, Communications Working Group Lead

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Apply to be a Field Ambassador!

Youth Engagement. Individualized Support. National Outreach. 

The National Youth Council is officially accepting applications for 2017-2018 Field Ambassadors! This is a really awesome opportunity for youth volunteer leaders (ex. Youth Executive/Advisory Board member/Red Cross Community leaders/etc).

If selected, you will have the opportunity to become an American Red Cross 2017-2018 Field Ambassador! See below for more details:

_________
Benefits of being a Field Ambassador:
  • Individualized support based on your youth board/ chapter youth program structure
  • National recognition for the most communicative ambassador
  • Recognition certificate for outstanding work
  • Official position title and description for resume building
  • Closed Facebook group to create a community
Responsibilities of a Field Ambassador:
  • Report information to the National Youth Council about local clubs
  • Encourage youth to participate in national initiatives
  • Attend 1 conference call a month with a National Youth Council member
  • Promote Volunteer Connection

The application for 2017-2018 Field Ambassadors is now open until November 3rd, 2017 11:59pm EST. For more information on the qualifications, responsibilities, and time commitment, refer to the Field Ambassador position description.

How Youth Can Help in Disasters

As a Houstonian, watching my city go underwater during Hurricane Harvey has been terrifying.
However, I am so so proud of all the volunteers that have come to help, both from inside and
outside the city. In many places, there were so many volunteers that local organizations had to
turn people away due to overcapacity.

This willingness to help is something I’ve always known
defined Houston, and it was amazing to see it in action.

As a youth volunteer there’s a couple ways you can get involved. Whether a disaster is happening
across the country or in your background, you can make a difference. Here’s just a couple of
examples of what you can do:

1) FUNDRAISE
With every natural disaster, the Red Cross hosts a fundraising page that allows you to donate
directly to the people affected by the disaster. You and your Red Cross club can organize
fundraisers with this specific goal in mind. A couple of fundraising ideas include thons, field
days, garage sales, and more. Here’s an activity guide with some fleshed out examples.
2) JOIN THE RELIEF OPERATION
Contact your local volunteer manager to help. Even if you’re from elsewhere in the country, you
can still help remotely such as on the call desk. If you’re from the local area, you could be
staffed directly in shelters. Your volunteer manager will be able to point you to which
opportunities are available given the disaster needs and your availability.
3) LEAD DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Educate your club with preparedness presentations and share them with your community, so that
next time a disaster hits, people will know how to be safe. Natural disasters are usually not
preventable, and sometimes they appear out of nowhere in the span of days, like Hurricane
Harvey. However, pre-emptive measures like drills and having an escape plan is something that
can only make your community stronger.
Check out some guides on disaster preparedness here.

– Amy Ma, National Youth Council member from Houston, Navin Narayan College Scholarship Liaison

Category: Disaster, News · Tags:

Youth Spotlight: Paolo Martinez

Youth Spotlight: Paolo Martinez, Braving the Floods

5AM mornings. 20 hour work days. Saving a man’s life. It’s all tough work – work that some may never even experience in their lifetime, but for Paolo Martinez, helping others through his work has always been such a fulfilling feeling.

Paolo joined the Red Cross as an Event Based Volunteer (EBV) during the Tax Day Floods, when schools were closed. He came in to help with staff services, aiding with call downs for shelters and Spanish translation. From that summer on, his work with the Red Cross took off. Last school year, he founded the Red Cross Club at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts, where he engages other youth and urges them to respond to disasters as well. In the fall of 2016, he became a screener, working in the Greater Houston Area’s Office of Volunteer Services. He was also selected to be the Communications Chair for the Texas Gulf Coast Region’s Youth Service Council (YSC) – a board of youth that oversees and advocates for the Texas Gulf Coast’s youth volunteers. Late this summer, he put all three of his volunteer roles to good use in the face of the Hurricane Harvey relief effort.

“When the Red Cross’ main efforts were to coordinate for youth to come in, I was sending out emails promoting youth volunteering as the YSC’s Communications Chair. ” Martinez said. “As president, I was getting my club to come in too, because the main goal for my club is for it to be a disaster relief service club and to respond in times like this. As a screener, I have administrative access, so I was able to quickly input volunteers [in our system], get them screened, and turn EBVs into general volunteers after they get the training they need.”

Hurricane Harvey hit South Texas hard, but through all the struggle, there is still hope in the strength of community. “Working in a shelter has opened my eyes to all walks of life. It’s been great,” Martinez said. “In fact, I got to know a few people from the Red Cross in Hawaii. Yesterday, as I was leaving George R. Brown Convention Center and right before I was going to say goodbye to them, the National Guard alerted us that there was a man down. One of the Red Cross volunteers was a paramedic, so we took care of the man and kept him stable for 40 minutes until the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) could show up.”

“I want to join the fire department in the future, so I [had] taken an Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] Basics of Emergency Medicine Training. I never thought that I would ever be able to use it, but yesterday I actually knew how to stabilize the man’s head until EMS arrived.”

“A big thing is to be there during blue skies, to be there even when we’re not in disaster.”

As a relatively-new Red Cross volunteer, only having joined in 2015, Paolo has already accomplished so much and made such a huge impact in our community. When asked for a tip that he has for other volunteers interested in disaster services, he suggested, “to be there during blue skies, to be there even when we’re not in disaster. Just come in and help out as much as you can. Get involved in your community. Meet as many people as you can.” He also strongly recommended to “take classes on EDGE. Take as many courses as you can and absorb as much information as you can because that makes you more presentable and reliable during disasters.” EDGE is the American Red Cross Learning Management System. Contact your local Red Cross chapter for information about accessing your account and taking courses.

Thank you so much for your service Paolo, and we wish you the best of luck in your Red Cross journey.

– Angela Liu, National Youth Council member, RCYO and YouthWire Editor

 

Category: High School, News · Tags:

Hurricane Harvey: A First-Hand Account

A First-Hand Account from Someone who Endured the Floodwaters

It was a normal Texas summer day like any other: the oddly-shaped glass buildings of Houston’s Montrose district twinkled distinctly before me, drawing me in with their wacky pastel colors. I was spending the afternoon waltzing to and from different boutiques, fully enveloped in the rich smell of our city’s diverse cuisines. With the sweltering Houston heat bearing down on my head and the thick humid air heavy against my skin, it certainly wasn’t ideal, but, nevertheless, it was home. My home. Houston. What happened next is something that I never could have ever imagined. These colorful glass buildings and the warm fragrance of Tex-Mex – all the things that I took for granted while living here – would soon be completely swept away in just a matter of hours.

In the early morning of August 25th, 2017, the National Weather Service issued an emergency weather alert for a flash flood. That flash flood quickly transformed into a tornado. Shortly after, Hurricane Harvey hit my city at full force.

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“Hurricane Harvey is the first major hurricane to strike South Texas since Celia in 1970,” the report read. “This is a life-threatening situation…Take shelter now.”

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According to CNN News, Hurricane Harvey is the first huge hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Charley in 2004. This Category 4 hurricane not only caused catastrophic flooding and tornadoes but also resulted in the displacement of more than 30,000 people, the inundation of hundreds of thousands of homes, and the loss of at least 50 confirmed lives (as of 9/3/2017). Over this nine day period, rainfall accumulation in South Texas cities peaked at nearly 52 inches. The nine trillion gallons of rain dispensed are enough to fill the Great Salt Lake of Utah twice, occupy nearly 34,000 Empire State Buildings, and be spread equally over each square inch of the contiguous United States with a height of 3 pennies stacked on top of each other. Hurricane Harvey was enormous both in size and in consequence.

I’ve lived in Houston for all my life, but, since I’ll be moving out of state for college soon, I only recently realized how blessed I was to grow up in such a diverse place. As the third most diverse city in the United States, our city is the epitome of the “melting pot” image that America so heavily prides itself on. Our mix of different cultures, ideologies, ethnicities, religions, and perspectives is what makes Houston so distinctly Houston. Despite the bipolar weather and, at times, almost unbearable heat, I’ve grown to love my city and am so proud to call myself a Houstonian. That’s exactly why watching my community of 18 years get torn apart in Hurricane Harvey has been utterly heartbreaking. Witnessing more and more of my community lose their loved ones and belongings slowly broke down my will- to the point where I almost lost it completely. But there’s always a light, even in times great darkness. As I curled up in the corner of my damp, pitch-black room, I was immensely encouraged by the kind words that a few of my fellow Red Cross family members had sent my way.

Photo by: Daniel Cima / American Red Cross

As a result of the selfless words and actions of Red Cross volunteers like those who had reached out to me, my community has stayed strong. In fact, after the flooding in my neighborhood had mostly subsided, I personally visited our local Greater Houston Area Red Cross Chapter headquarters to help out, and I can firsthand attest to the sheer amount of blood and sweat that was poured into aiding those hurt by Hurricane Harvey. I’ve never seen a group of volunteers and staff so intensely passionate and earnest about their work. In the past few days, I’ve met Red Crossers in Houston from all over the nation- from Wyoming to Illinois to Hawaii to Oklahoma to Washington D.C. to California and more- all who came to help out with the disaster relief service. There were even volunteers who weren’t present physically but were aiding us remotely from other states, whether it be through administrative work, data entry, communications, or more. I urge you to get involved in the Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey relief effort today. No matter where you are or who you are, you can make an impact.

Our hearts reach out to the many hundreds of thousands of people who have lost everything. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of our supporters, the Red Cross has been ever-present in communities across the Texas Gulf Coast Region, responding where and when people most need help. Together we have:

  • Provided safe refuge for 32,000 people in more than 230 Red Cross and partner shelters in Texas, including people affected in Louisiana
  • Served more than 180,000 meals and snacks
  • Activated 200 emergency response vehicles to bring meals, water, support, and damage assessment
  • Positioned six kitchens capable of producing 10,000 meals a day, with six more trailers on the way

Together we are making the difference between having nowhere to go and finding a safe, dry place to stay. For those who were without critical items, like eyeglasses, medications, and water, together we’ve provided a lifeline in their darkest hour. Learn more about our response here.

50 lives have been lost as of September 3rd. There are still many injured and hurt, both physically and mentally. With a number of people missing, we don’t know how many more there are out there, but we do know that we can prevent the number of lives lost from rising by offering as much assistance as possible.

Photo by: LM Otero / AP

You can make an impact. You can make a change. You can save lives. Help restore Houston and South Texas to the bright, sunny home it was before. Get involved today by registering as a volunteer here.

If you know anyone who may need help, they can visit www.redcross.org, download the free Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). With your ongoing help, we will continue to provide support for those who will be affected in the days and weeks to come.

 

Angela Liu, National Youth Council member from Houston, RCYO and YouthWire Editor

Category: Disaster, News · Tags:

Volunteer Connection

Volunteer Connection