You Hold the Power to Save Lives

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The American Red Cross is happy to introduce a first-of-its kind Blood Donor App that puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand. Through the app, users can schedule appointments, track total donations, earn rewards and invite others to join them on a lifesaving team. The Blood Donor App is a great new way to help meet the constant need for blood.

The app has many exciting features including:

·         Find local blood drives and donation centers quickly and easily;

·         Convenient, easy appointment scheduling and rescheduling;

·         Receive appointment reminders;

·         Keep track of total blood donations;

·         Receive special blood shortage alert messages;

·         Claim rewards from participating retailers for donating blood or platelets;

·         Join or create a lifesaving team, recruit other blood donors and view rankings on the Blood Donor Teams Leaderboard;

·         Rate the blood donation experience;

·         Follow the user’s blood donation journey from donation through delivery, when available.

This new and exciting app is free and available for download on iPhone® and Android™ devices.

Download the Blood Donor App Today!

Text BLOODAPP to 90999*, search Red Cross Blood in the App Store or Google Play™ or click here to download now.

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Celebrating the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary

For the past 20 years, a special group of individuals has been embedded in American Red Cross operations across the country, helping respond to disasters, teach CPR courses, present on preparedness and everything in between. As September 12, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, the Red Cross recognizes and celebrates this group of AmeriCorps members who pledge to “get things done for America” and help advance the Red Cross mission.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN The Red Cross first began working with AmeriCorps in 1994. Following the Northridge Earthquake, the Los Angeles Red Cross chapter coordinated a program that involved 40 national service members to assist in earthquake recovery efforts.

The Los Angeles chapter then piloted a nationwide Red Cross AmeriCorps program. This program helped provide vital emergency assistance to communities affected by disaster and increase preparedness in the areas of greatest need before disasters strike by recruiting, training and supporting young adults in Red Cross direct service activities.

In 1997, the Los Angeles chapter partnered with Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., to launch the first nationwide program. This nationwide program continues to grow and currently deploys more than 100 members in service at 22 sites across the country. Additionally, members support and amplify the Red Cross mission through a variety of other AmeriCorps programs related to disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

DISASTERS, PREPAREDNESS AND TRAINING Preparedness education is a primary role for many AmeriCorps members, reaching thousands of individuals of all ages.

AmeriCorps members with the Red Cross Central Valley chapter in California support a robust preparedness campaign. This year, six new members will assist with the Prepare Central Valley Campaign, a four-year initiative to empower 250,000 local residents to be prepared for any disaster. Members support the community by providing disaster preparedness presentations and engaging residents at community outreach events.

Sometimes members help respond directly to disasters. In the Red Cross Greater St. Louis Region, AmeriCorps members sometimes ride along with disaster workers to help individuals and families affected by home fires. After a tornado destroyed parts of the small town of Brookport, Illinois, in 2013, just weeks before Thanksgiving, members helped with damage assessment, set up a shelter in an old gym and helped with casework.

AmeriCorps members may also help with Red Cross training and certification as CPR and first aid instructors.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AmeriCorps members find many great opportunities to gain and sharpen new skills with the Red Cross, making their service a valuable experience in their career path. In fact, one individual started out as a Red Cross volunteer, served in AmeriCorps and then was hired on as a Red Cross employee.

Kaleena Wright was a Red Cross AmeriCorps member and Homeland Security liaison in 2007 and 2008. She also became a Red Cross employee after her service.

“The level of exposure and responsibility I was entrusted with gave me the confidence to create my own impact,” Wright said. “After that year of intense engagement things like public speaking, program development, fundraising, storytelling and innovative strategic development became second nature. It allowed me to grow my career on my own terms by knowing and understanding that my ability to make an impact is only limited by my ability to imagine and be a part of something larger than myself.”

For another look at how the Red Cross network has partnered with AmeriCorps members who “bring Americans together to strengthen our communities,” read more from Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern.

From redcross.org.

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Disney Helps Celebrate National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month! Check out all the awesome resources we have to help you get prepared this month.

Mickey and Friends Preparedness Activity Book

The Red Cross and Mickey and Friends Disaster Preparedness Activity Book teaches kids how to be prepared and stay safe during disasters. Using interactive games and activities, children and their families learn how to be better prepared for the unexpected in a safe and stress free environment.

Friends for Change

Want to learn more information about being prepared? Check out our Pillowcase Project PSA,sponsored by Disney, and learn more about what to put in a kit, and how to help keep you and your family safe during a disaster!

Disney Get Prepared Action Kit

Download the Disney Get Prepared Action Kit and learn what to put inside of your emergency preparedness kit or pillowcase, how to make a family plan, and additional steps to stay safe during an emergency.

Want to learn more about the Pillowcase Project? Visit Redcross.org for more information!

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Transitioning from High School to College

Many of us remember (or will one day remember) the joy of high school graduation. I personally just experienced this momentous occasion this past May. Going from high school to college is a huge transition by itself, but here is some helpful information to help ease this transition.

Since some of us will be leaving for college soon, I first want to remind incoming college freshmen to contact their local chapter if they will be transferring to another region. Contacting your local volunteer coordinator lets Red Cross know that you will be in a different region for the next few years. You will soon need access to resources particular to that region. As a result, your information on Volunteer Connection will also be transferred, and you will have a new chapter/region name and maybe even a few new groups. You may also want to email your soon-to-be chapter to let them know that you will be there for college and would like to continue to volunteer with the Red Cross. Keep in mind that you will want to do this before you start college so that you can jump right into your new Red Cross journey!

Next, you should see if your new college has a Red Cross Club. With more and more Red Cross Clubs being created every year, your college might already have one established; however, if it does not, you can take the lead and start the process of founding your own. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, that is completely fine, as you are bound to find other Red Cross volunteers that also attend your college; your work as an individual volunteer will be just as important! Now you should be on your way to getting involved with the Red Cross before you even step foot on campus.

Sometimes, freshmen year can be a little overwhelming, so do not be afraid to take it easy as you make this transition to college. Finding a balance between academic work, extracurricular commitments, a possible part-time job, among other opportunities in college can be difficult; many freshmen take on too much—don’t spread yourself thin. Even the best volunteers have times when they need to take it easy, which is fine.

Finally, remember to stay involved. With all the new opportunities of college, it can be easy to forget the things we done in high school. The best volunteers are the ones that stay committed, even when they start new chapters of their lives. Of course, the National Youth Council is always here to help with any concerns or questions you may have about getting involved.

Good luck to all the entering college freshmen Red Cross volunteers this year!

Joshua Lovett

 

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Club Fair Recruitment Tips!

Club fairs are amazing opportunities to reach out to prospective members and explain to them why joining an American Red Cross Club is a great idea. Whether your Red Cross Club is new or has been around for years, here are some tips for making the most out of your booth at a club fair.

  1. Be visible! Banners and poster boards are both effective ways to let people know who you are and are more likely to spark someone’s interest to walk over to your table. Make sure that if you are utilizing the Red Cross logo, it follows the national brand standards (You can find Red Cross logos at http://www.redcross.org/about-us/media-resources/logo/brand-standards)
  2. Be friendly! Members stationed at your booth should always greet prospective members with a firm handshake and a welcoming attitude. Preparing a 30-second elevator pitch about your club is helpful for people who may not know about the American Red Cross, so you can briefly discuss general aspects of the American Red Cross, past projects, and member commitments.
  3. Be memorable! Preparing flyers to give to prospective members who stop by your booth is likely to help people remember your club. On this flyer, you can include information from your 30-second pitch, the date and time of the first meeting, and a way for prospective members to contact the club if they have more questions.
  4. Follow up! It is critical to have a sign-up sheet for prospective members to provide their name and your club’s preferred method of contact information so that you can reach out to them when the first meeting rolls around. If you do not have a date and time for the first meeting at the club fair, reach out to the interested members and let them know when the first meeting will be while also reiterating the positive benefits of joining.

Best of luck for a great year!

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