I didn’t really know what to expect when I received my first Office Hours request. There were a few emotions running through my head after I finished reading the email notifying me of my first appointment:
1. I felt incredibly flattered that someone would choose me out of all the thirteen accomplished, experienced, and amazing youth who volunteer with me on the council.
2. Nervous. I wanted to give this person a positive experience with the National Youth Council, encourage them to stick with the Red Cross forever, and to think I was cool. All realistic goals, of course.
3. Really, really excited. I get to interact with someone who loves the Red Cross enough to want to talk to a complete stranger about it (one of my favorite things to do, to be honest)!
I sent an email their way to confirm that I was a real person, proofreading several times to make sure I gave off the perfect impression of professional, friendly, and awesome (this post is going to knock my carefully crafted reputation to rubble, I’m sure), and when our appointment rolled around, I felt just as flattered/nervous/excited as I did for the past week.
We had texted a bit before, and we actually had a phone call instead of video chatting like the Office Hours link advertises. But hey, she had just woken up and I hardly looked like a rose. Boston is killing my skin.
Anyways, it turned out she was starting a Red Cross club in her high school close to my hometown, and I was absolutely floored by how much she reminded me of myself when I was first starting! I mean, we even had the same meeting times (every other Tuesday at lunch). A majority of the conversation was filled with me rambling about tips for member engagement and retention, how to execute events that were successful with my club, different outside opportunities in the area, and all the resources that the National Youth Council pushes out to help with anything and everything Red Cross. She listened intently, and asked sharp and pertinent questions. I felt like I genuinely helped her, and also thought she was the absolute sweetest for putting up with me for the entire fifteen minutes.
Since then, I’ve had one other appointment with a volunteer struggling against his school a bit to start a club. I was absolutely blown away by his passion, dedication, and focus towards alleviating human suffering, even through peer and administrative pressures. Also, he printed out a short novel consisting of every activity guide on redcrossyouth.org (cue silent cheering) to prove to his school that the Red Cross is worth its own club. If that doesn’t inspire you to pause Netflix to go out and do something for the world, I don’t know what will.
When you’re involved in an organization on a national level, it can sometimes feel like you’re being stretched across too big of a space, and it can be difficult to reach the individual volunteer. I think Office Hours provides so much more support and flexibility for that stretch, and I personally believe that it’s one of our best resources yet. My first appointment left me feeling energized and inspired by the youth of our country, and reassured me that my generation was one that is sensitive, conscious, and empowered to lead the world to strides in the right direction.
I have another appointment coming up this week, and I’m feeling as flattered, nervous, and excited as ever.
- Jacqueline Young
Sign up for office hours here!
For National Youth Involvement Month, the youth of Southwest Washington mobilized 232 youth and raised over $6,000 in 2 hours! They also marched in a local veterans day parade and handed candy and shook hands with veterans. Check out their photos here and check back here throughout November to see more stories!
If you have a project to submit, send it to YouthInvolvement@redcross.org.
To participate in NYIM, get information here!
The Red Cross has launched a fun, free app for kids called “Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies.” Primarily designed for 7- to 11-year-olds, it’s a game where kids role-play as various monster characters and engage in interactive training episodes for hazards such as tornados, floods and hurricanes.
Kids direct the monsters to identify fire hazards, locate a safe room in a house, select items needed for their emergency supplies kit and more. If a player completes all of the episodes, he or she will graduate and become a member of the ‘Monster Guard.’
The best user experience is playing the game on a tablet, but it also works well on other mobile devices. Monster Guard runs on iOS 7 and 8 and Android OS 4x and up.
Go to redcross.org/monsterguard or text ‘MONSTER’ to 90999 for a direct link to download the app. Children should ask a parent or guardian for permission to download the app.
The app compliments The Pillowcase Project – a youth preparedness initiative. Both the app and The Pillowcase Project are sponsored by Disney.
Check out all of the Red Cross apps at redcross.org/apps.
For 32 years, Monroe County Chapter of the American Red Cross in Bloomington, Indiana has been hosting an Annual Book Fair to raise funds for local chapter to help respond to disaster, support local military families, and provide CPR and first-aid classes. Throughout the year, people in the area donate on average 100,000 books, as well as CDs, DVDs, and games, as well as collectables such as art and baseball cards to sell at the event.
This past year, the Bloomington North High School’s Red Cross Club, along with Indiana University’s Red Cross Club, helped to work at their local chapter’s event in early October, though setting up, cashiering, working customer service, and tearing down the event. The event was a huge success, as both these clubs helped to raise $73,100 for the Monroe County Chapter. Congratulations on having such a successful event, and keep up the great work!
Want to get involved with National Youth Involvement Month (NYIM) during November? Getting involved is easy!
- Choose and plan a Red Cross activity involving preparedness, fundraising, blood services, or service to the armed forces (Check out last year’s projects for ideas at http://redcrossyouth.org/2013/12/01/nyim-recognition/)
- Register your NYIM activity at http://redcrossyouth.org/2014/10/09/national-youth-involvement-month-2014/. The National Youth Council wants to know what YOU are doing for NYIM!
- After finishing the activity, share your project by sending photos and a summary of what was accomplished to YouthInvolvement@redcross.org to be shared on RedCrossYouth.org!
Then, during November 24-28, interact with other youth volunteers participating in NYIM during the “Get and Give Thanks Campaign” from November 24-28.
Check out the NYIM Checklist for more information!