The Red Cross is found not only in the United States of America, but also in many of the countries around the world. Where there are people, there will always be a constant need for help and volunteers.
Personally, being able to venture out into the world and experience a rich diversity in culture was one of the most eye opening opportunities I have ever been granted. Recently, I traveled into the rural areas of the Carpathian Alps in Romania, Europe in order to offer my services to the local Romanian people.
I had never realized how in need some villages were for basic necessities: medicine, clothes, or cooking oil. Being able to volunteer as a youth member for the Romanian “Curcea Rosie” (Red Cross) opened up my eyes to the reality of the world. Regardless of race or skin color, every individual undergoes the same human struggles.
As we made the long trek to remote villages, I realized why many individuals living in rural areas lacked basic necessities. We carried relief items in our heavy supplies-laden backpacks, and as we arrived to the village center, we were greeted with warm welcomes and open arms not only into the cities, but also their homes and hearts.
Bringing these experiences back to the US allowed me to share my newfound interests of working with people one-on-one. It became apparent to me that we are not alone in our mission to address human suffering, and that there are strong-willed, kind-hearted people around the world.
When you get a chance to, work with the people in your specific community. The US is a melting pot of cultures, and volunteering in your community firsthand is a great way to experience the world, even if you can’t travel beyond the confines of your city. Help others and learn as much as possible through your experiences in order to spread your passion to the next volunteer following in your footsteps.
– Eugen Cotei, National Youth Council Facebook Liaison
As a Red Cross volunteer, you work hard to help your community through countless hours of service. Not only is this work important to your personal growth, it is also beneficial to you when applying to college and graduate school. These institutions want students who give back to their communities, and your Red Cross volunteer work is a great way to show them you are the applicant they need in their program!
Here are 3 ways to highlight your volunteer work on applications:
- Activities/Service Section of Application
This section of the application is used to quickly highlight your extracurricular activities and life experiences in a clear and concise manner. Many application readers skim this section first in hopes of getting a broad, yet informed, view of the applicant.
*Key Tip: be sure to include the number of hours you volunteered, dates of involvement, and a supervisor/reference if needed. These can be downloaded from Volunteer Connection using the “Print Hours” tab on the Hours Tool
Example: American Red Cross of Greater New York Volunteer; 2012-2015; 5 hours/week; Reference: Jane Smith (555)-555-5555, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV)
This supplemental piece of your application should include all professional, extracurricular, and educational experiences in your life thus far. Many application readers only get a chance to see this part of your application or spend most of their time reviewing this, since it captures the essence of your involvement most completely.
*Key Tip: be sure to include all leadership roles, specific responsibilities, and useful metrics to communicate the extent of your involvement with the activity.
Example: President, NY High School Red Cross Club; 2014-2015
- Facilitated monthly meetings for club of 50 members
- Grew number of average club events per month from 1 to 3
- Led team of 4 volunteers for annual volunteer recognition banquet
This part of your application is your chance to focus on how your volunteer experience has helped shape who you are. Rather than reiterate your positions and responsibilities, focus on the emotional aspects of your volunteer work and reflect on the impact your involvement had on others.
*Key Tip: be sure to include a story of when you volunteered with the Red Cross. Sharing a specific moment helps application readers get a better understanding of who you are and why you do what you do.
Example: When teaching middle school students about disaster preparedness, I learned about the value of investing in younger generations and communicating valuable information in a way in which children find fun. The Pillowcase Project introduced me to teaching and helped inform my decision to major in Early Childhood Education in college.
Take Home Message
Your Red Cross volunteer work is important to you, your community, and your future! While your volunteer work will likely pop up in several sections of your application, highlight different aspects of your involvement in a way which is both comprehensive and consistent.
- Internship opportunities
No matter what your field of interest is, the Red Cross offers a variety of different internships to high school and college students. Contact your local chapter to see if this opportunity is available to you!
- Volunteer hours
With Volunteer Connection, you can access certificates and print a verified report of your volunteer hours ANYTIME you want. No more waiting!
- Leadership positions at the club, chapter, and national level
Get involved with the Red Cross today, and have the chance to serve as a Committee lead, Youth Executive Board member or even as part of the National Youth Council!
- Diverse fields to work in (health and safety, armed forces, communications, etc)
The Red Cross High School Leadership Program offers a chance to get a FREE Red Cross stole for your graduation ceremony, and a shot at a $5,000 scholarship!
- Access to a large array of resources
RedCrossYouth.org has resources on how to start a club, step by step activity guides to help you plan your club events, access to schedule 1-on-1 Office hours with a National Youth Council member, and much more! Make sure to keep updated with our most recent news, and sign up for our monthly newsletter, YouthWire.
Check out the Navin Narayan College Scholarship that annually awards $1,000 to an outstanding high school Senior!
- You’ll be able to continue with Red Cross no matter where you go
Red Cross will be present no matter where you go.
- Direct impact experience
If you are 16 and above, check out the “Disaster Action Team” at your local chapter to find out if you can work as a direct responder!
- Be connected with a passionate group of people to expand your network
As part of the Red Cross, you are part of one of the largest networks across the world.
Written byMiki Rai, National Youth Council Communications Working Group Lead
Special thanks to Joanna Hu and her Silicon Valley Youth Executive Board Team in California for their collaboration on this article.
Last weekend, ten members of the National Youth Council came together in the St. Louis Area Chapter to recap the past year and to plan initiatives for the upcoming year. We learned a lot about ourselves and each other, but mostly about our growing love for the Red Cross.
To introduce the 10 Days of Giving Campaign from Saturday, November 21st to Tuesday, December 1st, we filmed a video with 10 reasons why we love the Red Cross. Now we want to hear why you love it — use the hashtag #GiveWithMeaning to share photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You might just get reposted by the national social media team!
- Greater Los Angeles Region | California
A Red Cross volunteer coordinating and delegating tasks before the annual Long Beach Veteran’s Day Parade!
- Greater New York Region| New York
Red Cross volunteers participated in a full-scale disaster exercise stimulating a 6.5 earthquake in New York City this past October. Hundreds of Greater New York volunteers participated in this drill to prepare for future disaster relief scenarios.
Volunteers of all ages make up the CPR/First Aid spotter team for large public events, such as the Bronx 10-miler. This group assess the immediate medical needs of runners as they finish the race and provide immediate CPR and First Aid as needed. The best part? All you need is a current CPR/First Aid certification, available free from the Red Cross!
- Wayne County Chapter | Goldsboro, NC
Wayne County (NC) Red Cross volunteers installing smoke detectors in homes around their community.
- Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter | Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Washtenaw-Lenawee volunteers worked hard to lower home fire incidences within the Southeast Michigan community through door-to-door canvassing and free fire alarm installations.
- National Capital Region | Washington, D.C.
Dogs that serve as therapy dogs for the Walter Reed Medical Center, visit with families of veterans.
- American Red Cross of Massachusetts | Boston, MA
Amid upcoming Disaster Action Team and International Humanitarian Law trainings, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts also produced a video that shows what it does on the local, national, and international level.
- Mid-Florida Chapter ǀ Florida
Two Mid-Florida volunteers run the Red Cross table at the Pasco County Women’s 360 Fair for safety and preparedness.
- Southern Nevada Red Cross Chapter | Nevada
Students part of the “Power Up” event releasing their balloons at the end of the event to represent a future life they could save. Does your chapter have activities which involve all Red Cross youth volunteers in your community? They should!
- Desert to the Sea Region | California
The Orange County Chapter of the Desert to the Sea Region recently held a Home Fire Campaign where youth and adult volunteers were able to help provide fire safety tips and smoke detectors in local homes!
Written by Miki Rai, National Youth Council Communications Working Group Lead.