2016 Navin Narayan Scholarship Announcement

Congratulations to our 2016 Navin Narayan Scholarship Winner – Joanna Hu!

Joanna recently graduated from Evergreen Valley High School (EVHS) in San Jose, CA, and will attend the University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) in Philadelphia, PA this fall. She is currently involved with the Silicon Valley Red Cross Chapter and EVHS Red Cross Club, and plans to join the Philadelphia Red Cross Chapter and U Penn’s Red Cross Club after beginning college. Learn more about Joanna’s story here.


This $1000 scholarship will help her continue her Red Cross involvement, as well as provide outreach to future Navin Narayan scholarship winners. Joanna is still writing her Red Cross story, but we thank her for the impact that she has already made in her community. Learn more about the Navin Narayan scholarship here.

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Experience the Journey of a Refugee


Losing Your Most Prized Possessions – the newest Red Cross IHL youth activity guide – puts you in the shoes of a refugee or internally displaced person (IDP). By participating in this simulation, you can experience some of the struggles facing refugees and IDPs and learn about the protections offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) and refugee law.


In this simulation, you are asked to name your four most prized possessions and then make your way through a route filled with obstacles. See if you can hold on to all of your prized possessions during your escape to a safer haven. The activity guide provides you with discussion questions for after the simulation is finished. Reflect on how the group experienced the vulnerability that refugees and IDPs encounter daily – and how upholding the protections of IHL and refugee law can help ensure their safety.


Debriefing Session


Losing Your Most Prized Possessions provides a way to change your peers’ perspectives on the challenges facing people fleeing persecution, armed conflict, or other disaster. Recruit your friends and classmates to join you on the journey of a refugee or IDP.


Email IHLYouth@redcross.org for a copy of the complete activity guide!


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Star Wars: Force for Change

Show Your Force. Double Your Impact Today!

Through May 4, 2016 (Star Wars Day), Star Wars: Force for Change will match all donations made to the American Red Cross on their special CrowdRise page, 1-to-1 up to $1M, and donors enter to win exciting prizes.

If you’re looking for ideas to show YOUR force, watch this fun video created by the Red Cross of Alaska!

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3 Ways to Get Involved in Giving Day!

Giving Day 2016 

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.56.11 PM

What it is Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising event on April 21st, 2016 that builds awareness for our critical mission and raises funds to support the lifesaving work of the American Red Cross.


To build awareness about Giving Day and enhance your social media activities, follow the three steps below:


  1. Sign up to be a Social Ambassador! As a Social Ambassador, you’ll join a special group of our most dedicated supporters in helping spread the word about Giving Day. When you sign up to be an ambassador, you’ll receive weekly content and videos you can share on social media. You will be a part of a nationwide team raising awareness for lifesaving mission and helping more families in need.  It’s fast and easy to sign up – just go to givingday.redcross.org/ambassadors/


  1. Leading up to Giving Day, you can keep the momentum going by posting to your own social media accounts. Use the hashtag #help1family on your social media accounts to encourage your friends and family to get involved and donate on Giving Day. See examples below.

I’m helping @RedCross spread the word about their April 21 Giving Day! Join me to #help1family: rdcrss.org/1R5Uw41

Will you #help1family? $30 could provide 6 blankets for ppl affected by disasters big & small rdcrss.org/1R5Uw41

The American Red Cross needs our help! If we all #help1family, think of what we could do. Help spread the word about Red Cross Giving Day as a Social Ambassador: rdcrss.org/1U2g2a4

You can help the American Red Cross provide a family with a day’s worth of food, plus blankets and other essentials for just $88.50. Make an impact – #help1family. Show your #RedCross Giving Day support now: rdcrss.org/1U2g2a4

*Make sure to use the URLS above so we are able to track how much of an impact Youth is making for Giving Day!


  1. Starting April 1st, encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to donate on the Red Cross Youth page (redcross.org/givingday/youth). Every online donation to the Youth Page will be included in the real-time fundraising results shown on the Giving Day website.
Have questions? Email us!


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Congratulations to the 2015 Navin Narayan Award Winner!

The American Red Cross recognizes its exceptional employees and volunteers at the annual National Awards and Recognition Dinner and Ceremony. The fiscal year 2015 award recipients all used their talents and passions to accomplish impressive goals and worked tirelessly to support our lifesaving work. Whitney Sutton was awarded The Navin Narayn Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership. This award is a prestigious honor presented annually to a youth volunteer who demonstrates exemplary Leadership Skills and Red Cross service.


Whitney Sutton has been involved in the American Red Cross youth services program in the Utah Region since attending our first regional Leadership Development Camp as a delegate in 2010. The following year, Whitney joined the Red Cross youth program, immediately taking on leadership roles.


When Whitney came on board the Utah Region Youth Services Programs was in its infancy. With her involvement and leadership they are now one of the strongest programs in the nation. She has grown the youth services into three successful programs across the state of Utah, increased recruitment and retention to now include 200 youth participants supporting every sector of the Red Cross and drastically increased our monthly meeting attendance rates.


Whitney recruited 10 other students to take the first all-youth CPR/AED and FA Instructor Course and then empowered each of them to teach community courses for the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter. Now over 35 youth CPR/AED and FA instructors and an additional 25 babysitter instructors have been trained. Whitney is one of only 100 youth nationwide to become fully trained as a Disaster Action Team member. She also continues to stay active in Leadership Development Camp having served in a student-staff capacity for two years moving on to be a camp administrator and last year, joining the program as a member of the adult staff.


Wednesday March 9, 2016. Washington, D.C. The National Awards and Recognition Dinner at the Board of Governors Hall, American Red Cross National Headquarters. The American Red Cross honored 56 of its best and brightest at the 2016 National Awards and Recognition Dinner in Washington, DC. The event recognized the achievements of those whose commitment and passion make it possible for the Red Cross to fulfill its lifesaving mission every day. Whitney Sutton awarded the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership. Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross

Wednesday March 9, 2016. Washington, D.C.
The National Awards and Recognition Dinner at the Board of Governors Hall, American Red Cross National Headquarters.
The American Red Cross honored 56 of its best and brightest at the 2016 National Awards and Recognition Dinner in Washington, DC. The event recognized the achievements of those whose commitment and passion make it possible for the Red Cross to fulfill its lifesaving mission every day.
Whitney Sutton awarded the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership.
Photo by Dennis Drenner/American Red Cross


Whitney’s passion for the Red Cross and its mission has remained steadfast even her personal life as a student evolves. From high school to college, the Red Cross has always been able to count on Whitney when the organizational need is there. Her passion to transfer leadership and service skillsets to a younger generation and help them to understand how the skills obtained as a Red Cross volunteer are applicable throughout life are what makes Whitney a true trail blazer and the Red Cross lucky to know and work alongside her.

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Giving Day 2016

Join us and Addiction canada on April 21st for the American Red Cross second annual Giving Day. Our entire organization will come together both nationally and locally to raise awareness for our critical mission. With your support to spread the #help1family word we can reach our goal to raise funds to support families after disaster. More details on how you can join will be coming soon. For now, please save the date for Thursday, April 21, 2016.


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Five Tips for Successfully Coordinating a Blood Drive

Blood services is an important branch in the American Red Cross. Did you know that in the United States, the Red Cross supplies more than 40% of the nation’s blood supply? Youth play a key role in reaching the high demand for blood by coordinating blood drives at high schools, colleges, and other community areas. Here are some tips for successfully coordinating a blood drive as a youth volunteer.

1)  Plan well in advance

Blood drives can be a great way for youth to get involved in the Red Cross, but planning and coordinating a blood drive takes a lot of planning. Be sure to contact the blood drive specialist in your area at least three months before you plan to host the drive. Talk with them about where you want it to be, the expected number of donors, and how to best advertise the drive in your community.

2)  Have a good location

Because the United States is a very diverse country, it is important to keep in mind one’s community and drive location when planning an upcoming drive. Popular locations for drives include churches, schools, and outside large stores. Be sure to have the drive in an area with decent “traffic,” so you can get the most people and hit your donor goal.

 3)  Advertise strategically

Advertisement is critical when planning a drive. Utilize a variety of sources, including physical flyers, word of mouth, and online events. Consider making a Facebook event if the drive is at your high school or college. In addition, be sure to advertise (with permission) in relevant areas, such as popular restaurants and large stores in your community.

4)  Research the facts about blood donation

When coordinating a blood drive, people will often ask you questions about donor eligibility. You should read the materials your blood drive specialist gives you so you can answer these questions. When in doubt, contact your blood drive specialist to ask them and tell the potential donor you will get back to them. You can also direct them to redcrossblood.org for additional information.

5)  Put together a recruitment team

Coordinating a blood drive is a lot easier with some help. Consider asking Red Cross Club members, friends, and others to help with the process. Delegate specific tasks to the members of your team to minimize the burden on any one person. Also, recruit some students or friends to volunteer during the drive as refreshment servers, receptionists, and student supervisors.


Bonus tip: Did you know you can get a scholarship for hosting a blood drive? Check out this link for more information.


Good luck with hosting your blood drive!


Joshua Lovett





American Red Cross National Youth Council

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These Moments From the #WhyI Blood Drive Campaign Will Make You Feel All the Feels

Western Michigan University successfully launched the “why I…” campaign for a partnership blood drive with the university theatre department this February. President Jimmy Brand brought forth the idea because he wanted to find ways to “put a face to the issue of volunteerism.” The WMU Red Cross club members took photos of the volunteers and donors with signs and asked them why they donate and why they volunteer. Here are some of answers they collected:


“Why I chose to volunteer is because I am ineligible to give blood but still believe in the cause. Many people are in need of blood and I’d still like to support the Red Cross.”

Why I

Photo Credit: Western Michigan University Theatre


“WHY I donate is because I always like to have the opportunity to save lives! I’ve been donating even since the 10th grade!” ‪#‎WhyI

Why I 2

Photo Credit: Western Michigan University Theatre


“WHY I donate is because it’s always important to give back to local charities and to support those who are in need. If you are capable to help, you should! Supporting others is a beautiful thing.” ‪#‎Whyi ‪#‎redcross


Photo Credit: Western Michigan University Theatre


‪#‎WhyI donate and volunteer is because as an artist, I strive to affect positive change and use creativity as a medium to make a difference. Just like music and the arts, blood donation is universal; creating a community of like-minded individuals who are geared toward one common goal: saving lives.”


Photo Credit: Western Michigan University Theatre


#WhyI donate: I had an intern named Jackie, who worked with me in her senior year at Kalamazoo College. She became a dear friend of mine in our 35 years together and throughout her courageous battle with cancer. A blood transfusion from a donation event like this gave me another six months to cherish with her. Being on campus for this event and seeing the passion of these young students reminded me of when I first met Jackie and saw the light she had to offer the world. Every time I donate and have donated for the past forty-five years has been for Jackie. Always.”5

Photo Credit: Western Michigan University Theatre

For more stories, please check out their Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/rccwmu.

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How the Navin Narayan Scholarship Has Affected Volunteers

Each year, the National Youth Council awards one exceptional high school senior Red Cross volunteer with an $1,000 scholarship, called the Navin Narayan College Scholarship. Receiving this scholarship is humbling, inspiring, and an incredible honor. Four previous winners shared their stories with the National Youth Council to inspire youth to continue their Red Cross journeys and apply for the scholarship. Winners, Melanie Nominaya (2015), Waverley He (2014), Aparna Ghosh (2009), and Mahati Tonk (2003), all share the same passion for the volunteering for the Red Cross and helping others.


The National Youth Council asked the winners a series of questions to learn more about their Red Cross journeys, including:

  1. Can you tell us about your Red Cross story? 
  2. How has the Navin Narayan Scholarship impacted your life? 
  3. How do you see Red Cross being part of your future? 


Melanie Nomiya (2015 Winner)

Melanie Nomiya

  1. Can you tell us about your Red Cross story?

I started volunteering for the South Bay Red Cross Chapter during my freshman year of high school, and since then I founded the Red Cross club at North High School where I served as co-president for the next three years. I became the Disaster Preparedness officer of the South Bay Red Cross executive board in 2013-2014 and was later elected as President in 2014-2015. I also became the South Bay team leader for the Greater Long Beach Chapter’s International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign, which was one of five winning teams in the nation to attend the Youth Leadership Summit at the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington D.C. in 2015. This past summer, I staffed the Red Cross LA Region’s Leadership Development Camp after being a delegate in 2014.


  1. How has the Navin Narayan Scholarship impacted your life?

I remember at the South Bay Red Cross end-of-the-year banquet during my freshman year of high school, the executive board president, Siena Oberman, was awarded the Navin Narayan scholarship. I was so inspired from Siena’s accomplishments and commitment to the Red Cross that I was motivated to put forth my greatest effort into all the volunteering I did throughout the next 4 years of high school. This led to me develop a passion for service and empowering other high school youth. After reading Navin Narayan’s biography, I felt even more compelled to serve the world in the name of the Red Cross and in sheer humanity. And of course, I want to share Navin’s story as well.


  1. How do you see Red Cross being part of your future?

I just finished my first quarter at UCLA, and I’m still adjusting to the college life. I joined the American Red Cross Club on campus and participated in general meetings and events such as Holiday Mail for Heroes. I plan on volunteering with the West LA Red Cross chapter next quarter and will continue staffing the LA Region Leadership Development Camp. I still continue to support the North High School Red Cross Club and South Bay Chapter by providing resources to the current officers, and I hope I can start mentoring high school Red Cross clubs in bigger ways soon!


Waverley He (2014 Winner)

Waverley He

  1. Can you tell us about your Red Cross story?

I first began volunteering for Mountain View Red Cross Club as a high school freshman, and then went on to become the President of the Southwest Washington Red Cross Youth Council. Upon coming to college, I joined the Harvard Red Cross Club and became a First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor. I am now the National Youth Council YouthWire Editor and Harvard Red Cross Club Vice President.


  1. How has the Navin Narayan Scholarship impacted your life?

Receiving the Navin Narayan Scholarship was humbling and inspiring for me. It opened my eyes to the different opportunities for service both within and outside of the Red Cross, and also led me to apply for the National Youth Council because I wanted to continue his legacy of recognition and accomplishment.


  1. How do you see Red Cross being part of your future?

I will continue volunteering for the Red Cross in whichever ways I can! I plan to continue my term on the National Youth Council and spread awareness, preparedness, and safety within my community wherever I go.


Aparna Ghosh (2009 Winner)

Aparna Ghosh

  1. Can you tell us about your Red Cross story?

I started my journey with the Red Cross as a youth volunteer in May 2005 and am excited to be coming up on my 10-year anniversary in a few months! I went from being a community youth volunteer at my local Chapter, to joining my college club and taking on leadership and advising other Red Cross youth, to assisting with the formation of the National Collegiate Assembly and joining the National Youth Council, to working with IHL Action Campaigns and International Services work. What first started as intrigue has since blossomed into a love for all things community service and I enjoy volunteering for all the different avenues of the Red Cross!


  1. How has the Navin Narayan Scholarship impacted your life?

Receiving the Navin Narayan scholarship was a great achievement for me and inspired me to do even more for this great organization. The work that Navin Narayan did both within and outside the Red Cross is humbling and motivates me to find compassion and service in everything I do. The Red Cross has been an important part of my life and will continue to be forever


  1. How do you see Red Cross being part of your future?

I will continue volunteering for the Red Cross in whatever capacity I can for the rest of my life. Currently, I’m working with the IHL Action Campaigns and promoting the Red Cross mission to youth in my community, and in the future, I can definitely see myself staying involved in these avenues as well as taking on other opportunities as they present themselves.


Mahati Tonk (2003 Winner)

Mahati Tonk

  1. Can you tell us about your Red Cross story?

Service to the Red Cross has been an important and incredibly fulfilling part of my life ever since I began volunteering with my local chapter in 8th grade. In high school I served as president of the Central NJ Youth Council and went on to serve as a member of the National Youth Council while in college. After graduating from college, I founded and Chaired the American Red Cross National Young Professionals Council.


  1. How has the Navin Narayan Scholarship impacted your life?

Navin was my inspiration for volunteering with the Red Cross. Although his life ended too soon, he was able to accomplish so much and positively impact so many people because he devoted himself to service. Receiving the Navin Narayan Scholarship was a huge honor for me and inspired me to strive to carry on his legacy of service through the Red Cross.


  1. How do you see the Red Cross being part of your future?

I hope to be a Red Cross volunteer and donor for many years into the future. I’ve gained so much through my service to the Red Cross including leadership skills and an international Red Cross family. The organization will always be an important part of my life.


All of the winners of the Navin Narayan Scholarship value their fulfilling experience with the American Red Cross and have continued their involvement with the Red Cross.  The winners are driven, passionate, and involved youth that strive to positively affect the lives of other people.


You could be the next Navin Narayan Scholarship winner! Learn more about the eligibility requirements and apply by April 1st, 2016!


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Red Cross as a Pre-med/ Pre-health Student: How to kill two birds with one stone

Our culture has taught us the importance of being a well-rounded individual: whether you are applying for college or trying to get a job, there is a large emphasis on being not only academically intelligent, but being an individual who is invested in their community. As cliché as it is, employers and admissions officers would like to see what “difference” you have made in the world, and what you have learned from those experiences.heart-red-cross-1024x741

Each year, applicant pools are more competitive, and we are expected to contribute more to society, given the same amount of time. We sleep less, study harder and barely have any spare time left. You need to gain exposure and perform activities related to healthcare, such as shadowing, working at a hospital, and more, but you also need to volunteer your time to the community.

You have 24 hours in a day:

8 hours to sleep

+10 hours in school/doing school work

+2 hours for personal care


4 hours for extra-curricular activities

These FOUR hours need to include everything ranging from your after-school sports, to your theater classes, to your healthcare involvement. Exactly how are you supposed to have enough time to accomplish everything you need to get done?! The answer: Red Cross.

I was able to combine my community service WITH my healthcare related exposure. Here’s how:

  1. Get trained in CPR/First Aid

Almost every healthcare job requires you to have an active CPR/First Aid certification. Showing that you have taken the initiative to learn it early takes you one step ahead. Did I mention that a lot of summer jobs, such as lifeguarding or babysitting may require this certification as well?

  1. Instruct others! Teach hands only citizen CPR to your school clubs, friends and family

If you are trained in it, why not help train others too? You will be promoting and teaching life-saving skills, which is exactly what the healthcare system is designed to do! In addition, your Red Cross Chapter may also offer some certified instructors classes.

  1. Get involved with the Disaster Action Team(DAT)

Having the opportunity to go directly on the scene and assist victims of home-fire allows you to witness what it is like for something to affect a family to such a large extent.

  1. Apply for a school officer team or the chapter Youth Executive Board

The healthcare system strongly emphasizes collaboration and working in a team. Working through your school or chapter leadership will give you that experience.


Written by National Youth Council Communications Working Group Lead: Miki Rai

For questions, please contact: mrai.nyc@gmail.com


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Volunteer Connection

Volunteer Connection