The “NYC”

The American Red Cross National Youth Council (NYC) is a group of 13 youth members and 3 adult advisers who work to better serve the youth volunteers of the American Red Cross. We advocate for youth involvement throughout the organization, create resources, and run awesome websites like We strive to further the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross by empowering youth and young adult volunteers to become community and organizational leaders. Drawing upon their creativity, dedication, and energy, the National Youth Council seeks to promote young volunteers as an organizational resource and help young volunteers reach their full potential in serving their communities through the American Red Cross.

In recognition of its work, the National Youth Council was presented with the 2008 Norm Augustine Award by Interim President & CEO Mary Elcano at National Convention for “exceptional innovation, teamwork and extraordinary commitment” and with the 2007 Together for Humanity Award by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the IFRC General Assembly for “increasing civil society and Red Cross Red Crescent capacity.”

We work in close partnership with the Office of the National Chair of Volunteers in implementing its initiatives. Twenty-nine percent, or 169,312, of American Red Cross volunteers are youth or young adults, defined as age 24 and younger.

Follow the NYC on Twitter: @AmRedCrossYouth
“Like” our new official Facebook Fan Page

Meet the National Youth Council for the 2011-2012 Term

1.) Joe Gibson, Chair

Joe is a 19-year-old youth activist from southern Minnesota, United States. His career in youth activism began at the age of 15, when he assisted in changing the legal age of blood donation in his state. Soon after the new law was passed, Joe was honored to become a board member of the North Central region of the American Red Cross. His work with the UN began at the age of 17, and has included work with the United Nations Association of the United States and numerous other non-profits. He was recently appointed as the new Chair of the National Youth Council of the American Red Cross and a sophomore student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Currently his time is dedicated to an initiative that strives to create the position of US Youth Delegate to the United Nations within the US State Department and delegation to the UN.

2.) Anjuli Sastry, Vice-Chair

Anjuli is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and minoring in English and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. This aspiring journalist was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she is going into her sixth year as a volunteer with the American Red Cross. Over the years, she has served two terms as president of her high school Red Cross club, represented youth on both the Bay Area Red Cross Executive and Youth Executive Boards, and advocated for her local youth at regional and national conferences. One of her favorite experiences with the Red Cross was being on the staff for Leadership Development Camp (LDC) throughout high school. This is her third year on the council.

3.) Anna Bevington, Leadership Team Member

A 2nd year member of the National Youth Council, Anna is very excited to represent youth working to save lives all across the nation. Anna was the Volunteer Youth Coordinator at her local Westmoreland-Chestnut Ridge Chapter and President of the American Red Cross Club of Seton Hill University. Anna has founded two American Red Cross Youth Clubs and loves to be involved in all services of the American Red Cross. When asked if she has any advice for youth volunteers she said “I want youth volunteers of the American Red Cross to always keep in mind that you are part of something bigger than you, something that is making a difference and saving lives. We are the future of the American Red Cross and each and every one of us is important. We always need to reach out to other youth and let them know they can be part of this too!”

4.) Brie Stark, Leadership Team Member

Brie is a 21-year old senior at Bryn Mawr College, where she majors in psychology with a concentration in neural and behavioral science. She has been involved with the Red Cross for 6 years, where she was the first youth member on the Board of Directors of her local Red Cross in Ohio. During this time, she helped to create two high school clubs in her community. In 2008, Brie received the Youth Volunteer of the Year and Hero of Delaware County awards, as well as the national Navin Narayan College Scholarship, all sponsored by the Red Cross. During her junior year abroad, she studied at the University of Oxford, England, which helped to foster a desire to establish a relationship between the youths of international units of the Red Cross. Brie is currently working on establishing goals to create this international community. She has always had a profound love of volunteering, and is greatly looking forward to connecting with youths across the country who share this love. Brie’s long-term goals include obtaining a doctorate in neuroscience, and to continue volunteering in the health/medical realm, preferably for the Red Cross. This is her first year on the council.

5.) Mohit Jain, Leadership Team Member

Mohit is a senior from Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska and has been involved with the Red Cross for four years. His interests lie in legislative health policy and working with the Red Cross in CPR training, disaster preparedness, and blood drives. He fell in love with the organization when he toured a mobile blood donation van when he was six years old. His work began when he was nominated by the Governor of Nebraska to be on his advisory board, from where he has been recognized on several boards nationally, including the GenerationOn National Youth Advisory Council. Currently, he is working on opening a new non-profit called OmahaCares which aims to streamline the volunteer process by providing an innovative recommendation system based on interests and previous experiences. His advice to anyone interested in getting involved with the Red Cross, or non-profits in general, is that “We all have something to give back to the community. In the process, we learn a lot from each other, and we get more than we can give.” This is his first year on the council.

6.) Saajan Bhakta, Member

Saajan lives in Wichita, Kansas and is a senior at Wichita High School Northwest. He began volunteering at his local American Red Cross at the age of 8 helping with clerical tasks in the office. Soon after, he moved into the Blood Donor Center where he greeted donors. He still volunteers at the Red Cross helping donors. He also organizes many community Blood Drives in Wichita. He has learned so much and worked with so many great people. He is a firm believer in optimism! In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, traveling, and singing. He comes from an Indian background. His parents and family are from India. In the future, he hopes to become a medical doctor specialized in Emergency Medicine. He is very excited to join NYC and make a difference in the American Red Cross!

7.) Alison Inceu, Member

Alison Inceu is currently a sophomore at The George Washington University, where she is majoring in international affairs and minoring in Spanish literature and history. She has served the American Red Cross at both the chapter and national levels. Alison was previously an intern and then the regional client services associate for the Emergency Services department of the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York. For the past year, she has also worked to support the youth educational program “Exploring Humanitarian Law” within the International Humanitarian Law Dissemination and Chapter Support Unit at NHQ. Alison is repeatedly drawn to the American Red Cross by the Fundamental Principle of Humanity – by the idea that we exist as an organization simply to alleviate human suffering, wherever it may be found and whoever it may be experienced by.

8.) Hanna Malak, Member

As a new member to the council, Hanna is excited to get started. Hanna is a senior at Menlo College in Atherton, CA. He began working with The Red Cross through the 2010-2011 NAIA/ Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program, where he spent two weeks in Washington, DC. undergoing training and tapping into resources in the Bio Medical side of The Red Cross. Hanna serves on the Board of Directors on the Northern California Blood Services Region and founded The Red Cross Club at Menlo College. Under his leadership, Menlo’s Red Cross Club worked hard to almost triple blood donations in one year.

9.) Eli Russ, Member

Eli Russ is currently a junior in high school in New York and has been a youth volunteer with the American Red Cross (ARC) for three years. It was after listening to a Red Cross official speak in 2008 at a meeting of his local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) that he decided to join the ARC as a youth volunteer. In that same year he joined his high school’s Red Cross Club and became co-president of the Club several months later. In 2010, he received the Exceptional Youth Volunteer Award by the ARC Westchester County Chapter for his work with the high school Red Cross Club and with the Chapter’s youth program. Within the ARC, he is most interested in Disaster Services. His long range plan is to graduate college and relocate to Israel where he hopes to pursue a career in Emergency Management. This is his first year on the Council.

10.) Stewart Zellars, Member
Stewart has been involved with the American Red Cross for seven years. He is currently a junior at the University of Georgia, majoring in Economics and Mathematics. He loves working with the American Red Cross, because the atmosphere is so warm and welcoming. Since he has started volunteering, the Red Cross has felt like a home filled with brothers and sisters who share the same passion for volunteering as himself. A fun fact about Stewart is that has a German Red Cross t-shirt, an Italian Red Cross hat, and some Moroccon Red Cross shoelaces.

11.) Jeffrey Su, Member

Jeffrey, like most kids, started volunteering with the American Red Cross in high school as a member. Upon first encounter, he developed a passion for the club and went on to be the president and, shortly after, was awarded Youth Volunteer of the Year at his local chapter. But his new found passion for the American Red Cross would not end there, oh no, it was only beginning! He wanted to continue his relations with the organization in college, so with the help of a friend and a lot of long nights, he re-established the Red Cross club his freshman year at USC and continues to be the executive director going into his third year of college. Currently an architecture major, Jeffrey spends his “free time” working on Red Cross stuff and helps local chapters in any way he can. Among his friends, he is known as the Red Cross guy and will continue to be as he goes into his first year on the council, excited and ready.

12.) Sarah White, Member

Sarah White is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Political Science/Public Policy. Although this is her fourth year volunteering with the American Red Cross, this is her first year on National Youth Council. Sarah was president of her high school club, member of the Youth Executive Board at the Greater Long Beach Chapter, and the Youth Services Intern for the Bay Area Chapter. Her two great interests in the Red Cross are promoting the Measles/Malaria Initiative and staffing at LDC (Leadership Development Center.)

13.) Melissa Zhu, Member

Melissa is currently a second-year medical student at Texas Tech University Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. She has volunteered for the American Red Cross for more than seven years now, and has loved every piece of her Red Cross journey! She is a Vanderbilt University alumni and was actively involved with the Vanderbilt Red Cross, taking part in a broad spectrum of service projects that stretched across almost all the areas of the Red Cross mission: blood drives, CPR/First Aid/AED training, disaster training and relief, and fundraisers for the Measles Initiative. Early this year, Melissa helped start a national pilot program on International Humanitarian campus training. From high school to medical school, Melissa claims her life would have been much less meaningful if she did not choose the American Red Cross. This is her third year on the council.

Meet our two Youth Advisers!

Bee Kong, Youth Adviser

Bee Kong has been involved with the American Red Cross since 1998 where he served as a youth volunteer at the Greater Long Beach Chapter. During his years as a youth volunteer, Bee was highly involved in Leadership Development Center (LDC) as well as the chapter Youth Executive Board. Upon graduating from UCLA in 2005, Bee began his full time career at the American Red Cross as a Youth Program Specialist and worked to train and inspire a new generation of youth volunteers. Currently, Bee is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Services for the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region and also serves as an advisor to the ARC National Youth Council. In his spare time, Bee enjoys playing in recreational Basketball leagues and collecting rare and expensive items from Star Wars, Transformers, and Macross.

Ellen Valway,Youth Adviser

Ellen is one of two adult advisers appointed to the National Youth Council to serve a three year term. She is originally from the Midwest but what she has loved most about her career is living overseas for 18 years working as a school counselor at three different American Schools in Taiwan, The Netherlands and Dubai. Ellen now lives in Bend, Oregon and loves hiking and cross country skiing in the beautiful mountains there. She works as the Volunteer Program Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Blood Services Region and works with volunteers from eight counties.

Like what you see on Want to take your awesome volunteer experience with the American Red Cross to the next level? Apply to become a member of the National Youth Council! The application process opens every spring and is currently closed, but check back next year for more opportunities.

NYC members in San Francisco for their July 2011 meeting

6 Responses

  1. Dear Red Cross National Youth Council,

    I would like to introduce myself, and the three programs that circulate under our Red Cross Youth & Young Adult Program here in Richmond. The three programs are: the Red Cross School Club, Youth Leadership Council, and Summer Program. It a very functional and successful program and it is always good to share networking information with other established sister organizations. Congratulations in all that you do, and much success. If there is anything we can do to help or ideas we can share to better improve our youth support please feel free to contact or email us. Please visit our website and look under the Youth page to learn about what our Chapter is doing with the wonderful Youth in Richmond VA.

    Thank you so much for all that you do.

    Amal Faraj
    American Red Cross
    Community Relations & Youth Program Coordinator
    Richmond VA

    • Hi, My name is Don Bledsoe and I am a Disaster Supervisor in Clarksville TN. Our chapter is working on starting a Youth program and I am reaching out for all the help and ideas anyone can give. We do not want to “reinvent the wheel” so any pointers would be helpfu.
      Don Bledsoe

      • Hello Don,
        Thank you for reaching out to us with your questions regarding a possible youth program at your chapter. I will get you in contact with those who I think can offer you the best information and advice possible. Let me know if you do not hear back from anyone in the next couple of weeks!

        Thank you again for reaching out,
        Alison Inceu, [email protected].

  2. Hi, My name is Thalia. I am 8 years old and am interested in the Red Cross Youth. I just had a birthday party and my mom helped me raise money for the Red Cross instead of getting presents. I would like to become more involved in The Red Cross. Do you have any suggestions for me? I live in Winston Salem, NC. I am in the Girl Scouts, too and could have my friends help.
    Sincerely, Thalia Terlecki.

  3. my name is nugusse ghebreslase from Eritrea . i have graduated from the university of Asmara in 2006 in applied biology and also i am a volunteer of the national red cross and red crescent society of Eritrean since 2002. so now i want to hold masters if you can help that i know if i upgrade my knowledge i can work more effectively, i work in research with different consultants over the whole country for four years.
    my address: [email protected]

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