Be a Volunteer
When you volunteer with the American Red Cross, you’re supporting one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world and making a positive impact on your peers and in your community. You can also maximize your talent, learn new skills, improve your resume, and meet new people – all while making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
The American Red Cross has developed fun activity guides for you to use to help spread the word about the Red Cross and its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Activity guides can be used by Red Cross Clubs, youth groups, or classes who want to organize around Red Cross mission-related activities. These activity guides will help you lead Red Cross activities. No matter what activity you choose, get in touch with your local Red Cross chapter or Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) station. The Red Cross can provide you with helpful resources and guidelines to make your activity a success!
Ways to Volunteer
We put together a list of ways a young people can volunteer with the Red Cross. Check out the menu of youth volunteer opportunities and see what sounds fun and exciting to you. No matter what volunteer opportunity you choose, you’ll need to sign up and work with your local Red Cross chapter, Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) station or Blood Region. Find your local Red Cross Unit.
Please note that some of the volunteer opportunities listed below may not be available in all areas. Contact local Red Cross Unit to find out what opportunities are available in your area.
- Host a blood drive at your school.
- Help recruit donors for an upcoming blood drive.
- Help arrange appointments for an upcoming blood drive.
- Volunteer to assist at a blood drive – act as a greeter or escort, or serve refreshments.
- Make thank you cards for blood donors to be given out at an upcoming blood drive.
- Organize blood drive competitions against other Red Cross Clubs or local schools.
Preparedness and Health & Safety
- Distribute information about preparedness to peers, teachers, and family at school and local community events.
- Get trained to become a community preparedness instructor and deliver presentations to younger students and your local community
- Preparedness Week: Host a five-day campaign designed to motivate your peers to prepare in case of a disaster.
- Fire Canvassing: Gather a group together to distribute lifesaving fire safety information, American Red Cross news and the youth brochure to residents of local neighborhoods and businesses.
- Prepare and Share Kit Drive: Organize a kit drive activity in which essential preparedness items are collected, assembled in a pack and delivered to those who need it most.
- Zombie Apocalypse Party: A zombie apocalypse party utilizes an impending ‘zombie apocalypse’ to help educate your school and community how to prepare for disasters like a zombie outbreak.
- Become a certified First Aid and CPR instructor and teach classes in your community (You must be at least 16 years old)
- Train your local community to be Be Red Cross Ready.
- Train elementary and middle school students in how to prepare for a disaster using the Red Cross Mobile Apps(First Aid App, Hurricane App, Earthquake App, Wildfire App).
- Disaster Speaks is a powerful event that gives you the opportunity to personalize disaster. Large boxes represent homes lost and include stories about someone who has made the unthinkable journey through disaster.
- Help assemble comfort kits for families who have lost their home as a result of a disaster.
- Help clean and maintain the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs).
- Take disaster training courses
- Participate in a mock disaster exercise hosted by your chapter.
- Participate in a shelter exercise hosted by your chapter. Play the roles of disaster clients or Red Cross volunteers.
- Join a local chapter’s Disaster Action Team (DAT). (You must be at least 16 years old)
- Offer translator services in the event of a disaster.
- Raise funds for the Measles & Rubella Initiative.
- Host a RAID CROSS event. RAID CROSS is a series of “posts,” or stations, designed to increase understanding of the humanitarian issues involved in conflict situations. RAID CROSS stations include information on prisoners of war, obligations to tend all wounded, distinctions between civilian and military targets, distinctions between civilian and combatants, and humanitarian assistance. (Activity Guide)
- Host an international film festival featuring International Humanitarian Law (IHL) films or documentaries about related issues such as: on child soldiers, landmines, humanitarian response.
- Create a Refugee Simulation activity to raise awareness about life in a refugee camp. Participants will learn about food rationing, restoring family links, registration, and border crossing.
- Start an International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Action Campaign through peer education.
- Spread the word about Restoring Family Links services. Whether it’s reaching out to your refugee community directly or working with other clubs that have an international presence, outreach plays a vital role in helping people connect with their families.
- Sponsor an International Humanitarian Law (IHL) course on campus.
- Host a panel discussion with guest speakers to discuss International Humanitarian Law (IHL) or a specific IHL-related topic such as: child soldiers, landmines, torture, refugees.
Service to Armed Forces (SAF)
- Holiday Mail for Heroes: Make holiday cards for service members and veterans for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign.
- Birthday Party for Veterans: Throw monthly birthday parties at a veteran’s hospital. (Activity Guide coming soon!)
- Totes of Hope: or homeless Veterans. Pack backpacks of personal care items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving cream, comb, etc.) plus a note for thanks for homeless veterans. The totes can be distributed through VA hospital homeless outreach programs. (Activity Guide coming soon!)
- Volunteer at a military or VA hospital. Serve as a greeter, work in a clinic, or assist patients in getting to their appointments.
- Serve as a youth media “correspondent” and write brief press releases for the installation paper.
- Host a bingo night at a veteran’s hospital.
- Make and distribute Valentines Day cards with tips on how to keep a healthy heart to veterans.
- Participate in a Weekend Walking Garden, a horticulture program on a cart that is moved between patient rooms. Push a cart of flowers, plants, portable “zen” gardens, and water fountains to patient’s rooms who are unable to go outside at a VA or Military hospital.
- Organize a monthly cookie drive and each weekend distribute cookies to patients, families, and staff at the VA or Military hospital.
- Attend a SAF webinar or training to better educate yourself and the community on military needs.
- Host Red Cross Ready for Deployment at your chapter or military facility. Distribute basic preparedness information for the families and children being left behind including Get to Know Us Before You Need Us, Coping with Deployments, and Reconnection Workshop information.
- Change for Change: a coin drive fundraising competition that engages your group with elementary school students to raise money for the American Red Cross.
- Helping Hands: a service-based event that allows community members to use your group to perform various outdoor tasks for a small fee.
- Ready Relay: a fundraising activity where teams of four-to-six participants compete against one another to complete a series of mission-related tasks.
- Flirting for Disaster: a social networking event where young professionals from your area converge to mingle, network, learn about and raise money for the American Red Cross.
- Zip Kits: Red Cross Clubs can raise funds by selling first aid kits.
- Sponsored Volunteerism: Similar to how runners ask friends to sponsor them by donating to a charity when running a race. This is a service-based fundraising activity where you seek donations for the time you spend volunteering.
- Red Cross Rocks: A battle of the bands event where several musical acts compete for the title of best band. Raise money for the Red Cross by requesting donations in lieu of ticket sales. (Activity Guide coming soon!)
- Taste of Red Cross: Cook dishes from around the world and bring the dishes to a central location where attendees can pay a donation fee to enter and taste the dishes. (Activity Guide coming soon!)
- Fundraise for the Red Cross Holiday Campaign.
More opportunities to explore with the Red Cross:
- Start a Red Cross Club at your school or chapter
- Join the leadership team of your Red Cross Club
- Apply to be a part of your chapter’s Youth Executive Board or work with your chapter to start a Youth Board
- Apply for an internship with your local chapter or at National Headquarters.
- Sign up for YouthWire, the National Youth Council’s E-newsletter, which features exciting news, stories, and opportunities.
- Apply to join the National Youth Council or National Young Professionals Council.
- Apply for the American Red Cross AmeriCorps* National Preparedness & Response Corps.
For a more expansive list of youth opportunities, check out our Menu of Youth Opportunities.