The Next Generation of Red Crossers

From the second I arrived at Six Flags New England on Wednesday, August 20th, I could immediately tell that it was going to be a good day for the Red Cross. Prospective youth volunteers and club members began streaming in to the empty park, initially interacting only with close friends but quickly becoming much more comfortable with one each other as the incredibly helpful Six Flags staff shepherded us from the entrance to the Grove where the Youth Programs Day Event would take place. While I could tell that the general consensus among the attendees was that 8:30 in the morning was EARLY (A point I am sure most of us can agree on), I could not have been more impressed with the cheery mood evident as youth volunteers signed in and took seats alongside each other while sharing a light breakfast.

After a majority of the 80 youth were seated and settled, Sarah Corrigan, Board Chair of the Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter said a few opening words before conducting a basic ice breaker that involved everyone splitting away from those they arrived with in order to interact with someone brand new. I have been a part of many ice breaking events, and I have rarely seen a group so willing to mingle! This cheery mood continued to pervade the entire day from the lecture sections where the new volunteers learned the history of the Red Cross and about its mission and values to the ending educational walk through of Volunteer Connection. Perhaps the most impressive section of the day, however, was an exercise where the youth broke off into several small groups in order to plan potential fund raising ideas. Not only did every group come up with an incredibly clever fund raising idea, but they also managed to plan most of the logistics! My personal favorite was a group that came up with a color run (a cross country run where participants are generally pelted with water balloons full of paint), which would raise a lot of potential revenue for the Red Cross. In the end, while the event spanned a long 5 hours, every student remained actively engaged throughout and walked away with an enthusiastic call to “spread the red” as they move forward during the upcoming school year.

As i walked around the park afterwards, it was incredibly gratifying to see all the new Red Cross volunteers in their Red Cross Youth Programs Day shirts dispersed amongst the crowd knowing that all these highly motivated individuals will be working hard to further the Red Cross mission.

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More Than Just Blood-Experiences at a Blood Drive

On July 9th I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Six Flags Super Blood Drive at the Big E along with a fellow Youth Programs Intern, Sarah Braverman. Together, we decided to share our experiences from the drive.

Sarah Bessette: I had attended and seen a few blood drives before, but this one was very impressive. From the moment you step into the Better Living Center, a Red Cross Volunteer greets you with a smile, guides you through the process, and sends you to the next station. From the colored wrist bands, to the Looney Toon characters for each donation booth, the organization and flow of the event is incredible. The donors feel comfortable and welcomed.

Going to an event like that, you can’t help but want to give in some way. Whether it’s through actually giving blood, or sitting at the registration desk, each part of the event helps to change and save lives. It was motivating to see the people lining up to donate blood. As a volunteer you get to interact with so many of these people. Some have been giving for years, and others it’s their first time. Some are outgoing, and some hardly speak at all. One was in shock that people actually volunteer their time to help with the drive. Another had volunteered with the Red Cross before. Every donor is different, yet all unified under the same gratification that they helped to save a life. Knowing that is what makes my volunteer experience the most satisfying.

Sarah Braverman: The Big E hosted a Six Flags Super Blood Drive on July 9th, and what an experience it was! The Better Living Center was filled with Red Cross Volunteers and blood donors of all ages and all ready to donate, starting early in the morning to late at night. What I thought was most impressive was how the system was organized. A donor would walk in and be greeted by a Red Cross Volunteer and informed on our regulations and policies for donating blood. The donors were given a colored wrist band that matched a sign at each donation station with a Looney Toon character. Donors had the option to donate whole blood or just red blood cells. After a background check and their donation, each donor went to one of about eight refreshment station, relaxed and socialized with the many other donors.

I volunteered at the “Sylvester the Cat” station greeting people and recording who came in to donate. I had never seen so many donors all in one place at one time. While I was volunteering, I got to meet other volunteers and donors of various backgrounds. Everyone had a story to tell: what brought them to working for the Red Cross, what brought them there that day to donate, how long they have been volunteering or donating, the stories were never ending. What left the longest impact on me was to see all these people, no matter how hard life had been to them, taking the time out of their lives to give to someone they may never meet. Someone with stories they may never hear. Being surrounded by these good Samaritans revived my feelings of enthusiasm and optimism in the charity work I do. Every little thing you do that’s for the benefit of someone else is time well spent.

As you can see, there is so much more to a blood drive than just blood. Its about the donors you meet, the volunteer stories you hear, and the experiences made that create the difference.

Don’t miss it! Red Cross on City Line this weekend

VND & DMPlans this weekend? Cancel ’em and get in front of your TV.

Tune into WCVB’s City Line to catch Chief Development Officer Valerie Navy Daniels and Donna Morrissey, Communications Director of Blood Services, talk about Red Cross efforts during the Boston Marathon.

What:  April 13, 2014: Boston Strong: The one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings is quickly approaching and Boston has proven that it is stronger than ever. Numerous organizations have continued to help those impacted by the marathon violence. Valerie and Donna re-live their experiences from last year and how people can prepare for a new year of celebration.

Where: WCVB

When: Sunday, April 13, 12 p.m.

Why: The American Red Cross of Massachusetts is supporting the community in a variety of ways during the bombing anniversary and Marathon Monday. With mental health support, blood drives and  a strong volunteer presence, we stand together, Boston Strong.

 

 

 

Time’s running out – Nominate your Northeast Hero

rco_blog_img_northeastKnow someone who’s done something incredible for another? How about someone who’s always working to better his or her community?

If so, we want to know. Friday is the deadline to nominate your hero for consideration in the 12th Annual Northeast Red Cross Heroes Breakfast. Heroes will be named in the following categories:

  • Enduring Hero: A person who has made a difference in the community by engaging in many different activities over a long period of time.
  • Community Hero: An individual, couple, or family “Good Samaritan” involved with an event, project, or on-going effort that directly benefits the community.
  • First Responder Hero: A Firefighter, Police Officer, EMT, or other first responder who has performed an act beyond the call of duty.
  • Youth Hero: A student (elementary, middle, high school or college) who demonstrates leadership qualities, or is involved with an event, project, or on-going effort that directly benefits the community.
  • Workplace Hero: An organization that has demonstrated unusual leadership and commitment to the community.
  • Military Hero: A member of the Armed Forces who acted above and beyond the call of duty.

Share your hero with us today! Click here to nominate someone.

Flirt with us on the Cape

IMG_5578Missed the chance to Flirt with Disaster in Salem? No worries! Join us in Sandwich Thursday, October 10 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to get the chance to mingle with some current volunteers and learn more about the organization. You can find us Red Crossers at the British Beer Company located at 46 Route 6A.

Come flirt with the Red Cross and enjoy great food and drinks at the same time!

-Emily DeChambeau

Are you too chicken to run in tights?

8113005813_a0f8287935_oYou’re not, right?

…Right?

Okay, we need you to prove it.

Click here to sign up for the Third Annual Cape Cod Disaster 5K Run/Walk. How many other opportunities do you have to run around Hyannis in a costume while raising money for disaster relief?

Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sign up.

PHOTOS: Women Who Care 2013

Red CrossWhether or not you made it to yesterday’s Women Who Care – A Leadership Breakfast, you definitely don’t want to miss these photos. Check ‘em out on Flickr, but be sure to check back on Friday – we’ll have more posted!

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