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Enterprising Youth Make Lasting New Year's Resolution

Opportunities for young philanthropists to roll up their sleeves and get involved are coming in 2012 through Red Cross school clubs. Don’t miss the fun and the good feeling that comes from helping people in need in your community.

It’s easy to fit serving as a Red Cross volunteer into a busy schedule. Alex Quan, a member of the Clements High School Red Cross Club in Sugar Land, Texas, talks about how “fun and exciting” it is to be a Red Cross volunteer, and that “volunteering became a sort of daily routine added to my schedule.”

Interest in Red Cross School Clubs is Snowballing

In fact, being a part of the Greater Houston Area Chapter’s school club program is very popular among the area’s young volunteers. “We’re drowning in applications,” said chapter program manager Kimberly Patel; 556 teens attended the youth kick-off last October.

It is no surprise that membership is growing and that schools have started coming to the Red Cross asking to start a club. School clubs offer unlimited opportunities for service, networking and personal growth. For example, at the Houston chapter the more than two dozen school clubs in its program are led by a seven-member Youth Services Council that conducts club orientations, plans activities and develops central communications.

One member of the elite Youth Services Council, Francesca Sebastian, has been volunteering through the Cinco Ranch High School Red Cross Club for three years. Sebastian originally came to the Red Cross with her older sister who was a volunteer, but then, she says, she “saw how much the Red Cross helped our community and I myself wanted to be part of the Red Cross.”

Houston-area School Club Activities

This spring school club members in Houston will receive Leadership in Action training, start planning a summer Leadership Development Conference, learn hands-on about fundraising and provide information to their families and their schools about emergency preparedness.

The fall semester was also chock full of activities—organizing blood drives, working in a Veterans Administration hospital, teaching elementary school children how to effectively wash their hands and making holiday cards for veterans, members of the military and their families.

Quan’s most memorable experience has been the time spent playing with children at a women’s shelter. “When I see their smiles as we play with them, like tag on the playground, it always makes my day,” he said.

Why sign up to become a member of a Red Cross School Club in 2012? “Because we offer a bunch of great service opportunities,” Sebastian said.

Red Cross Youth Opportunities

“Students like to be Red Cross volunteers because the Red Cross is an internationally known organization,” Patel said. “They can get their service hours and pad their college applications and get leadership opportunities, all at the same time.” “Once they get going, a lot is turned over to students,” she concluded.

Nearly a third of all American Red Cross volunteers are under the age of 25. Many chapters offer formal and informal activities for youth, including school clubs, camps and training in skills such as swimming, lifeguarding, CPR, babysitting and wilderness and remote first aid.

Contact your local Red Cross to learn about opportunities for young philanthropists in your community.