Siena College senior Ashley Yackeren, a biology major, is not only the elected president of the American Red Cross Club on campus, she also serves as the Youth Representative on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross Northeastern New York (ARCNENY) Chapter. She has been a member of Siena’s Red Cross Club since her freshman year in 2009 when the club was created by a fellow Siena student. As a sophomore Yackeren was selected as secretary, and was then promoted to president in her junior year where she remains during her final year at Siena.
Currently there are more than 65 active members involved in Siena’s Red Cross Club. Club members engage in various activities including four blood drives held on campus each academic year, volunteer opportunities and holding special events like the Siena 5K Saints Race for the Red and Red Cross CPR classes available on Siena’s campus. One great volunteer opportunity club members participate in is the volunteer driver program through Red Cross Blood Services. Every other weekend club members collect donated blood from various blood drive locations, such as local colleges and hospitals and bring the donated units to the collection site in Albany.
“I believe the Red Cross Club at Siena has reinforced the Red Cross mission by demonstrating how youth and students can positively influence the community. We also add the famous Siena Franciscan values or DORS Initiative (diversity, optimism, respect, and service), into the club,” said Yackeren. Siena’s Red Cross Club is so successful it is now a designated “hub club” and acts as a model for other Red Cross collegiate clubs throughout the New York, New Jersey, and New England area.
Since attending high school at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, NY, Yackeren has loved to help others in need. As secretary of the Interact Club, she helped organize an overnight fast to raise awareness and money for world hunger. At Siena, Yackeren has continued to serve her community, volunteer, and gain experience by helping countless others, meeting new people, and becoming aware of local issues. “I love to see how the little things we do, like volunteering at a soup kitchen, can have such a positive impact on lives,” said Yackeren “Seeing smiles from those I’ve helped, knowing that I’ve touched their lives, lets me know I’ve made a difference.”
One of Yackeren’s favorite events is the Siena 5K Saints Race for the Red. The fourth annual run will take place on April 21, 2013 at the Crossings of Colonie Park. Many of her friends and family have gotten involved with Red Cross events, especially the 5K race because of her participation. Some of Yackeren’s family runs in the race, while others are there to support her and the cause she is so dedicated to. Last year the race had 409 participants, raised approximately $7,500, and all proceeds were donated to the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Chapter. “I love this event because I get to view all of the club’s hard work paying off, as well as seeing many of the ARCNENY Chapter employees and volunteers who come out to support us,” said Yackeren.
This year Yackeren has been selected to serve on the Board of Directors as a Youth Representative for ARCNENY. “I was honored just to be nominated. It is wonderful to be on the board, I have learned so much about Red Cross fundraising and what the organization does in the community,” said Yackeren. At the monthly Board Meetings she sees volunteers highlighted for their work, hears guest speakers and receives an update on what the Red Cross has been involved with from fellow board members. It is Yackeren’s duty as the Youth Representative to update the board on the Siena College Red Cross Club and its activities. As a board member she is also responsible for serving on a committee, this year she chose to work with the Planning Committee for the ARCNENY Fire & Ice Gala on March 23, 2013.
“Ashley is the second generation of youth leadership at ARCNENY and has stepped into this role wonderfully, blossoming in her leadership capabilities and tremendously benefitting the Red Cross,” said Skip Zimmerman, Director of Volunteer & Community Services for the American Red Cross Northeastern New York. “She has brought recognition to the Siena Red Cross Club, advancing the idea of young adults at the Red Cross with her engagement.”