One of the best things about the holiday season is the feeling that you have given of yourself. People across the country have done so by participating in Holiday Mail for Heroes, which ends December 7.
Many young volunteers, many of them members of Red Cross Clubs, have given back by making holiday cards for the military community. The cards will be delivered to military bases and hospitals, veterans hospitals and other locations during the holidays as part of the American Red Cross Holiday Cards for Heroes program.
Card Making in Salt Lake City
Together, students throughout Utah made more than 800 holiday cards. High school student Iris Valdivia, co-president of Salt Lake Youth Services, made several. In fact, Valdivia participated in two card-making parties—one at her high school and the other at the Salt Lake City Red Cross chapter.
When the rather small Red Cross Club at Valdivia’s Hunter High School announced that they were going to be making cards for the military community, many additional people showed up to help. “I was so grateful to see so many people in the spirit of giving to others who might not get the appreciation they deserve on a daily basis,” Valdivia said. She says making the holiday cards at the Salt Lake chapter brought the Salt Lake Youth Services club “even closer than it already was.”
This is the second year Valdivia has served as a Red Cross volunteer. She joined when a friend told her of some of the things youth services was doing. She stayed because she enjoys helping others. The Red Cross “helps so many people all throughout the country,” she said, “and even though I am just one person, I know I can make a difference with the help of the organization.”
Card Making in Houston
Students also made holiday cards in Houston, including members of the Chinese Youth Society Red Cross Club. Club president Carol Huang had members bring markers, construction paper, food and music; then they sat down and made cards. Huang talks about how “fun and different” it was to “be creative and color,” something that took her back to her childhood. She also enjoyed seeing this creative side of fellow club members.
Huang says she has gone to the Chinese Community Center for more than 12 years, and the Red Cross club has always been a part of it. Her older sister was a Red Cross volunteer, and Huang went with her when the club hung lights and celebrated Christmas with people at a House of Hope.
“Just being able to see the impact that we made on those people through our hard work gave me a sense of accomplishment and purpose,” Huang says of the experience. That motivated her to join—as a sixth grader five years ago. Today, as club president, her goal is to help high schoolers “become more involved with the community and in the process make new friends and help those around them.”
Become a Red Cross Youth Volunteer
Join us! You will have scores of opportunities to serve your community, connect with the largest humanitarian network in the world and build life-long friendships. Contact your local Red Cross to learn about volunteer opportunities in your community.