At just 18, Mischa Fritz is already dedicated to saving lives. As one of the Chapter’s youngest first aid and CPR instructors, he has taught more than 70 classes and spent more than 150 hours volunteering for the Bay Area Chapter during the past three years. As a result, he was recently awarded with the President’s Volunteer Service Award – the highest honor given to U.S. citizens who volunteer their time nationwide.
“Mischa has taken all the youth opportunities the Red Cross has offered him and ran with them,” said Alissa May, Director of Volunteer and Youth Services at the Bay Area Chapter. “He has dedicated himself to saving lives.”
Mischa, who is from San Ramon, participated in the Red Cross Leadership Development Camp in 2012, which provides 150 youth the opportunity to engage the next generation of Red Cross leaders by teaching them the mission of the Red Cross and leadership skills to make a positive impact on their community.
After hearing a speech given by Harold Brooks, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Bay Area Chapter, Mischa was inspired to volunteer with the Red Cross. At 16, he volunteered as a Health and Safety First Aid/CPR/AED instructor because he said he wanted to be involved and impact the community while learning how to be a stronger public speaker. While juggling advanced and honors courses in high school, Mischa taught six-hour long classes to people who were 15 to 20 years older than he was. He was quickly promoted.
“Becoming a paid instructor at only 17-years-old and teaching 23 classes in less than a year is rare,” Mischa says. “Even at instructor meetings, the other instructors are surprised I am doing this at such a young age.”
Mischa credits his Red Cross experience to improving his self-confidence. Allison Collins took a Health and Safety First Aid/CPR/AED course with Mischa and credits the instructor for his warm heart and clear training techniques.
“The experience still stands out as the best class I have taken in my time with the Red Cross,” said Allison, the Latino Community Preparedness Manager for the Bay Area Chapter. Jodi Behrens, Health and Safety Training Specialist for the Northern California Coast nominated Mischa for the President’s Service Award.
“Mischa is an amazing, self-motivated individual who has helped the American Red Cross with his passion for teaching Health and Safety classes. We are thrilled that he received this honor,” said Jodi.
In order to receive the President’s Service Award, a person must have volunteered 150 hours of their time for more than a 12-month period and continuously demonstrated and inspired others. Mischa also received the Red Cross Contra Costa County Health and Safety Award this spring, an annual award given to a volunteer who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to teaching and growing Health and Safety programs.
Mischa plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley in the fall, and continue teaching more Red Cross classes as a college student.