By Paru Nair/American Red Cross
I joined the American Red Cross in December 2020. Initially, I was interested in the medical field and wondered if volunteering with the Red Cross would give me related exposure, but I stayed on with the organization for a different reason — I found a strong connection to serving my community through volunteering, something that I largely developed through my experience with the READYteens program.
The READYteens Program educates high school and college aged students in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Youth volunteers get extensive, hands-on experience in the disaster field through three main training programs including the Summer Program, Bootcamp, and Club Academy.These curriculums let youth volunteers lead presentations and enhance community preparedness.
READYteens was my first introduction to the Red Cross, allowing me to build my first connections with other volunteers in the organization. I gained an even greater appreciation for the program when I promoted to Section Lead, where I got a chance to engage with our participants as an instructor. When I was then given the opportunity to return to the program as the READYteens Program Coordinator I was ecstatic.
I am currently in my second year as program coordinator where my duties include managing program outreach, collaborating with our youth volunteer leadership team from four program sites, and overseeing the revision of our program’s curriculum.