When the Junior and Youth Red Cross of the Nepal Red Cross Society sought guidance to combat cyber bullying, they turned to American Red Cross youth volunteer Sabrina Spatny and her colleagues on the Youth Executive Board of Los Angeles’ Northern Valleys Chapter. Sabrina’s crowning moment as a youth executive board member was organizing a workshop with her Nepalese counterparts, presenting how the L.A. team would host a community training, knowledge the Nepalese youth were able to apply at home improving their own communities.
The Red Cross Los Angeles Region enjoys one of the most robust youth volunteer communities, which includes advanced leadership opportunities through their Youth Executive Board, the highest local volunteer leadership opportunity for Red Cross youth.
As board president, Sabrina lead and organized local and regional activities for the Region’s youth — community projects and programs she helped plan and implement, gaining leadership tools and experience along the way. By working with vulnerable communities and fellow youth volunteers, Sabrina also established a sense of personal achievement.
“Being a part of the Red Cross Youth Program made me who I am today”, Sabrina shared, “The Youth Program introduced me to so many people that helped change me for the better. The program made it possible for me to host an international event, communicate professionally with confidence, helped me overcome social anxieties and exposed me to so many opportunities I never realized existed.”
Sabrina first tried to join the Red Cross youth program in 8th grade but soon learned volunteer opportunities were limited until she was of high school age. She re-joined the summer between her first and second years of high school, and immediately went to work at blood drives as a Blood Donor Ambassador. Motivated and inspired by the experience, Sabrina soon became a Blood Services Officer and hosted a blood drive her sophomore year. In her junior year she ran for her local Youth Board and became the Blood and Health Training Services Officer, an experience she found deeply rewarding — influencing her love of leadership and the desire to continue embracing leadership roles.
While her dad was a Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer some 15 years ago, the larger influence on Sabrina was growing up with a mom whose life depended on blood transfusions. Once Sabrina learned how Red Cross blood drives provided life-saving blood for hospitals and blood shortages, she wanted to be someone who could have an impact on that world. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sabrina still felt she could change minds and reach people globally through online events.
“My overall youth program experience has been an amazing journey. I want to give back as much as possible to up-and-coming student volunteers. The Red Cross is a great humanitarian organization that is very welcoming and accessible for all youth.”