By Dana Simmons, American Red Cross intern
Courageous, passionate and inspiring are just some of the characteristics that can be used to describe our Red Cross youth volunteers. The American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties has over 900 youth volunteers and 30 high school and college clubs. Youth volunteers have the opportunity to take part in the Red Cross Youth Council and the Leadership Development Camp (LDC), which teach leadership and communication skills.
Meghan Nguyen, one of our amazing youth volunteers and the Youth Council Leadership Development Camp Lead says that being a youth volunteer “is similar to being a building block in a tower; you are surrounded by blocks similar to you, San Diego high school students interested in carrying out the Red Cross mission, and together you make the tower bigger, taller and stronger.”
Over a dozen individuals who make up the Youth Council and the Leadership Development Camp Leaders recently had the opportunity to continue building the block tower through their participation in the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program. This eight-week virtual program focused on improving public speaking and leadership skills.
Gina Marino, Senior Volunteer Engagement Specialist at the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, says that learning these skills is important because of the community-facing nature of volunteer work. “Whether our volunteers are helping in shelters, checking donors into a blood drive or installing smoke alarms in someone’s home, the Red Cross will always have interaction with the community.” Over the course of eight weeks, Gina witnessed transformation in youth volunteers as they “became better listeners, learned to give constructive feedback and felt confident in their speaking skills.”
Meghan was able to put her new communications skills into action during an interview with KUSI News that highlighted the Red Cross Youth Program. “The Red Cross has been an opportunity for me to lead, to help out in something bigger than myself and to network and meet friends all over the country,” she said.
Meghan and her peers have put the blocks together to become leaders, communicators and bring community and life to the Red Cross mission. Thank you, youth volunteers, for all you do for the Red Cross.
If you would like more information about becoming a youth volunteer, click here.