By Noreen Walton, American Red Cross volunteer
March 2022 Volunteer of the Month, Nikita Gupta began volunteering for the American Red Cross during her freshman year in high school. “It was Club Day at school, and a friend of mine told me his sister was a member of our school’s Red Cross Club, and that we should stop by their booth.” Nikita signed up that day, not sure what she would experience as a Red Cross volunteer, but ready to find out.
Nikita’s first Red Cross volunteer experience turned out to be life changing. “It was in December. A group of us went caroling at the Veterans Hospital in La Jolla,” said Nikita. “We weren’t great singers, but when we began singing, the veterans’ faces lit up. Their happiness was something that really impacted me.” The carolers spent several hours that day at the Veterans Hospital and later performed at the Chula Vista Veterans Home. Every room they visited, the response was the same. Happiness and gratitude.
Nikita credits the Red Cross with teaching her skills that have helped tremendously as she completes her junior year in high school and begins the college application process. “I’m learning the importance of preparation and organization. I’m learning to get assigned tasks done ASAP. I’m also learning leadership skills,” said Nikita.
Shy by nature, over the last three years, Nikita has learned how to communicate more openly with her Red Cross colleagues. “I’m comfortable starting conversations now because I know the other volunteers want me to be successful and want to hear my ideas.” Nikita’s new-found confidence has led her to multiple leadership positions with Red Cross including the High School Red Cross Club, Blood Donor Ambassadors, Youth Council Leadership Development Committee and Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program. She also assists Service to Armed Forces with their volunteer recognition and appreciation programs.
Nikita strongly recommends volunteering with the Red Cross. “The Red Cross community provides you with opportunities to grow your leadership skills and meet new people from many different walks of life who all share a common goal – helping others.”
To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.