“When most people hear the words Red Cross, they only think about donating blood,” said Shana Beal, the Volunteer Services Manager of the American Red Cross for Southwest Virginia “But, there are plenty things college students can be doing to help the organization serve the community.”
The mission of the American Red Cross is a simple one. It prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by using the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
During a recent visit to the Appalachian Center for Civic Life, Beal explained how E&H students can get involved in organizing a Red Cross Club, a new initiative being introduced to campuses throughout Southwest Virginia. Since the February meeting, Beal has met twice with as many as 10 students on campus to help organize a Red Cross Club on campus. After electing officers, the group started planning two community service projects to complete before the conclusion of the semester, one of which is gathering non-perishable items to make care packages for soldiers who are serving overseas. The club members also plan to host disaster training courses offered by Red Cross for the campus community.
According to Mary Beth Tignor, coordinator of campus programs, “A Red Cross Club will provide students with knowledge and life-saving skills to help meet some of the community’s greatest needs while also helping students to develop leadership skills. Since the Red Cross is a non-profit organization, they rely heavily on volunteer support. A Red Cross Club at E&H could provide many additional opportunities for students to serve the community.”
A Red Cross Club will offer students opportunities for training and leadership development. They will have the ability to choose mission-related activities that address community needs. They can deliver life-saving services of the Red Cross, as well as implement projects that will help save hundreds of lives from blood drives to disaster preparedness education.
“The students at Emory & Henry have shown great interest in developing a Club,” said Beal. “They are very ambitious and committed to the mission of Red Cross and the exciting service opportunities it offers. It’s a pleasure to see students who are so eager to serve.”