Youth and The Red Cross

Did you know youth have been a part of the American Red Cross for over 70 years? The Junior Red Cross was founded in 1917 when World War I brought a partnership between the American Red Cross and youth. President Wilson announced the formation of the Junior Red Cross and it’s 8 million members within the 1st year. By 1919, the membership had grown to 11 million. This was just the beginning of youth involvment within the Red Cross.

There are many opportunities for youth to become involved with the Red Cross. Youth can start a Red Cross Club at their school and complete service projects or host fundraisers. Service projects can be focused on any of our 5 Lines of Service including Blood Services, Health and Safety, Disaster Serives, International Services and Armed Forces Emergency Services. A few examples of service projects are hosting a blood drive at your school or in your community, collect comfort kit items for victims of disaster, become trained in our Kid Safety classes, sell pins for a dollar for the Measles Initiative and collect care package items for our men and woman serving over seas. These are just a few ways youth can become inspired to be part of the Red Cross team for life.

Youth can also get trained in Community Education programs such as Community Disaster Education, HIV/AIDS Education, First Aid and CPR. High school students can get trained to become peer educators and share their knowledge with their fellow students. Not only can students give back to their community but also have fun doing it!

For more information on youth opportunities call 312-729-6123.

Posted by Jackie Dempsey, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator

National Youth Involvement Month

This month is National Youth Involvement Month at the Red Cross. During November, we’ll be celebrating all the youth who make an impact on the Red Cross through their great work.

The Red Cross is holding the Disaster Relief Youth Fundraising Challenge to celebrate this special month. The challenge is for youth programs and clubs to raise the most money through fundraising for the Disaster Relief Fund by December 31, 2008. The top three youth programs or clubs that raises the most money will win free registration to the National Youth Institute in Orlando, Florida, in April 2009. Is your program or club up to the challenge? Sign up your fundraiser by November 14 by clicking here.

Also, the “Our World Gives” contest on Facebook has 18 days left! “Our World Gives” is a simple and extremely helpful way that youth with Facebook profiles can help support the Red Cross. A $50,000 gift from the Western Union and the Western Union Foundation will be given to the nonprofit organization with the most votes. If you haven’t voted yet, you should vote for the American Red Cross! Currently, the American Red Cross is in the lead with 15,329 votes. Thanks for the votes!

For more information on youth involvement in the Red Cross, visit

Are you already working on the youth fundraising challenge? What are your plans and how can people in the Chicago area help you with your fundraiser? Share your thoughts by writing a comment on this post.