Aiding and forming a community

As the bell rings to signal the start of lunch, students pour into room B103, some moving to sit on chairs while others stand in the cramped classroom. Idle chatter bounces off the walls and slows to a murmur as students wearing bright red shirts gather in the front. The projector flickers on and the first meeting of the Red Cross has begun. Among the many students attending the meeting is freshman Aranya Shukla, sitting beside her friends.

“I didn’t really have a specific reason other than, in middle school there was a Red Cross club [and]I didn’t get to join it,”Shukla said. “I think there was this one part where we could do something like helping the army or sending thank you notes, I’ve never done something like that before so it sounds really interesting.”

The Red Cross club is part of the international Red Cross organization that helps communities dealing with disaster situations, as well as preparing for disasters. The Red Cross volunteer activities vary from blood drives to aiding armed forces.One of the ways a member could do volunteer work is teaching kids CPR or running blood drives. Co-president Kriti Lalwani first joined the Red Cross in middle school after having been to a CPR course.

Co-president of Red Cross club Kriti Lalwani standing in the Olive court. She is wearing the official T-shirt for the Red Cross club. Photo by Sarah Young.

Co-president of Red Cross club Kriti Lalwani standing in the Olive court. Lalwani is wearing the official T-shirt for the Red Cross club. Photo by Sarah Young.

“I went to check it out and one of my friends was actually club president,” Lalwani said. “So I stayed on and I joined a committee, the Safe Kids committee which basically teaches disaster safety and first aid to elementary aged children and I enjoyed that and I thought it was something worthwhile. So I continued on, and then I joined Red Cross again in high school.”

Lalwani advises that new members go to some committee meetings and see what interests them most because that’s how they become more involved. The way for them to become truly involved with the Red Cross is joining as a youth member who works with a chapter. Then after that they can become a committee coordinator or be on a youth executive board, which both Lalwani and her co-president are on.

There are chapters for the Red Cross where people can volunteer and venture into different fields of work to help out their community. One of the main reasons why Halder joined the Red Cross in eighth grade was due to a desire for a sense of community.

“[I] was really struck by how everyone was really tightly knit, they were really compassionate and committed to the club,” Halder said. “So I really wanted to be part of that and that’s what made me join and continue in high school.”

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Halder advises that new members dive right into activities and go beyond the six hour requirement. Putting in more effort will amount to a greater pay off. Not only that but they will become immersed within their community and learn so much more.

“I hope to gain a lot of experience because I volunteered in some places but it’s not like the super prominent part of my life,” Shukla said. “So I just hope I’m more aware of what’s going on in our community.”

The club is only a small part of a large organization but it provides much more to the members if they are willing to put in the time and effort. The Red Cross allows for members to branch out into what interests them and the Red Cross can support them in pursuing their interests. It also provides a sense of community towards its members and the people they help out.

“Whether it’s [writing], we have internships [with that], like to write about Red Cross we give options for that, or [even]if you want to go into biomedical we have blood drives and those opportunities as well,” Halder said. “Anything you want to do, Red Cross can really help you with that.”

In light of recent occurrences with hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma, the Red Cross is holding a donation drive during school. They will be placing donation boxes in all of the literature teachers classrooms and they’ll be there from September 18 to September 22.


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