How teens can volunteer – QNS.com

How teens can volunteer

In last month’s column, we mentioned that teens could become involved with the American Red Cross in Greater New York through our youth services group. Of the many programs conducted by our youth volunteers last year, the annual toy and book drive was one of the most successful in our history.
More than $10,000 was raised, along with many donations of new books and toys. The funding we received was used to purchase many additional books that will help children learn how to prepare for emergencies and how to provide basic first aid. The books and toys were given to city children of families who were affected by emergencies and received assistance from the Red Cross.

Organize a Red Cross club
With a fresh start, January is the time for teens to become involved in planning and running our 2008 programs. Students can join as individuals, but we also can help them organize a Red Cross club at school.
Below are the general steps to start a Red Cross club:

  • Contact us at youthvolunteers@nyredcross.org, or 212-875-2158, for tips and assistance.
  • Secure a sponsor at school. This can be a teacher or a guidance counselor.
  • Meet with the school principal, or the appropriate administrative personnel, and explain the benefits of starting a Red Cross club.
  • Obtain permission from the administration to start a Red Cross club.
  • Contact us to schedule a meeting to discuss the parameters for a high school Red Cross club.
  • Visit our chapter to learn more about what we do and how youth volunteers can become involved. Attendees should include interested students and the faculty advisor.
  • Begin the planning process to start the club.
  • Decide on the general focus of the club that closely follows the Red Cross mission.
  • Develop a leadership structure and job responsibilities for each leadership position.
  • Plan a list of potential activities.
  • Advertise and publicize the club at your high school and be sure to register your club with us.
  • Convene the first meeting of your Red Cross club!

    Keep Toasty
    While you are getting organized, remember that it is cold outside and it will stay that way for a couple of more months. So, dress appropriately before going outdoors. The air temperature does not have to be below freezing to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even when the temperature is not that low.
    Here are some tips:

  • Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Recognize frostbite-warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
  • Dress in breathable (cotton, wool) layers.
  • Avoid overdressing or overexertion.
  • Cover exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat (mom was right!) and cover ears.
  • Wear mittens, which provide more warmth than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof insulated boots.
  • Get out of wet clothes immediately.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol.

    Upcoming Classes
    Another New Year commitment should be to learn CPR and first aid skills. The Red Cross offers a number of different safety and preparedness classes at the Queens office in Briarwood. Below are just a couple of them, and dates/times are subject to change. You can register online at www.nyredcross.org, or call at 718-558-0053.
    Wednesday, January 30, standard first aid, 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Cost $60.
    Tuesday, February 12, first aid for cats and dogs, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost $70.
    Joan Foley is director of the American Red Cross in Greater New York - Queens.
    In Queens, the American Red Cross in Greater New York responds to emergencies such as fires, floods and power outages. It also helps residents prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies by offering first aid, CPR, aquatics and other classes along with free emergency preparedness training programs and resources. The Red Cross is located at 138-02 Queens Boulevard in Briarwood. More information can be obtained by calling 718-558-0053, or visiting www.nyredcross.org.

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