During the summer, I received the opportunity to be a part of the READYteens Summer Program hosted by the Red Cross. The duration of this program was one month, and participants met twice a week for two hours. I personally learned many things about the Red Cross as well as received certifications through this program.
One volunteer opportunity the Red Cross hosts for students and youth is installing fire alarms in houses. Usually, youth volunteers would visit houses in order to install fire alarms and inform families about home fire safety. However, due to COVID precautions, this volunteer opportunity has been on hold. In the READYteens summer program, however, volunteers were able to inform friends online instead of going to houses in person. Each student was told to bring one friend or family member to inform. This was a wonderful opportunity to help friends that may not have fire alarms get them installed by the Red Cross in the future.
Another opportunity that this program brought was learning about the Incident Command System, ICS. The Incident Command System is implemented when disasters occur. There are multiple sections of the ICS such as the coordinators, emergency responders, and communicators. During this informational session, I was given the chance to receive certification through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and learn the specifics about the ICS. In addition to this, participants learned about active shooter preparedness. During this meeting, a student that has first hand experience with the Florida active shooter incident informed us on what happened and how to respond if this occurs. Learning about active shooter responding is extremely beneficial to students, especially because there have been instances of school shooters in the past and it is important to be prepared.Moreover, members were able to get Stop the Bleed certification, which is useful for when emergencies occur and someone you know gets hurt.
Volunteering with the Red Cross and participating in these summer events have helped me immensely. Being prepared for different emergencies is important because you never know what may occur. The Red Cross hosts numerous opportunities to help become informed and get certification such as CPR and first aid. All students and youth can volunteer with the Red Cross. Being a part of this program was very meaningful for me, and I hope students can join me through their own Red Cross journeys.
Rachel Lee, Grade 12
The Science Academy