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Red Cross programs for youth


Young people have the power, and it’s a power of giving that comes from within.

When young people from elementary school to college become involved with American Red Cross blood drives, they learn the importance and need to help save lives through blood donation. For many, it’s an experience that can shape adult behavior.  

“We want our youth to know they can make a huge difference in their community and the world,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO with the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the Red Cross. “When they ask their friends and family to donate blood, when they volunteer at a blood drive and donate blood themselves, they can start the powerful habit of a lifetime.”

Whitman said it is crucial to educate young people about the importance of community service through blood donations. Currently, baby boomers, generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, make up a significant portion of Red Cross blood donors. However, as this population gets older they may be less able to give blood on a regular basis. “We will be depending on a new generation of blood donors to take their place,” Whitman added.

The Red Cross offers opportunities to engage youth. Programs like Pint Size Heroes help build awareness and provide blood donor recruitment opportunities among elementary and middle school-age children. In addition, high school and college-age students have the opportunity to sponsor blood drives at their schools, form and join Red Cross clubs and to donate blood if they are eligible.

“America needs our younger population to step forward and commit to building and maintaining our nation’s blood supply,” Whitman stated. “Engaging them early is a great way to build awareness and get them involved in the act of giving. It’s all about passing the baton to the next generation.”

An American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Maple Grove Church, located at 806 S. Main St. in Topeka. Call (260) 463-5044 to arrange transportation to this blood drive.

Calling all basketball fans!

This February, come to donate blood or platelets at a Red Cross blood drive or donor center and be entered into a Region-wide drawing to win the following:

·        Two VIP tickets to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Midwest Regional games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Friday, March 29, and Sunday, March 31. VIP tickets include early admission to the stadium, food, drink tickets and the chance to meet an NCAA legend.

·        A $250 VISA gift card to be used for other expenses such as meals, gas or parking or even souvenirs.

·        A deluxe corner room at the new J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis for two nights – Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30.