Sunday, August 11, 2013

Celebrating the Power of Youth Volunteers on International Youth Day

by Catherine Carlton, volunteer contributor
American Red Cross summer intern & youth volunteer Natalie Becerra, age 17

Youth are crucial to the Red Cross mission. 

United Nations International Youth Day is designated to celebrate achievements of the world’s youth and to encourage their participation in enhancing society.

According to “It also aims to promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities.”

The American Red Cross is always promoting its volunteers who all make positive contributions to the organizations. And youth are an important part of the Red Cross’s volunteer network. 

Although they don’t deploy to disaster scenes until age 18, younger volunteers keep awareness of the Red Cross alive on school campuses across the North Texas Region through Red Cross Clubs, said Susie Spartano, regional director of volunteer services.  They raise money, give blood and give their energy and passion. 

And the American Red Cross North Texas Region has more to celebrate Aug. 12 for International Youth Day as it has seen an increase in youth volunteers recently. 

“We typically do see an increase in youth volunteers in the summer,” she said. “And this summer we have been fortunate to have several interns working across the chapter – both college age and high school.”   

One volunteer that will be recognized is Natalie Becerra, 17, a summer intern through the Dallas Mayor’s Summer Internship Program. Natalie spent her eight weeks developing the region’s annual volunteer report. 

“I don’t think most youth realize the kind of power we have, and the changes that we are capable of,” Becerra said. “We really can make a difference, it’s just the matter of going out there and fixing what we see needs to be fixed. My connection to International Day would be that I love volunteering and I know that it’s definitely something that I will continue to do in the future.”

This report communicates the value volunteers have brought to the North Texas Region in the previous year both in terms of economic value and in the delivery of service.

“Her work has made an lasting impact and will provide value throughout the year,” Spartano said.

Becerra’s impact is one of many contributions the Red Cross will recognize for International Youth Day.  

Want to get involved?
The best way for youth to get involved in the Red Cross is through Red Cross clubs on their high school or college campus.  If one doesn’t already exist, they can start one.  They can visit to find out how.  

“I think more of the younger generation should volunteer because it really is a great feeling knowing that you helped somebody who was going through a rough patch, or just made them smile when they were feeling down,” Becerra said. “Volunteering opens up so many doors while at the same time, makes you feel good knowing that you made a difference.”

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