Written by: Tonia Callender, volunteerVarsha Kakaraparti, winner of the President’s Volunteer Service Award, says that volunteering with her local Red Cross team has become “second nature”. For the last 5 years, she has coordinated the Red Cross blood drives for Loudoun County, Virginia. Her recent award recognized her exemplary effort, impact and initiative.
When Varsha was in seventh grade, her uncle was hospitalized with Leukemia. Varsha, her elder sister and mother spent a lot of time with him in the hospital. There, Varsha and her family saw first hand, the importance of blood donations. Wanting to give back to the community, Varsha’s mother took her daughters to volunteer at the local Red Cross office. Varsha recalls this first visit to the Red Cross in Loudoun. “When we walked in, the people were really nice and welcoming.” They needed assistance with blood drives. So, Varsha and her sister began managing blood drive scheduling and marketing for their area. Now that Varsha’s sister is away at college, the High School Junior handles everything on her own. Varsha currently manages communication with local libraries, organizes blood drives, and produces marketing materials.
Although she has volunteered with other organizations, Varsha realized early on that she most enjoyed working with the Red Cross. Managing the blood drives has sparked an interest in the medical field and also in marketing and graphic design. Despite being a busy High School Student, Varsha continues to make volunteering a priority: “One of the things I like most about working with the Red Cross is the staff. They are kind and approachable and very easy to work with.” Varsha’s dedication and initiative have helped her local Red Cross to provide life-saving blood to those who need it. For Varsha, “Volunteering for the Red Cross and working with blood drives is very rewarding, because I know that I am helping someone and indirectly saving lives.”
Learn about how you can make a difference. Visit RedCross.org/Volunteer