Monday, March 6, 2017

My Red Cross Volunteer Story: Sara El Saied

Inspiring Youth Volunteerism

By Clarice Nassif Ransom, Volunteer

Volunteer: Sara El Saied
Resides: Springfield, Virginia
Profession: Business Development Coordinator, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses
Length of Volunteer Service: 2 years, and continuing

What inspired you to volunteer for the American Red Cross?
I think what inspired me to volunteer for the American Red Cross is its mission. I have always been a witness to seeing how different people are impacted from suffering, whether it is from disasters to homelessness. I asked myself, “What is it that I can do to make a change or a difference.” A friend of mine was volunteering for the American Red Cross and inspired me to get involved. So, I applied to be a community volunteer leader. At the time, the American Red Cross at the National Capital Region was looking to recruit and fill a position for a youth program officer volunteer to support youth volunteers in Fairfax County, so this became my focus.

What do you do as a volunteer? Where?
I started volunteering by supporting the youth program in Fairfax County, connecting with local high schools and helping the schools to start an American Red Cross club, where there are continuous opportunities for youth to participate in community service events such as fire safety canvassing to hosting a blood drive to making disaster care kits. After a year and half or so supporting youth program in Fairfax, I was recruited to be the American Red Cross regional youth lead for the National Capital Region under the direction of Jessica Adams. Most high schools have different clubs and students are required to do community service for graduation. My goal is to identify and work with the students in schools to volunteer for the American Red Cross so they can continue to support their community throughout their lives. By becoming a youth volunteer for the American Red Cross, a student as a club member or officer has the resources to make a positive impact in saving lives in their community.

Why is it important to volunteer?
Last year, at the annual meeting for American Red Cross in the National Capital Region, Joe Madison said, “The difference between a moment and movement is sacrifice.” His words truly embodied why it is important to give back to your community. By volunteering, you have an opportunity to make a change in someone’s life.  And with the American Red Cross, there are plenty of opportunities to be a helping hand.

What are some memorable experience you have about volunteering for ARC? How have you made a difference?
Going on my first fire safety canvassing with high school students was memorable. I watched the students conquer their own fears, knocking on somebody’s door, providing fire safety information, and helping to get fire alarms installed.  It was amazing to see the students have a camaraderie with people of different ages and backgrounds that they might not regularly encounter. I was also invited to represent the American Red Cross at a National Youth Forum conference as part of a round table. I met two inspirational young students—one from Maryland and one from San Francisco making differences in their communities. One was working with a local homeless shelter and the other student, 11 years old, authored a book about what it is like to be a child whose father is incarcerated. It was a therapeutic way to help the child deal with depression after her father went to jail. The story of these kids making a difference not only inspired me but it empowered me by seeing how they were taking something negative and helping others.

What are you most proud of regarding your volunteer work for ARC?
I think what I am most proud of is how I have evolved not by the things I have done, but by being empowered constantly by the stories of many volunteers who selflessly serve others and seeing first-hand how they are making a difference in every person they touch. It has changed and recharged my duty to give as a millennial. There are so many people out there who want to help. I feel that I have found a second home through the American Red Cross and it has been empowering.

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