Written by: Mallory Rabon, volunteer
Sometimes, the desire to volunteer and give back to your community can be daunting because it is difficult to know where to begin. As a high school senior in Raleigh, North Carolina, I knew that I wanted to become involved in something bigger than myself; that extended beyond my high school bubble. As a member of various school service organizations, I wanted to contribute to an organization with a wider reach.
That’s when I thought of the American Red Cross. Years before, I had participated in the Red Cross Babysitting and Child Care Training Course, and advertised myself as a “certified” babysitter. That certification made me feel much more confident during my weekly child care jobs and I gained valuable knowledge and practice working with young children. Knowing that the American Red Cross offered a variety of programs in my community, I started to research other programs and got CPR certified. The more interested I became, the more I saw the Red Cross presence in my immediate community. The Red Cross made it so easy to become involved--they were actually coming to my school’s backdoor -- this time through blood services.
Honestly, I was nervous about giving blood (as I think most people are during their first time). Having a needle stuck into my arm was not my idea of “fun,” but the impact of those few moments of discomfort was worth it. Did you know that you could save up to 3 lives by giving blood? I did not. And that forever changed the previously scary imagery of donating into an amazing and relatively convenient experience that makes an instant impact. Understanding the need for blood was not the only reason why my experience was so positive; the Red Cross staff was extremely accommodating and kind. I was feeling quite faint, and the staff was so attentive and put my nerves to rest. I got some snacks and fluids to revive me, and I felt very safe and well cared for. Despite feeling a bit sheepish about my weak stomach, my overall experience was one that I can look back on with fondness, and will be donating again soon.