American Red Cross Youth Programs Help Build a New Generation of Blood Donors

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,” said Whitman. “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.”

The next American Red Cross blood drive will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at Bryan High School in the gymnasium, located at 150 S. Portland in Bryan.

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Indiana and Ohio), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Individuals should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate.

INFORMATION PROVIDED

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