The Rapidian

Youth volunteers partnering with the American Red Cross for Global Youth Service Day Project

In honor of Global Youth Service Day, the American Red Cross and Army Strong Community Center have coordinated an event to empower youth in expressing their support towards veterans and milirary families, while simultaneously creating meaningful gifts for the service members and their families.
Underwriting support from:

The mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. The Service to Armed Forces program through the Red Cross carries out an important part of the mission. As a result, a Global Youth Service Day project has been coordinated to empower youth in expressing their support towards veterans and military families, while simultaneously creating meaningful gifts for the service members and their families.

The concept for the Global Youth Service Day project originated from six volunteers participating in the Red Cross Youth Program. These young volunteers expressed interest in learning about the programs and services that the Red Cross offers to military family members, and they wanted to find an avenue to show their support.

The Global Youth Service Day project is scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 2:30pm to 6:30pm at the Army Strong Community Center. The Army Strong Community Center is in the Mary E. Walker Reserve Center located at 3870 E. 3 Mile Road NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49534.

The first 2 hours of the event will be spent creating gifts and other memorable items for our military heroes and their families. The following list details the many activities that will be held.

  • Canvas Totes Station – Families will be given a canvas tote to personalize with fabric markers and other art accessories. The decorated totes will be used as Hero Packs, which is a bag filled with mementos and items to help connect children with their deployed parent.
  • Pillowcase Station – Families will have an opportunity to work with a youth volunteer to adorn a pillowcase that will be sent to military members.
  • Deployment Box Station – Each family member will be given one or more shoeboxes to decorate. Family members can store memorable articles in these decorated shoeboxes during a military member’s deployment and share it upon the military member’s return.
  • Letters and Cards Station – Each military family will have a chance to design and compose a supportive letter, which will be sent to a military member.
  • Photo Booth Station – Each military family will have the opportunity to be photographed. They also have the option of displaying a meaningful message in their portraits. The portraits will be available for pickup towards the conclusion of the service event.
  • Preparedness Education Station – Military families with children will have the opportunity to let their children learn about personal hygiene, fire safety, and water safety. Youth volunteers will present this information in a fun and interactive manner.

5:30pm – A light dinner will be served and youth service volunteers will be able to converse with military family members to gain strong insight into the hardships and qualms they have or are currently experiencing. The volunteers will gain a deeper appreciation and sense of accomplishment during the Global Youth Service Day project.

6:30pm – Military families and youth volunteers will assemble back in the drill hall for a group picture. After the military families and youth volunteers have had a change to bid their farewells, youth volunteers will reassemble to participate in a reflection period, where they will discuss their thoughts about the project and suggestions for future improvement.

Betty Weaver, Grand Rapids City High’s volunteer coordinator, will be working with the Red Cross to notify and recruit student volunteers. Grand Valley State University Red Cross Club will also be coordinating its student members to volunteer. Other organizations working to coordinate volunteers for the Global Youth Service Day project include the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore and the Reserve Officer Training Corps. We are currently recruiting approximately 50 volunteers from these different sources. Youth volunteers will play a vital role in the Global Youth Service Day project. They will assist with setting up and running the mini-project stations activities. Other volunteer opportunities include registering military families as they arrive, serving refreshments to the military families, and passing out informative brochures.

 

For more information or to register for this event, please contact Elyse Mathos at [email protected] or Khoa Nguyen at [email protected]

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