American Red Cross and Community Service

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male student smiling to the camera

American Red Cross and Community Service

The American Red Cross is a foundation that works to deliver vital services to people in need, from blood donation to disaster relief to international services, The American Red Cross is a lifesaving organization. The American Red Cross is incredibly important especially right now, and there are volunteers, nurses, and interns who work effortlessly every day to ensure lives are saved.

It’s important especially right now that whoever can help does, and it doesn’t hurt to use this downtime of quarantine wisely. Oftentimes, admission counsellors will ask, “how did you spend your last two summers?” Maybe if you’re behind in involvement, or you want to get ahead volunteering during downtime can answer not only that question but another big admissions counsellor question, “How did you serve or contribute to your community in a meaningful way?” The American Red Cross is an organization always looking for volunteers, during a pandemic or not, and just because the American Red Cross does blood drives, if you can’t donate blood, there are other opportunities.

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If you’d like to learn more about the Red Cross and their other opportunities, their resources, and how you can help, continue reading this article. Also, visit AdmissionSight’s Community Service page to better understand what volunteering for your community can mean.


The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton on May 21, 1881. Clara Barton worked her entire life-saving others. She worked during the Civil War bringing supplies and supporting soldiers in the field, she then started The American Red Cross and ran it for 23 years. Since the beginning, the American Red Cross has been dedicated to serving people in need. It was Clara’s legacy “service to humanity” that still lives on in the American Red Cross today.

The American Red Cross was first congressionally chartered in 1900 and since then, the American Red Cross has been tasked by the federal government with providing services to the United States, the world, members of the American armed forces and their families and more. The American Red Cross was the first organization to develop a nationwide civilian blood program back in the 1940s, and they still provide more than 40% of the blood products in this country.

The Red Cross is funded through time, blood, and money from the public to support the lifesaving services and programs they attend.

Go in-depth about the American Red Cross history here, and about Clara Barton’s life here.

Mission and Values

The American Red Cross Mission Statement:

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​

The American Red Cross Vision Statement:

The American Red Cross, through its strong network of volunteers, donors, and partners, is always there in times of need. Coronavirus may be affecting extracurricular activities, tests, and other events, but volunteering may be a way to turn a negative into a positive, for extracurricular planning, community service, and self-realization.

The American Red Cross aspires to turn compassion into action so that:

  • Anyone affected by disaster across the United States and internationally will receive care, shelter, and hope
  • The American Red Cross communities are ready and prepared for disaster
  • Everyone in the United States has access to safe, lifesaving blood, and blood products
  • Members of the armed services and their families find support whenever needed
  • During an emergency, there are always trained individuals nearby, ready to use their skills from the Red Cross to save lives.

Fundamental Principles of the Global Red Cross Network

  • Humanity
  • Impartiality
  • Neutrality
  • Independence
  • Voluntary Service
  • Unity
  • Universality

Diversity and Inclusion

Mission: The American Red Cross will consistently deliver its products, goods, and services in a culturally competent manner.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Vision: The Diversity & Inclusion vision of the American Red Cross is to be an organization that is completely committed to diversity and inclusion by creating and keeping up a diverse, high-performing workforce of employees and volunteers who reflect all communities. As well as cultivating a collaborative, inclusive, and respectful work environment that empowers all contributors; and with diverse partnerships to ensure culturally competent service.

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American Red Cross Work

The volunteers and staff who work at the American Red Cross cover incredible ground to help those affected by crisis and emergencies.

  1. Disaster Relief
    • The American Red Cross responds to an emergency every eight minutes. The American Red Cross goes anywhere and everywhere whenever they’re needed, to ensure people have a safe shelter, drinkable water and food, health and mental health services
    • The American Red Cross assists with home fire relief, hurricane relief, wildfire relief, flood relief, earthquake relief, winter storm relief, and whatever else is needed
    • The Red Cross continues to work after the immediate response to provide those affected with financial assistance and grants for community-based services
  2. Lifesaving Blood
  3. Training and Certification
    • Many jobs require life-saving skills such as first aid, CPR, AED, swimming, CNA, babysitting and BLS training, and The American Red Cross provides the training and certification needed
    • These training are also important when it comes to special skills and ways to set students apart, it is a good idea to utilize downtime to take online training to later display well-roundedness and preparedness.
    • The Red Cross works with organizations to ensure training is flexible, its important to always be prepared for an emergency
  4. International Services
    • The American Red Cross has American in the name, but the American Red Cross works to save lives all around the world
    • This could also be a chance for international students to volunteer for the American Red Cross and exemplify leadership and community
    • The Global Red Cross Network is an international humanitarian network that works to help those who suffer, no matter what. Read more about the three parts of the Global Red Cross Network here
    • The American Red Cross has 17 million volunteers, and 185 million people have benefitted from American Red Cross international help
    • The American Red Cross has focused on helping international disasters and crises, getting rid of measles, building safer communities, and during specific events like the Nepal Earthquake and more
    • To read more into the American Red Cross’s work around the globe visit here
    • If you have an interest in Humanities and studying it one day, volunteering is also a good look into public policy, which is an avenue of Humanities
  5. Military Families
    • One of the founding principles of the American Red Cross was working with the military since 9/11 the American Red Cross has helped over a million military families
    • The American Red Cross helps those during service as well as after and their families
    • The American Red Cross works with reconnection workshops, military hospital and clinic programs, veteran services, VA hospital programs, mind-body workshops and more

Donating Blood

There are a lot of options when it comes to donating blood. There are various types of blood donations and eligibility requirements, one donation has the potential to save three lives. It’s vital that you give if you can because only 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets. Learn more about blood need facts and why it’s important to give if you can here.

First off, there are common reasons why people cannot donate:

  • Cold, flu and other types of sickness
  • Medication
  • Low Iron
  • Outside of the U.S. travel

Here are the types of blood donations with general eligibility requirements, click on their titles to learn more:

  1. Whole Blood Donation
    • You must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs
  2. Power Red Donation
    • Male donors must be at least 17 years old in most states, at least 5’1″ tall and weigh at least 130 lbs
    • Female donors must be at least 19 years old, at least 5’5″ tall and weigh at least 150 lbs
  3. Platelet Donation
    • You must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs
  4. AB Elite Plasma Donation
    • You must have type AB blood
    • You must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 lbs

If you can’t donate blood, there are other ways to help, financial donations included. It can be really hard if you’re in high school to donate blood due to the age requirements, there are still ways to help that can be considered volunteering or community service. 

Hosting a Blood Drive

Hosting a blood drive allows for there to be a suitable location to collect blood donations, it publicizes a blood drive and utilizes connections and community, it helps if you organize a recruitment committee, this can be face to face and via social media, as well as the host handles follow up during the blood drive to ensure no one misses their appointment, as well as afterward to provide a thank you to participants.

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This is a great chance for all types of organizations to get involved and prove their leadership capabilities. Schools, educational societies, companies, sororities, etc, hosting a blood drive can be accomplished by anyone, it takes commitment.

Giving Campaign

If you can’t donate blood yourself, host a SleevesUp virtual blood drive. It’s easy and fasts you can honour or celebrate someone or a group, you are able to send the invitation to anyone you choose and you can statistically see the impact you and your campaign are making. Learn more or start your own campaign here.

This is a good opportunity for students in high school who may be too young to donate blood to come together to portray leadership and community service and start your own campaign. Not only is it an important deed for society, but it can prove you are a self-starter and you work around problems, like age.


The American Red Cross organization’s work is carried out by 90% of the humanitarians that volunteer and work with the American Red Cross. There are so many types of volunteers, for blood drives, disasters, preparedness and more. You might think, “well I’m not in the medical field so there’s not much I can do.” That isn’t the case when it comes to the Red Cross. There are so many ways to help during a crisis, educate others, support, assisting with fundraising, and more.

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25% of Red Cross volunteers are 24 years old or younger. It’s really important for the younger generation to make an impact, whether in high school trying to get into your undergraduate school or in pursuit of your undergraduate degree, students should be challenged to take on leadership roles and perform community service. Create, plan, and participate in service projects to help your school, your community and make an impact around the globe.

Here are some ways you can volunteer if you are younger:

  • The National Youth Council 
    • 100,000 Red Cross volunteers who advocate for youth involvement and assist leadership in policies that affect the younger generation
  • Internships
    • Hands-on experience while working for a non-profit and receiving school credit
    • Internships in high school can really prove to admissions counsellors that you have a solid roadmap for your experience and academic journey since you’re willing to put in a lot of time to an organization
  • Club Red Networking
    • Assisting in planning social fundraising events and taking part in community service projects, there is also an opportunity for leadership development and mentorships

No matter if you are a nursing major or a communications major, or still in high school with an interest in math, science, humanities, etc, there are ways your passion and interests can apply to volunteer with the American Red Cross. To find out about volunteering, contact Red Cross local.

Nursing Students

Nurses play a big role in assisting the community, from disaster relief assistance, teaching, leadership roles and more, if you want to be a nurse or you are studying to be a nurse, the American Red Cross is a great place to begin.

There is an abundance of opportunities for nursing students through the American Red Cross. From volunteering, courses, scholarships, and more, the American Red Cross is a great resource and opportunity for students. Nursing students can work directly with people through the disaster action team, disaster preparedness, emergency communication for military families and blood drives, health education, immunization and health screening programs. Students can become leaders by joining a Red Cross Club or Young Professionals Group, applying to the National Youth Council and working with the Red Cross Nursing Network. There are also various scholarships nursing students can apply to when involved with the Red Cross, and students can earn their nursing pin. It’s a great way while still in school to gain experience, make connections and learn.

To perform community service is really formative and important, it’s much more important in a time of Covid-19 when more blood donations are needed and more medical assistance as well. Although not everyone is a medical professional, the Red Cross can use every type of volunteer, from marketing to providing food assistance. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to give back while discovering your passion, do you enjoy educating others through the Red Cross, maybe you should become a teacher! This experience can also enhance your personal information and lens section when it comes to applying for school Volunteering and community service is done for the benefit of others, but there are so many ways it can also help you.



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