Following my sophomore year as a marketing major at University of Dayton, I became involved with the Lorain County Chapter of the American Red Cross through the Leadership Lorain County Internship Program. As the Communications Specialist Intern, I was responsible for increasing Red Cross awareness and donations through effective communications, public relations and the use of social media tools.
Previous to my assignment, I knew very little about the American Red Cross, but I was quickly amazed by this incredible organization. The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization and not a federal agency. As such, it receives no regular federal funding. The Red Cross also does a lot more than host blood drives. Each region is well equipped with a Disaster Action Team, Disaster Mental Health Team, and an array of other volunteers. They also offer services to the Armed Forces—from preparing soldiers and their families for deployment to getting those same soldiers emergency contact with their families while overseas.
Based on my experience, I do not think the public is well aware of the extent to which the Red Cross helps our local, as well as national, communities.
While attending a Friday Forum at the Cleveland City Club to hear President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, speak I met a volunteer who truly changed my life. The woman, who dedicates 100% of her time to volunteering, and I discussed her career in the medical field and a trip she took to India to treat patients in a poor village. I commended her on her voluntarism and expressed how I wished my future profession in the business world would allow me to help people the same way hers does. I commented that those in the medical field have the ability to go the extra mile and help people in a more profound way than any other profession. She informed me it is not an extra mile, but a different mile.
During my time at the Lorain County Chapter I helped prepare for the annual 5K Run for the Red, and have witnessed the chapter go through a merger with the Firelands Chapter. I also created several campaigns for different chapter events including Christmas in July which supported the annual Holiday Mail for Heroes and the Pillowcase Project sponsored by Disney. I contributed blogs on chapter events and also created a Social Media and Marketing timeline for the annual 5K. I also canvased for our 5K, made phone calls in hopes of obtaining donations, and spread Red Cross awareness whenever and wherever I could. As a marketing major, I believe I learned so much about my future profession as well as what it is like to work for a non-profit organization. I had the opportunity to become CPR Certified as well as take Disaster Overview and Fundamental courses.
Whether it was hearing a volunteer’s Red Cross Story, or learning something new about my major (or even myself), I was inspired every single day when I stepped over the threshold of that history Lorain County building. I could not agree more with President and CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern, when she says, “the depth and breadth of all the Red Cross does still amaze me, and it’s an incredible privilege to play a part in it.” I plan on continuing my involvement with the American Red Cross as I complete the last two years of school and well into my future.