By Evan Peper, American Red Cross Northwest Region Volunteer
There are more than 700 Red Cross Clubs spread across the United States. Within them, thousands of passionate students from various universities, high schools and middle schools work to make a difference in their communities.
One of the newest chapters here in the Northwest Region was created in 2021 at Mercer Island High School by Devin Jones and Hannah Hobson. “We sought a way to have the high school make a broader impact on our national and international communities,” said Devin.
“We live on an island,” added Hannah, “and our sense of community is really strong. Diving into that community and being able to do service projects around the island was a big factor in starting this club.”
When asked why they chose the Red Cross specifically, Devin replied, “At my middle school we had some Red Cross sponsored events. We would do volunteer service, write cards, and that was in the back of my mind when I was seeking an opportunity with Hannah to broaden our volunteer scope.”
A deep caring for their community is what drives these two, as well as their fellow club members. Their partnership with the Red Cross has already yielded some impressive achievements, including their most recent service project where they wrote and handed out cards to cancer patients.
“We found an organization called Send a Smile Today, and through that organization you can write cards that are distributed to cancer patients across the country. It’s for children, adults and everyone in between,” said Hannah.
This wasn’t the first time that they have done such an event. “Our first service project was Holidays for Heroes through the Red Cross. We got our club members together and hosted an event where we played holiday music and wrote cards to send out to veterans across the country,” said Hannah.
Devin and Hannah are not planning to stop there. They have big ambitions to help both their community and people in the world around them.
“Right now we’re planning a brand-new volunteer project to help with the huge humanitarian crisis going on in Ukraine,” said Devin. “We want to help Ukrainians who are affected or have been forced out of their homes.”
While they are still in the planning process for this project, it’s clear that the Mercer Island Red Cross Club will endeavor to help those who need it, even in the international community.
And this process won’t end when Devin and Hannah, both seniors, graduate and pursue their post-high school plans. They have made sure that the roots of their club are strong, with 20 total members.
“We want the Red Cross club to have a legacy and carry on into future years,” says Hannah. “We actually have a junior officer involved, so that next year and in future years there will be a strong foundation for the leadership of the club.”
“We’ve talked with middle schoolers who are joining the club too,” adds Devin, “so membership numbers will remain steady.”
The Red Cross touches so many places in the world, large and small. Devin Jones and Hannah Hobson have now laid the groundwork to keep a Red Cross presence at Mercer Island High School going forward.
Want to learn more about Red Cross Clubs? Click here for more information about how you can start a Red Cross Club too!