With 13 members in the 2020-2021 school year, Gilman’s Red Cross Club not only accumulated 106 hours of volunteer time for the organization but they also raised funds for an important vaccine program and hosted a successful blood drive.
Vaccinate a Village is the Red Cross program that provides measles and rubella vaccinations for children in low- and middle-income countries. Through their fundraising efforts, the Red Cross Club donated $305 to this important initiative, allowing 305 children to receive their vaccinations. Because of COVID-19 safety protocols in place in the fall of 2020, “we had to come up with new ways to spread the word about Vaccinate a Village,” says Henry Liu ’22, who was vice president of the club at that time and is president for the 2021-2022 school year. The club decided on a GoFundMe. To advertise the fundraiser, members created posts and stories on the @gilman_redcrossclub Instagram account and worked on emails sent to the student body. As a thank you, anyone who contributed received a student-designed Red Cross wristband.
In April 2021, the club hosted a weekend blood drive at Gilman, which, Liu says, “is the most popular event that we run all year.” The event yielded 62 pints of blood — the largest amount ever collected in Gilman’s Red Cross Club history, which dates back to 2017 when Shobhit Prasad ’20 started the club at the School. To encourage registrations, members put up flyers and made announcements leading up to the weekend. On the day of the event, members volunteered to help with setup, cleanup, and general support to the Red Cross staff. Liu says, “It is always great to see students, faculty, and parents of the community come together for our club and give back to a greater cause.”
The club received an appreciative thank you note from Gloria Coliton, senior volunteer engagement specialist at the American Red Cross: “We would like to thank the school, as well as Mr. Frank Fitzgibbon, for their continued support of the Gilman School Red Cross Club. We cannot wait to see what these outstanding students do with the club next year!”
In fact, the club is looking to expand its impact in the future. “We hope to coordinate events with either tri-school clubs or even other Red Cross clubs in the Baltimore area,” says Liu. “Our leadership team has attended many Red Cross regional leadership conferences and has seen the great work others have done and hope to implement all our great ideas this coming year.”