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Red Cross Sees Increase in Youth Volunteers During United We Serve Program
Date:9/9/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United We Serve program helped involve more people in volunteering at the American Red Cross, with a notable increase in young volunteers, in particular, since the launch of the initiative in late June.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090108/RedCrossLOGO)

The United We Serve initiative to promote greater public service culminates on Friday, September 11, with a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

"I truly appreciate the opportunities the national service initiative provided," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "United We Serve has allowed us to draw attention to the Red Cross mission and to attract new volunteers, particularly young people."

Young volunteers to the Red Cross gave a number of reasons for wanting to serve. Many volunteered to have something positive to do during the summer, or because they needed service learning hours. Some, however, signed up for the sheer joy of helping others, such as one student who said, "I love volunteering and I recently decided to do more volunteer work rather than play a varsity sport my senior year."

The Red Cross posted more than 3,000 volunteer opportunities on the United We Serve Web site over the summer. Lots of people new to the Red Cross indicated an interest, and these prospective volunteers wanted to serve their communities for the long-term. Specifically, 90 percent of people responding to the position postings had never volunteered for the Red Cross before, and 70 percent sought on-going assignments of a month or more.

Coast-to-coast, Red Cross chapters and other units have welcomed new volunteers during United We Serve. The American Red Cross Bay Area in San Francisco trained 30 new volunteers, all supervisors and managers in their professions, to orient and train new volunteers at volunteer intake centers in the event of an emergency. For the first time ever, the Southern California Blood Region has more blood drive volunteers than available positions. At the Heartland Chapter in Omaha, a group of 12 new youth volunteers made 70 blood donor appointments during three hours of calling.

The percentage of prospective volunteers ages 16 to 18 contacting the Red Cross for service opportunities increased significantly during the initiative. In the spring, people ages 16-18 made up 9 percent of all prospective volunteers, but the percentage nearly doubled to 17 percent during the summer.

Interest in volunteering among young adults, ages 19 to 25, also rose after United We Serve was initiated. Prior to United We Serve, young adults represented 23 percent of people interested in volunteering with the Red Cross. With United We Serve activated, 28 percent of prospective Red Cross volunteers were young adults.

Youth data are based on a Red Cross Survey that compares volunteering at the Red Cross during three months before United We Serve was launched (March 22-June 22) to volunteering from the June 22 launch of United We Serve to August 3. Data concerning characteristics of prospective volunteers are based on an American Red Cross survey of people responding to online position postings from January 1 to August 28, 2009.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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