How UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Club is Impacting their Community

By: Alesha Huffman and Ali Sommerfeldt, UW-Oshkosh Red Cross Members

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Taking a quick break for a picture at the Project Play 60 event at Lambeau Field.

Through the past year, the UW-Oshkosh American Red Cross Club has continued to be actively involved in the community and fulfill the mission of the American Red Cross. To start the semester off, a few of our UWO Red Cross Club members participated in the Polar Plunge to help raise money for the Special Olympics. In March, we carpooled to Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Volunteered at Project Play 60, the NFL movement for an active and healthy generation. Some of us passed out healthy snacks while others helped with face painting. No matter what we did, it was great to see all the children staying active and having a great time. Later that month, we visited King Veterans Home where we played bingo and interacted with the veterans.

Over the past year and a half, the UW Oshkosh American Red Cross Club has visited King Veterans Home in King, WI three times. On one of our visits, our club had the opportunity to assist with bowling at a bowling alley, which was located in the facility. That was a very memorable experience seeing the veterans destroy all of the volunteers on the scoreboard! Many of the veterans had a competitive spirit and we had an absolute blast alongside such wonderful people who have dedicated themselves to our country.

On our recent trip on Sunday, March 8th, our volunteers had the most powerful experience. We assisted the veterans to their seats and prepared them for an intense game of Bingo. As volunteers, we assisted with distributing prizes, visiting with the veterans, and talking with them. As soon as the veterans entered the room for Bingo, their faces lit up with smiles. A UWO American Red Cross Club member, Courtney Gussert stated: “It was a great time at King Veterans Home as many of the veterans along with the volunteers instantly had a smile on their faces when they entered the bingo room and saw us…” Ali Sommerfeldt had a similar reaction to her experience at King, “There were so many times when I could catch a resident’s eye while we were playing bingo and they would just beam over at me. It is the best feeling knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s day just by spending a few hours with them.” Volunteering at King was an exceptionally rewarding experience. Our club looks forward to volunteering with these amazing men and women veterans in the future.

UWO Red Cross members sold yummy snacks to raise funds for the Measles and Rubella Initiative.

UWO Red Cross members sold yummy snacks to raise funds for the Measles and Rubella Initiative.

Since March is Red Cross Month, we hosted a Measles and Rubella Initiative in our campus library. We sold homemade snacks that came with a ribbon pin for $1.00 and we raised just under $100. In April, we hosted and participated in, “Give What Fire Takes” and placed donation boxes throughout campus dorms. We collected new blankets, books, and toys for children who have been impacted by a fire. Later that month, a few students volunteered at a local fire station to collect and disassemble old car seats so that children have safe and up to date car seats. In three hours, they recycled a few hundred car seats! In May, a few of our members volunteered at Kidsfest at Menominee Park in Oshkosh to celebrate the opening of the park, which features a zoo. Kaitlyn Schmitt volunteered at March for Babies in Oshkosh where she helped set up and face paint for the little kids at the walk. Our final event of the semester was an American Red Cross Blood Drive set up by our Blood Services Chair, Brenna Schobert. We were able to successfully collect fifteen units of blood.

On May 5th, 2015, a few of our members attended the Student Leadership and Involvement Awards. We were nominated for Volunteer Organization of the Year and Volunteer Event of the Year. We also nominated Crystal Wrensch for Outstanding Emerging Leader and Ali Sommerfeldt, Courtney Gussert, and Brooke Trzebiatowski for Emerging Volunteer of the Year.

Kaitlyn Schmitt, the outgoing Service to Armed Forces Chair who has now stepped up to fulfill the role as president of our club, nominated King Veterans Home for Volunteer Event of the Year for the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh Student Leadership and Involvement Awards. We are pleased to announce that our nomination won! The campus was very impressed with our dedication to serving our American heroes at King and our memorable experiences doing so.

Crystal

Outstanding Emerging Leader Award winner Crystal Wrensch (L) and Brenna Schobert (R) spread the word about the American Red Cross.

The UW-Oshkosh American Red Cross Club was happy to announce that its very own member, Crystal Wrensch, was the winner of the of the Outstanding Emerging Leader award at the Student Leadership and Involvement awards this year! Crystal is not only part the American Red Cross Club, but is also an active member of the Oshkosh Student Nursing Association and is a Student Alumni Ambassador. She is able to balance being a part of many clubs while carrying 17 credits and keeping a 3.0 GPA. She recently traveled to Costa Rica to volunteer at an orphanage, which has helped her develop into the outstanding leader that she has become. As part of her role as the Fundraising Chair on the executive board of the American Red Cross Club, Crystal was responsible for the entire organization of two large-scale events and executed them perfectly.

The first event Crystal organized was the Service to the Armed Forces Awareness Concert which took place this past November on the day after Veteran’s Day. Crystal formulated the idea, organized the location and decorations, as well as secured promotions and prizes, and of course hired our performer for the event, Rob Anthony. She called upon fellow club members to assist her with promoting the event and encouraged the collaboration of marketing ideas. Amazingly, Crystal was able to put together a spectacular event in only a month and she executed the task flawlessly.

Another event Crystal was in charge of this past March was a week-long fundraising initiative to raise money for Measles and Rubella vaccinations for children in developing countries through the American Red Cross. Crystal took charge of informing the volunteers about the initiative and got them excited about it as well as other students around campus. Under Crystal’s leadership, our club was able to raise enough money to provide vaccinations for almost 100 children! Her leadership skills brought on a global impact while staying right on the UW Oshkosh campus.

Crystal is a responsible, passionate, and goal-oriented individual who strives her best in all aspects of her life. She takes pride in her work and the UWO American Red Cross Club is proud to have her as an executive member. Her “just go for it” attitude has helped her excel in every aspect of her life and other club members look up to her as a leader. We are thankful for her leadership and dedication and we are eager to see what the future holds for her.

We are very proud of all of our club members and the amazing things that we have accomplished this semester. With a strong executive board next year and a list of ideas to make a positive impact on the lives of others, we are looking forward to what incredible achievements we can accomplish next year!

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Congrats to UWO Club Red members on their winning nomination for King Veterans Home for Volunteer Event of the Year for the University of Wisconsin!

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