Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Konrath, President, UWGB Red Cross Club

(l-r) Michelle Etheridge, musician, Rob Anthony and Melissa Konrath at last years Red Cross Club Awareness Concert on Campus.

As a University of Wisconsin- Green Bay student, Melissa Konrath, 20 years old, is active on-campus and in intramural sports. She is also active in the American Red Cross as president of the UWGB –Red Cross Club.

The UWGB Red Cross Club is an on-campus organization that provides opportunities for students to get involved in the community through things like CPR training, disaster training and volunteering. Its mission also includes raising awareness to the community services and needs of the American Red Cross. They also don’t forget to bring the fun in this social and interactive environment.

As a class officer in her high school in Slinger, WI, Melissa, helped to plan and run blood drives so she was familiar with the Red Cross as an organization. As a student at UWGB, she joined the Red Cross Club on campus its first year. “I thought it would be a good way to get back into volunteering,” says Melissa.

“I have learned that there is more to the Red Cross than blood drives.  I think that is a common misconception throughout the general population,” says Melissa.

Melissa served as Vice President the first year and was recruited as president of the club for the experience she could bring to the role the next year.

Since the club’s inception in the spring 2009 semester they have supported the Red Cross in many ways. Their members have volunteered for a variety of fundraisers including a concert for Haiti. They also made cards for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, making comfort dolls for AIDS orphans in Africa, babysitting to support Military Services, volunteering for the Packers Spooktacular and Project Leap events, participated in service to help at a Downtown Green Bay clean-up day and help at on-campus and community blood drives.  The clubs signature  event is organizing an annual concert with musician, Rob Anthony, to raise Red Cross Awareness on-campus to the students and faculty.

“I am amazed at how much the Red Cross Club on campus has grown and all that we have accomplished since the club was first brought to UWGB.  Because we are growing each year, our accomplishments also have expanded as well as getting the word out there of the mission of the Red Cross,” says Melissa.

When Melissa isn’t busy volunteering with the Red Cross she is spending time with friends and family including her 5 year-old-sister. She is also busy working towards a double major in Psychology and Human Development.

“The Red Cross is something worth making time for because you know you are helping others and can even sometimes see first-hand your impact.”

(l-r) Mellisa and Jody Weyers, Red Cross Club Staff Advisor, at UWGB Fall Org Smorg recruitment event.

Blood drives are like Christmas.

Youth Blogger: Hannah B.

Canteen area at this year's Super Donor Days!

This is the conclusion I’ve reached following a rewarding three hour shift of volunteering for the Red Cross’s “Super Donor Day” blood drive. It’s just as logical as Mike Myers’s infamous simile: “Ogres are like onions.” But for those who don’t see where I’m going with this, please allow me go into deeper detail for you.

First off, the obvious. Blood drives help aid those in need of additional blood by building up the supply of blood available for transfusions. These would be those people receiving gifts on Christmas. Patients receiving transplants, surgeries, cancer patients, premature babies, burn victims, and people with blood disorders are among those whom receive the blood transfusions. This means an immense amount of blood is needed. But what shocked me the most was that out of the 38% of the population eligible to donate, only 8% actually do so. Point blank, this needs to change.

The satisfied feeling a person obtains when they see a friend or family member unwrap a gift that he or she picked out and seeing their face light up can easily be compared to the after-feeling of giving blood. Blood donors and blood drive volunteers compare to those giving the gifts on Christmas. It’s difficult to imagine the holiday season without these people. In fact, it’s impossible. As is a blood drive without these essential citizens. Although there are requirements for height, weight, and age to donate, all volunteers are accepted. Many workers were overjoyed to have the amount of volunteers that showed up for the Super Donor Days. However, one observation disappointed me. There we five teenagers (including myself) volunteering that Thursday, and to my knowledge there was even less the previous day. It’s truly an experience that more than five of us should have. The staff more than insisted we take breaks–they made us take breaks. When we entered the “behind the scenes” area in the back there was an unbelievable amount of food—just for us volunteers! Donuts, juice, fruit, bagels, cookies, were just waiting for us to pile on our plate and pizza was on the way by noon. It’s true, we weren’t exactly worked to the bone. But with that said, helping out wasn’t any less rewarding.

At blood drives there’s an unexpected variety of volunteering offered. The majority of teenagers at the drive were musicians who played for approximately one hour shifts as donors gave blood. There are also donor aids, the most outgoing volunteers, who chat with the donors as they give blood to keep their nerves in check. Volunteers at the canteen do similar tasks; however, they not only chat with donors but distribute food (A perk to donating—they had Culvers custard and pizza!). Finally, many volunteers are needed for miscellaneous tasks such as handing out t-shirts—the station I was placed at after managing to escape the task of dressing up in the red blood drop costume to flag in donors (A perfect off-season task for those who enjoy being Santa’s elves at the mall during Christmas time. Or those merely seeking that kind of attention.)So who is up for a little bit of Christmas in August? Visit www.redcrossblood.org now to learn where to donate or volunteer at a blood drive near you.

Fort Howard Elementary Pioneers donated $364.43 to the Haitian Relief

The Fort Howard Elementary Pioneers donated $364.43 to the Haitian Relief.  The 3rd Grade class had a BIG idea.  They wanted to help the people of Haiti.  So, they had a collection of loose change.  A group of 4th Grade boys took orders for freshly-popped popcorn, made the popcorn and delivered it to their customers.  Thank you to the students at Fort Howard for helping the people in Haiti!

Luxemburg-Casco Primary Raises $1,206.02 For Haiti Relief

Luxemburg-casco Primary is located in Luxemburg, WI and is one of 2 elementary schools in Luxemburg-casco School District. It is a public school that serves 420 students in grades PK, K-2. Pretty amazing stuff that this group raised this amount of money. THANK YOU!!!

Students dig deep to raise funds for Haiti

$16,519.75 donation comes from Green Bay School District

By charles davis • cedavis@greenbaypressgazette.com • February 10, 2010

Photo (Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette)

Students from 19 schools across the Green Bay School District have contributed $16,519.75 to the American Red Cross Haiti relief fund.

Six other area schools raised $12,307 for Haiti relief efforts.

“I’m amazed by the giving nature of the children and how they care about people who are in need. It’s moving,” said Mauree Childress, director of development for the Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The check presentation received loud applause from students in the gym at Chappell Elementary School, 205 N. Fisk St., and will be used to help provide more than 1 million earthquake survivors with medical kits, food, water and shelter. The island nation was hit with a devastating earthquake Jan. 12 that killed about 230,000 people.

Chappell has an enrollment of 280 students, and 76 percent of them are in poverty, teacher Kelly Schweda said. Despite their financial constraints, Chappell students raised $700 by selling jewelry and collecting coins.

Photo (Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette)

“They’re giving out what they don’t have,” Schweda said. “When you capture them at this age with that idea (of charity), they’re going to carry it on with them through their lives.”

Most of the students weren’t alive for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and were too young to understand Hurricane Katrina, said principal Kristen Worden.

“They just want to help other kids involved, and many can empathize and personally relate to what they are going through — to some degree,” Worden said.

Green Bay East High School students Romello Wofford, 15, and Seth Kutzleb, 17, performed a rap song about empowering young people.

“We create the world we live in, Haiti is in need so let’s start giving,” Romello sang to the students. The tragedy has impacted young people due to the graphic images on TV and its close proximity to the U.S., Romello said.

Coleman, Crivitz, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto and Peshtigo schools held a competition to see which school could raise the most funds in any way possible: Coleman students bought duct tape to stick a veteran math teacher to a gym wall.

Jonathan Gor-Don, senior at Green Bay East High School, helped to raise more than $2,000 for Haiti relief. His “Just One” campaign urged each student at his school to donate 25 cents.

“It’s just a quarter and if everyone does their part, it can make a great impact. The influence of one is infinity,” he said.

“Pay it Forward” Project

Pay it forward  2Thank you to Andy Jasmer and Robbie Krueger of Bayport High School for their donation of $52.00 to the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter. They raised the money from collecting aluminum cans and donated the money to “Pay it Forward”