Whoever said that “kids these days” couldn’t care less about making a difference clearly hasn’t met the students of Turlock High School. On Jan. 13, more than 100 of them volunteered to be a part of a campus blood drive, which is a 20-year tradition at the school.
The blood drive was organized by the Turlock High Medi-Careers Club in partnership with the Turlock Delta Blood Bank. The units of blood that were donated can potentially help more than 120 local individuals.
“I’ve always wanted to donate blood,” said Turlock High senior Steven Hervey. “This is the first time I’ve finally been eligible to donate, so I knew it was the perfect opportunity.”
Creating this opportunity was no small task, as members of the Medi-Careers Club gathered in early November to brainstorm ways to cultivate a campus-wide interest in donating blood.
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Before leaving for winter break, members really began to ramp up their efforts – running sign-up booths during lunchtime, organizing information and data to keep the process streamlined, and decorating the school with fliers with one simple yet empowering message: Make an impact.
This idea of making waves in something greater than oneself resonated well with junior Brian Mendez. “Even though we may not see or know the people we directly affect from giving blood, we know it makes a difference,” he said. “I donated blood because I feel that whenever we can help or save people, we have a moral obligation to do so.”
Not only do school blood drives provide students with the gratifying feeling of making an important contribution, the drives constitute an eye-opener for many teenagers about the unpleasant realities of life – particularly that every two seconds, an American needs blood. Keeping young people plugged into real-world issues teaches them that, with a little thought and dedication, they have the power to effect meaningful change.
Turlock High junior Joe Randez noted, “I remember when I was situated and the blood was getting drawn out, and for a moment I wondered if everything was going all right. But I knew I was doing it for a right cause, so it was all OK.”
Recently released reports indicate that January is a time of particularly low turnout at blood donation stations. Sunpreet Kaur, a senior and an officer in the Medi-Careers Club, said, “The school blood drive is something I always look forward to. It’s a great thing to put on, and for me it’s one of the highlights of the school year.”