Young humanitarian workers

“The ultimate expression of generosity is not in giving of what you have, but in the giving of who you are.”

Top photo: Kymberlyne Sanor (left) and
 Lorraine Chavez (right)
with Ma. Patricia Isabel Florida,
Chapter Service representative of the RCY.

Lower photo: Anje Lyn Javier
 During World War II, the Filipino youth played a significant role in the community. They volunteered in sewing, making surgical dressings for victims of war, planting of vegetables in the school garden and assisting in dental work.

They were called the Junior Red Cross then.

Now, under the Red Cross Youth banner, young volunteers continue to show leadership and idealism in humanitarian work.

There are 97 Red Cross Youth chapters in the Philippines. One of them is RCY-Iloilo.

Lorraine Chavez, president of RCY-Iloilo; Kymberlyne Sanor, secretary; and Anje Lyn Javier, public relations officer, reveal what it’s like to be of service to others.

SACRIFICES. Being a student and a volunteer at the same time isn’t easy. Kymberlyne has to wake up earlier than she has to so she’ll have time for both studies and RCY. “Trying to balance school, like having good grades, my family, my friends, my personal life and RCY proves very challenging,” she said.

“I’m required to have a grade of not lower than 80 or 2.5 in order to remain in my section and in my course. Sometimes, my friends have to ask for my availability before we can go out and have fun. I could say that I have sacrificed my leisure time. But, honestly, I spend most of my time in the RCY. I’m really having fun with the organization. In here, you’ll see friendships like no other, the spirit of volunteerism and the love for humanity,” she explained.

It is through RCY that Kymberlyne learned to be compassionate and neutral.

EXCITING. For Anje, joining RCY was a personal choice because she believes that volunteering can be exciting. “It’s gratifying to serve a cause, practice one's ideals, work with people, solve problems, and see benefits. I knew that in joining the RCY, I’ll learn to lead in a nourishing manner, to lead without being possessive, to be helpful without taking the credit and to learn without coercion.

She has certainly proven these true in the three years of being part of RCY.

One of her memorable activities was planning the 1st RCY Summer Camp in Pavia last 2010. The camp was designed to engage the youth in enhancing their leadership skills.

Another was the Chapter Youth Congress in 2010 and being chapter youth council officer.

“Before I was just an ordinary student doing ordinary things. Now, I’m still ordinary but doing extraordinary things. I’ve learned to be more responsible no matter what I feel; and to control my attitude before it controls me,” she said.

VOLUNTEERISM. For Lorraine, being president of RCY Iloilo is quite a challenge.

“It really challenges every aspect of me. To lead them and provide empowering activities so as to fulfill the purpose of educating our youth in the spirit of the Red cross Movement,” she said.

“As I am a student too, it's like serving two masters at a time. But the problems and conflicts just add to the sweet experience of being able to lead and to serve. Everything is incomparable,” she added.

Lorraine shared that many have asked her why she’s into RCY even if she doesn’t get something in return. “Many would ask if I am provided with scholarships or incentives. This too is a big challenge for us volunteers. We are here because we volunteer. From the word itself, we are not expecting things in return. It's hard to reach to people and encourage them to join since they wanted something. On the other hand, this what makes the RCY Program unique,” she said.

She’s been with RCY for seven years now. Like Kymberlyne, she has made certain sacrifices like time for her family and academic endeavours. “It’s like forgetting your own needs and neglecting your loved ones to be with people who need time and love too.”

SERVICE. Perhaps one of the most important contribution of the RCY to the community is the members’ voluntary blood donation. Members of the Pledge 25 project regularly donate blood – three to four times a year – starting at age 18 until 25.

The Philippine National Red Cross recently revealed that there is a big need for blood in the wake of dengue cases. Also, persons who undergo operation and who need standby blood should be thankful for these regular donors.

Another notable contribution of RCY is inspiring other youngsters by making them aware of the importance of volunteerism, leadership, help them avoid HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and other forms of juvenile delinquency through prevention education.

During the recently held RCY Month celebration, the chapter held a feeding program, photo contest and exhibit, video-making contest, Pledge 25 Symposium, coastal clean-up, tree planting activity, Idol Group Cover Contest, Battle of the Bands, song writing contest, book-giving activity, Flash Mob and SelCa.

APPEAL. “The Red Cross is an organization that needs volunteers especially the youth. I’m encouraging those ages seven to 25 to join the Red Cross,” Kymberlyne said.

“ Red Cross, as the largest humanitarian volunteer organization in the world with millions of volunteers and members, is committed to engaging and providing support to all young people. I hope by taking action, we can make a real difference in our life and the lives of others. Sign up as a young humanitarian. Let’s always be a blessing to others!” Anjie said.

Lorraine hopes that every school in the province shall put up a RCY Council. If a student learns the idealism of Red Cross, he or she will find fulfilment, she said.

“You will discover how beautiful volunteer work is and you will be with people you never thought you will be with. I also like to encourage parents to support their children in this endeavor. They will be in a life that is more than who they are at school,” she added.

Selected schools already have their RCY school council. For elementary students, the members are called the Junior Red Cross. They have an active JRC adviser who serves as their guide and leader in recruiting, organizing and training JRC members in the school.

High schools have their Senior Red Cross Youth and colleges also have their College Red Cross Youth.

Those interested to become RCY volunteers can visit the Philippine Red Cross Iloilo Chapter at Bonifacio Drive or call 337-59-50.* (The News Today, November 1, 2011

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