Not Her First Rodeo: A Return to The Red Cross

by Jennifer Hansen, staff contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region

As Executive Director Deborah Finlayson took the reins at the Texas South Plains chapter in the summer of 2018, she remarked that it was not her first experience with the Red Cross.

While living in Wichita Falls, Deborah was a Junior Red Cross volunteer at the hospital on Sheppard Air Force Base during the summer of her freshman year in high school.

Local community clubs and Red Cross School Clubs provide opportunities for leadership development, community service and training in life-saving skills. Through their dedication, young professionals, college students and high school, middle school and elementary school students make a difference every day.

Photo courtesy of Attic DC

“I recall being there two or three times a week for about four hours,” said Finlayson, who also remembers “wearing a candy-striped pinafore.”

Her duties entailed filing patient x-rays and counting pills for prescription orders, tasks that would undoubtedly be handled by hospital staff today. Still, it was fun.

“The x-ray techs always got a kick out of showing us X-rays of people who had swallowed things like a Coke tab from the can.”

This initial exposure to the Red Cross showed Deborah the service-oriented culture of the organization, and she “witnessed the hard work and dedication of everyone at the Red Cross.” Little did she know that a high school summer spent volunteering in a hospital would later become a career in Red Cross leadership.

Today, American Red Cross Youth programs continue to be active through local community clubs and Red Cross School Clubs. While no longer in candy-stripes, thousands of civic-minded youth help fulfill our humanitiarian mission each year.

Whether college students who organize blood drives on campus, nursing students training to serve in community disaster shelters, or high school students raising funds to vaccinate kids in third-world countries against measles, these students are proving you’re never too young to make a difference!

Join our mission! To find out how you can become a young humanitarian in today’s Red Cross, visit

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