By Meera Bhakta, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
Like many nonprofits and organizations throughout the pandemic there has been an evaluation of how we do conduct and business which leads to some changes.
The Red Cross youth services team collaborated to bring about some process improvements. Rohan Jupelly, junior at the University of Texas at Dallas, joined the Red Cross as a Red Cross club coordinator and transitioned to lead the Youth Engagement Team in March 2020.
The rapid evolution of youth services prompted Rohan and Shriya Sachdeva, outgoing North Texas Youth Council president, to initiate a merger of the two leadership structures into the Youth Services Executive Board (YSEB). Their mission is to operate as a unified leadership unit with the goal of bolstering youth and young adult volunteers across the North Texas Region, focusing specifically on increasing youth engagement, identifying, and addressing youth and young adult needs, strategizing youth-focused initiatives, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting regional Red Cross Clubs.
The YSEB is comprised of nine members including Rohan, president, Mahitha Jangeti, vice president, and seven officers. All board projects, committee initiatives are facilitated by the executive committee.
Meera Bhakta, a senior at Plano East Senior High School, has volunteered with the Red Cross for two years. As communications officer, she oversees the youth newsletter, blog, podcast, and social media outreach. Each of these promotes YSEB projects, volunteer opportunities, and regional and national initiatives, recognizing outstanding youth volunteers and raising awareness of the Red Cross mission.
Diversity and Inclusion
Zachary Rouseau, a junior on the pre-med track at Texas Christian University, serves as the Red Cross youth diversity and inclusion officer. He educates youth and young adults on providing support for the acceptance of and respect for various racial, cultural, societal, geographic, economic, and political backgrounds and leads initiatives to promote diversity amongst youth and young adults in the North Texas Region.
Pranavi Garlapati, a senior at the Texas Academy of Math and Science, holds the role of Project Officer of the Youth Services Executive Board. She is primarily responsible for coordinating and organizing YSEB projects and leading youth-led fundraisers. Under her direction, she has raised nearly $5,500 for a variety of ongoing Red Cross initiatives such as Vaccinate a Village.
Line of Service Officers
Natasha Banga and Prisha Vithalani serve as the line of service officers for the Youth Services Executive Board. Natasha, a senior at Coppell High School, and Prisha, a sophomore at Jasper High School, work to align projects with the Lines of Service, including Blood Services, Service to the Armed Forces and Disaster Services to better incorporate youth in these areas.
Red Cross Clubs
Devaditya Ray serves as the Red Cross Club Officer and oversees Red Cross Clubs in schools across the region. His goal is growing the regional Red Cross Club network to include a greater number of clubs (especially at the collegiate level), increase club engagement by offering a greater number of longitudinal volunteer opportunities, and better integrating Red Cross Clubs into regional initiatives. Additionally, he will implement the Red Cross Club County Corp (RC4), a new youth engagement structure centered on providing opportunities for those who do not have a Red Cross Club at their school but wish to participate in Red Cross Club activities.
Learn more about American Red Cross youth volunteer opportunities by visiting RedCross.org/volunteer