Saving Lives, Helping People – Red Cross Club

Carlos Rivas-Cortez, President of the Red Cross Club, joined the group because he believes he was put on earth to save lives, and someday he will be a fireman. He and thirty diverse club members are all motivated to help other people. During the summer of 2010, the club's Vice President, Hanna Malak, had served as a summer intern with The American Red Cross as one of thirteen student athletes in the country to be chosen for the 2010-2011 NAIA/ American Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program. Hanna met Patrick West, the national chair of the American Red Cross Youth Council, who provided the guidelines and procedures for Hanna and Carlos to start a club at Menlo.

On Monday, November 15, they held the first of three blood drives on campus, open to the surrounding community. Hanna proudly points out that the Menlo community donated 65 units of blood, and won the challenge against Holy Names College who garnered 60 units. Hanna extends a heartfelt “Thanks” for the support from students, employees and residents who donated. The Red Cross says that 65 units of blood can be used to save three times that number or help 195 people. Furthermore, the past four blood drives had collected a cumulative total of 70 units! In a recent accident involving an Oakland police officer in critical condition, 70 units of blood were needed to save his life.

More Than Blood – Red Cross Helps People in Other Ways

This month, the students will write personal holiday letters to the soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, which will be paired with care packages put together by Notre Dame de Namur University students. The drive is also tied to a benefit concert on the NDNU campus. Besides showing their appreciation for soldiers in the battlefield, during the spring semester the Red Cross Club will sponsor two more blood drives on campus on February 2, and April 13 in the gym. Hanna intends to prepare more advance publicity including guidelines on who is eligible to donate blood.

“The need is consistent; gratification is instant,” quoted Carlos. “This is one of the organization's major mottos.” Students can tangibly see and show their appreciation when they participate in letter writing campaigns or help save peoples' lives by running blood drives. Community involvement with health and safety is another major objective. On March 24th, the club will join in “Silver Dragon” a local disaster drill with ADAPT, Atherton's local agency that oversees disaster preparedness and provides training for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members.

Hanna works with Peter Carpenter at ADAPT meetings, and he is well-acquainted with local residents who actively strive for public awareness of emergency issues and procedures. As the current MCSGA President, one of his deepest commitments is to find a way to involve more students, to provide accurate information on safety measures and to prepare for the event of a disaster on campus.

Carlos and Hanna are a good combination of passion, purposefulness and leadership; Carlos wants to do whatever he can to help save lives while Hanna is equally driven by the desire to better organize people to produce positive change in social groups and communities. The Red Cross Club is making a significant difference to campus health and safety.