As I approached the front door of Bishop Hartley High School, several questions buzzed through my mind. Would anyone show up at my table? Would I completely forget what to say? Would I be mistaken for a student because of my young-looking face? It has been six years since I was a high school senior, so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up with the new generation of students who update their Facebook statuses more frequently than Luke Fickell makes the wrong call during a Buckeye game.
As a new AmeriCorps member of the Volunteer Resources team, I was tasked with recruiting new volunteers for the chapter along with my fellow AmeriCorps member, Miya Cleveland. Together, we headed to the private Catholic school southeast of Bexley to our first recruitment fair without our supervisor.
Minutes after we bolstered our table with American Red Cross takeaways, students filtered into the high school’s gymnasium. This was the moment of truth. My heart raced. Sweat rivered down the creases of my palms. If I faked illness now, I could escape without making any presentations. But as soon as I finished my thought, a group of juniors and seniors crowded around the table, blocking my exit. It was too late.
I took a deep breath. I said the only thing I could remember at that point. “Hi, my name is Ken.” Instantly, I felt better and a smile blossomed on my face. “I’m here with the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.”
To my amazement, the students didn’t run away screaming. Within minutes, I was bantering with the students, teasing them about how my ID badge was better than theirs while also discussing the volunteer opportunities available for them. I was surprised to find how bright and engaged they seemed to be. Before leaving the table, they wrote their contact information on a sheet of paper and urged me to call them right away.
By the end of the day, nearly 250 students signed the sheet. They took all the business cards and pamphlets that I brought. At that moment, I knew I had made the right choice to join AmeriCorps at the American Red Cross.
Thanks to Ken Ward, AmeriCorps member, for this post!