People volunteer with the American Red Cross for many reasons, including to polish resume, to have the experience, and to make a difference. For Ohio State University sophomore Kaitlyn Jones, it’s all of the above.
“There’s so much going on besides giving blood. I don’t think students are aware of all the opportunities,” Kaitlyn said.
“There’s something the Red Cross is doing every day.”
She began a few months ago as an intern for the Red Cross Ohio Buckeye Region’s Service to Armed Forces department, which helps U.S. military families with anything from moving to applying for financial aid to dealing with illness or death. She’s the daughter of a veteran, so she figured she could handle the experience and that it would be useful as a student in the university’s public health program.
“I deal with the real nitty gritty of their lives,” she said. “It’s definitely hard but it’s actually really cool.”
The experience has been almost serendipitous, as Kaitlyn first became aware of the Red Cross as a child, when Red Cross volunteers helped her family in the aftermath of a home fire.
“I just remember as a kid the Red Cross being there,” she said. “That really encouraged me to get involved.”
Now her first-hand experience as a Red Cross volunteer has convinced her to join the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. By making a commitment to the armed forces, she is not only following in her father’s footsteps, but saving money for graduate school.
“My internship with the Red Cross has really encouraged me,” she said. “I had no idea how connected the Red Cross is in terms of the community, and especially with service members.”
After Kaitlyn graduates and fulfills her ROTC service requirements, she plans to get back into crisis management, building on her experiences to earn a master’s and then a doctorate’s degree in epidemiology.
She explained that what makes her work gratifying is giving people comfort in their time of need, and having the resources, as a Red Cross volunteer, to follow up.
“I think letting people know that the Red Cross is there, and is going to be there, for them, does make a difference,” she said.
Could you see yourself helping a military veteran or their family in a time of need? Or assisting survivors of home fires and other disasters? Or maybe you enjoy driving and would like to transport blood products to local hospitals? These are just a few of the ways Red Cross volunteers make a difference every day. To find out more, visit