PORTER COUNTY | For many youths, getting involved with blood drives can help shape adult behavior, American Red Cross officials say.
“We want our youth to know they can make a huge difference in their community and the world,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO of the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the Red Cross. “When they ask their friends and family to donate blood, when they volunteer at a blood drive and donate blood themselves, they can start the powerful habit of a lifetime.”
Whitman said it is crucial to educate young people about the importance of community service through blood donations. Currently, baby boomers, generally defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, make up a significant portion of Red Cross blood donors. However, as this population gets older they may be less able to give blood on a regular basis.
“We will be depending on a new generation of blood donors to take their place,” Whitman said.
The Red Cross offers opportunities to engage youths from elementary school to college. Programs such as Pint Size Heroes help build awareness and provide blood donor recruitment opportunities among elementary and middle school-age children. In addition, high school and college-age students have the opportunity to sponsor blood drives at their schools, form and join Red Cross clubs and donate blood if they are eligible.
“America needs our younger population to step forward and commit to building and maintaining our nation’s blood supply,” Whitman said. “Engaging them early is a great way to build awareness and get them involved in the act of giving. It’s all about passing the baton to the next generation.”
Make an appointment to donate blood at redcrossblood.org or (800) 733-2767.
Upcoming blood drives include:
• 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at in the Fitness Center at Franciscan Omni Health & Fitness, 810 Michael Drive, Chesterton.
• 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in the South Commons Rooms 106 and 110, Ivy Tech Community College, 3100 Ivy Tech Drive, Valparaiso. Come to donate and receive a Culver's Frozen Custard coupon good for one pint of frozen custard.
• 2 to 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Meeting Hall at Hopewell Mennonite Church, 805 N. Main St., Kouts.
• 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Purpose Room/Cafe at Willowcreek Middle School, 5962 Central Ave., Portage. Come to donate at this Future Blood Donors blood drive and receive an American Red Cross water bottle.
• 2 to 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Community Room at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 509 W. Division Road, Valparaiso.
• 3 to 6 p.m. Feb. 26 at Morgan Township High School, 299 S. Ind 49, Valparaiso.
• 3 to 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Gathering Space at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 505 Bullseye Lake Road, Valparaiso.