VALPARAISO| Portage High School student Karina Huff was a little nervous Friday morning. Not because of a test or assignment due, but because she was going to give blood for the first time.
“The only scary part was that they lost my vein when they tried to poke me,” Huff said, after donating blood at the Porter County Career and Technical Center. “So now I’ll have a bruise, but I’ll definitely give blood again. It’s for a good cause.”
Huff wanted to give blood to help people and the local community. “Anything you can do to help make a difference is important,” she said.
Huff was among dozens of local high school students who took part in the blood drive, which was sponsored by the Porter County Career and Technical Center’s health occupations students. Many of the students were first-time donors.
“It went better than I thought, it went a lot quicker,” Jacob Wright, also a first-time donor from Portage High School, said. “After doing this, I would give blood again.”
The health occupations students helped register blood donors, escort students to and from the donation center, and supply food and drinks to the canteen area. All blood was drawn by members of the American Red Cross.
“When the students are giving blood and they need something to drink, we bring it to them, and take snacks to them until they feel better,” said Brianna Naulty, who was helping out with the canteen area. “I helped at a blood drive last year and it was a lot of fun. I like being involved.”
So many students signed up that the donors had to be divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Time also was set aside for the general public to give blood.
“We are talking to students about community service and the value of donating blood. They’re all community driven kids, and we tell them that donating blood saves lives,” said Jon Groth, principal of the Porter County Career and Technical Center.
The Red Cross takes one pint of blood per person. The donations typically stay in the Northwest Indiana area, going to local hospitals, before being transported to other areas of the county that may need more blood.
“People don’t give these kids enough credit,” Groth said. “No one had to twist their arm to donate blood today. They’re doing this because it’s the right thing do to.”