• NEIA Red Cross

Leaders Save Lives

By Aerial Woods


Calling all students! Have you found yourself wanting to do something more to help during these trying times?


Here at the Red Cross, there are many opportunities to do so. One such opportunity is the Leaders Save Lives program. Students host a blood drive in their local communities and assist our efforts to collect the gift of life. Along, with gaining individual leadership experience, volunteer hours and a gift card, students have the chance to win a college scholarship. Two recent scholarship recipients from the Nebraska-Iowa Region are Delaney Olmer from Humphrey, Nebraska, and Lillian Usher of Charles City, Iowa.

Olmer won a $1,500 scholarship for hosting a blood drive at the Scale House in Humphrey, Nebraska, that collected a total of 68 pints. A senior at Humphrey St. Francis High School, her plans are to attend college to study Marketing or Health Science. Volunteering is important to Olmer, and she wanted to help by encouraging more donations and increasing the importance of donating within her local area. Having no connection to Red Cross but an association with the National Health Service (NHS), she was compelled to support the global works. Through the guidance of her blood drive advisor Kyle Jensen, she was made aware of the Leaders Saves Lives program to become a student Blood Program leader, roaring the event to success.


To encourage others, she stated“… it was super fun and a good way to get involved in the community. Also, you can get service hours.” Grateful and honored to receive the scholarship, Olmer thanks her NHS leader Pam Goenna, along with Jensen for presenting her with the opportunity.


A current student at North Iowa Area Community College, Usher attained $1,000 towards school fees. On route to graduate May 2023, she will use her scholarship to continue her education at the University of Iowa. Familiar with Red Cross opportunities, she obtained CPR and lifeguard certifications. From hosting previous blood drives and through the advice of blood donor advisor Whitney, she was inclined to host another.


Usher was able to collect 37 pints at the blood drive she held at her former high school, Charles City. Gaining more leadership skills, she said to be very grateful for the many opportunities provided by the Red Cross. Her words of encouragement are, “It is a great way to begin to think like an adult and work with adults! It can also open your eyes to a possible career field!”


Usher was shocked to learn that she’d be awarded the scholarship but very grateful for the achievement.


To participate in the Leaders Save Lives program, your chance at the scholarship and taking part in giving the gift of life there are a few eligibility requirements. Those conditions are current enrollment in high school or college; hosting a blood drive within specified time frames; forming a recruitment committee, inviting loved ones and those you know to donate drive; and collecting a minimum of 25 pints of blood. For more detailed information please visit the Red Cross website.


There is so much to be gained from this rewarding experience. How will you help, will you host a blood drive for your local community?

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