For members of Battle Ground high schools’ Health Occupation Students of America, or HOSA clubs, hosting blood drives provides students with a wealth of experience and opportunities. Students help plan, coordinate, and market these donation events months in advance in partnership with the American Red Cross. Once the day of the donation drive arrives, students serve as hands-on volunteers that greet donors, help with the check-in process and assist in the “canteen” where donors sit for a few minutes to have a snack and recover after their donation is complete.
Now that schools are in a remote learning model, HOSA students have had to shift gears and make adjustments on the fly while preparing for their blood drives. “Typically, we would all wake up early and show up to school around six in the morning to help the Red Cross set up,” said Miki Malone, a senior at Battle Ground High School and the HOSA Club President. “I remember us having over a hundred donors in one blood drive, and it would take an entire day of volunteering.”
In the midst of the pandemic, the BGHS HOSA club’s goal is to attract 30 donors at each of their monthly events, which will all be held at the BG United Methodist Church. If you are age 16 or older, you are encouraged to sign up at www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code “Battleground” to get started.
The student blood drives still take a tremendous amount of work and planning, but you can also add creativity and perseverance to the list of attributes these students are displaying in organizing these events. Instead of two or three large-scale blood drives this school year, district HOSA clubs are planning smaller, monthly events. With their first scaled-down donation drive under their collective belts, the students are looking forward to building on their early success with the next drive taking place on October 23 at the Battle Ground United Methodist Church.
Since they’re not able to recruit their classmates in person, the HOSA Club at BGHS has gone digital in an effort to get the word out. In addition to reaching out to their peers via social media, the HOSA Club has also launched an online newsletter titled “HOSA in a Flash” to share all the latest club happenings.
“It’s been challenging trying to get the message out, but we’re really excited to continue the important work of hosting blood drives,” said sophomore Morgan Godfrey, BGHS’ HOSA representative for ninth and tenth-grade students and one of two content writers for the newsletter. “The need for blood donations is constant. Not only does each pint help two or three people, but donating blood is also helping to contribute to COVID-19 research, as each donation is tested for antibodies.”
To encourage even more people to participate, all donors who donate blood at any Red Cross event in the country during the month of October will be entered for a chance to win one of five $1,000 Amazon.com gift cards from the organization.
“Each unit of donated blood can help several people,” Malone said. “With an ongoing national shortage, every donation matters. We appreciate the support we’ve received from the community and look forward to building on the success of our revamped donation drives.”