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Rayele Elmore, a 17-year-old American Red Cross youth volunteer, watches and learns from Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Reyes, an immunization technician at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital, as she shows Elmore how to give an infant a vaccination Wednesday.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

Children learn importance of giving through American Red Cross

10 Jul 2009 | Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson

The Combat Center’s American Red Cross is looking for a few good children ages 12 to 18 to participate in their Summer Youth Volunteer Program from now until August 11 throughout the installation.

The program is designed to set children up with different offices on base as they volunteer and to help their assigned section with work.

“This is a great opportunity for the youth to reach out and help the community,” said Danuelle Boone, a 17-year-old youth volunteer. “We had to volunteer for school, and I didn’t know how to get started, and then I got into the American Red Cross and it is great because it really feels like you are making a difference.”

So far, children are volunteering at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital, the East Fitness Center, the Lifelong Learning Library the American Red Cross and the Sandy Hill Lanes bowling center. Other sections that requested volunteers are the Career Resource Office, the office of the Staff Judge Advocate and the Wood Hobby Shop.

“We have a great group of children volunteering this year,” said Kim Loucks, the youth programs chair for the American Red Cross. “It is an extremely unique program, but it is working out really well.”

While volunteering, children may be required to answer phones, file papers and clean. Children will also have the opportunity to work side-by-side with their military counterparts and learn the important aspects of the job to see if they want to pursue that career field.

Many children choose to volunteer at the hospital because they believe it would make a bigger impact, said Loucks, a Windham, N.Y., native. “At the hospital they have the opportunity to sit with patients, read to them, carry samples to and from the lab, and possibly even prepare a room.”

Although only 13 volunteers are participating in the program, the American Red Cross will be accepting youth until the end of July. Children also have the opportunity to continue to volunteer throughout the school year.

“I love the hands-on approach to the volunteer work we do,” Boone said. “We really get to get in there and do something that makes a difference. We’re helping the Marines and sailors get their jobs done and it is great.”

Four students from the Morongo Unified School District have also been accepted to participate in the Youth Volunteer Program through the MUSD Work Force Program, despite having no connection to the base.

These students are paid volunteers, and are  seniors or high school graduates.

For more information regarding the Summer Youth Program, or the American Red Cross, contact their office at 830-6685.

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms