Students on Fort Leonard Wood donate summer vacation to help American Red Cross
Carmen Wienforth-Wooten, American Red Cross youth volunteer chair, left, goes over blood drive volunteer responsibilities with youth volunteers, Cinnamon Bragg and Larson^Scullion at a blood drive at the Truman^Education Center July 12.

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- There are nine teenagers on post that aren't just lounging around this summer -- they're volunteering for the American Red Cross.

"The youth volunteers provide an excellent service for our Soldiers and their Families, they also play a vital role for the future of our volunteer program, as we hope that they choose to be a part of the Red Cross family throughout their lives," said Carmen Wienforth-Wooten, youth chair. "Our volunteers assist in various clinics/departments at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, the vet clinic and with the ongoing blood drives. Most of their jobs are in the administrative field, but not limited to it. At the blood drives, for example, they volunteer at the canteens."

Getting ready to head into 9th grade at Waynesville High School, 14-year-old Cinnamon Bragg has been volunteering for two years.

"I wanted to give back to my community and this will look really good on my college applications," Bragg said. "I like to have something to do during the summer besides sit at home."

Her favorite thing about volunteering is helping out in the radiology unit.

"One time when we were in Korea I got to watch somebody getting their hand x-rayed. It was really cool," Bragg said.

While working in the blood drive's canteen handing out sweets and soda to blood donors, Bragg said she was glad to have the opportunity to serve others.

"This is really fun. It makes me feel good," Bragg said.

On his first day volunteering, Larson Scullion, a 16-year-old heading into 11th grade at Dixon High School, was helping Bragg distribute the goodies. He was hoping the program would help with his graduation requirements and his college applications too, but mostly he was hoping volunteering would challenge him to come out of his shell a bit.

"The most I can hope for is more social experiences. I am a pretty shy person," Scullion said.

Wienforth-Wooten is proud of all of her youth volunteers. She said the teenagers play an important role in their mission.

"The American Red Cross is committed to volunteer growth in military medical facilities, our youth volunteers help us in keeping that commitment," said Wienforth-Wooten. "The program we are currently running is the summer program, however there is the option to volunteer beyond that time."

Youth volunteers are ages 14 to 18. Wienforth-Wooten said some volunteers even choose careers in the medical field after volunteering.

"Our youth volunteers offer a unique set of skills and qualities, their energy, curiosity and computer literacy makes them a great asset to any clinic/department. I am especially impressed with their sincere commitment to their jobs. Instead of spending their summer relaxing, they get up early, get dressed and go to 'work,'" Wienforth-Wooten said. "Since we understand the many commitments the youth have during the school year, we focus on the summer to conduct the Youth Service Volunteer Program."

This year's summer program ends on Aug. 4.

"However, we are always interested in meeting new youth volunteers, just come by to Bldg. 496 on Constitution Avenue, across from Burger King," said she said.

Page last updated Wed July 18th, 2012 at 11:45