Recognizing the importance of cultivating today’s youth to be tomorrow’s leaders, the American Red Cross developed the “Young Minds Change Lives” educational scholarship program, which allows high schools to earn up to $2,500 in scholarship money while helping save patients’ lives by hosting blood drives with the Red Cross. The program is available for students who want to host a Red Cross blood drive during the school year or the summer months.

The Red Cross is the largest provider of blood products and specialized laboratory services across the country. As a volunteer-based organization, the Red Cross partners with organizations and institutions in communities to host the blood drives that ensure a safe and adequate blood supply for patients in need.

By hosting Red Cross blood drives, high schools and students can be part of this lifesaving team. In 2009, the Red Cross introduced new height and weight requirements for high school-age donors as part of safety initiatives, recognizing that younger donors are more likely to experience a reaction after giving blood than older donors. The new requirements have been successful in reducing reactions by 25 percent among 16-year-olds, 20 percent among 17-year-olds and 10 percent among 18-year-olds.

In addition to providing a great community service opportunity and earning scholarship money, students may be able to earn points or log hours for community service programs or incentives already in place at the school.

Red Cross blood drives fit many service-learning project requirements. Participation in Red Cross blood drives is also a great addition to student resumés and applications for internships, jobs and colleges and universities. Because of its longstanding humanitarian mission, many schools, organizations and businesses recognize Red Cross volunteer experience as an entrance or hiring plus.

To learn more about the program and hosting blood drives with the Red Cross, contact Lori Medley,, at (502) 540-7042 or call (800) RED-CROSS (733-2767).