Walter Reed Army Medical Center is known as the Home of Warrior Care. Hundreds of patients—soldiers, other service members, family members and retirees—are cared for every day. Sometimes forgotten are the thousands of staff, many of them also members of the military, whose families are assigned to duty station at Walter Reed.
Red Cross VolunTEENS are providing community service for military and military dependants at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Photo provided by the Walter Reed American Red Cross.
A desire to bring the teenagers whose parents work at Walter together spurred the Red Cross VolunTEEN program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Fourteen high school students joined the first-ever school year VolunTEEN program this fall. They attend several different area schools. All are military or Department of Defense dependants who bring with them a wealth of knowledge regarding the projects needed to strengthen their military community in the Washington, D.C. area.
In October, the teens joyfully completed their first community service project. The Sunday before Halloween, they stuffed 70 treat bags for the children of wounded warriors, and 20 more for inpatients of the pediatric ward. That evening, these young Red Cross volunteers got together and bedecked the children’s ward with Halloween pumpkins and spooks.
Now a cohesive group of friends, VolunTEENS will be doing more during the year. On Veteran’s Day, they will help the Post Army Commissary serve meals. They will be stuffing bags again in late November—this time for Thanksgiving.
The primary goal of the program is to involve military and Department of Defense dependent youth in service learning projects that directly influence their military community. In the words of one VolunTEEN, “I feel like the Red Cross and the military community have given me a lot throughout my life, so I wanted a chance to give back to them.” It is this sentiment, and others like it, that encourage the Red Cross Station’s continued expansion of service to youth and families stationed at Walter Reed.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.