Each Monday, Jo Cosby, 15, provides invaluable services to the American Red Cross, Morgan-Lawrence County Chapter. She is a capable leader and a reliable volunteer as well as an apt student of disaster. She has volunteered at the Red Cross office one day a week for more than two years. Since Jo is home-schooled, she has a flexible schedule and volunteers throughout the year. Staff in Health and Safety, Disaster, Blood and Chapter have found Jo’s help indispensable and depend on her weekly to give aid to a variety of projects.
Her duties at the American Red Cross include but are not limited to answering the telephone, making phone calls, filing, assembling bulk mailings, stamping community disaster education brochures, assembling adult and youth orientation packets and shredding confidential documents. Recently, she undertook the project of creating and maintaining a Youth Volunteer Scrapbook to be used in recruiting other youth volunteers. During the Christmas holiday, Jo puts up, decorates and takes down the office Christmas tree. She is also in charge of hanging the honorary gift cards from the chapter’s Holiday Appeal campaign on the tree. She also helps to assemble coffee break bags for blood drive sponsors and gift bags for the Secretary’s Day fundraiser. In addition, Jo folds and counts blood drive t-shirts and cleans and sanitizes mannequin faces.
Jo is also a trained blood drive volunteer. She registers blood donors and serves refreshments to donors at chapter and community drives. She also serves as a youth representative on the Volunteer Committee of the Morgan-Lawrence County Board of Directors as well as conducting leadership workshops for youth volunteers, assisting with youth volunteer orientations and assisting with activities at the Chapter Board retreat.
Jo was only 13 years old when she started volunteering at the Red Cross two years ago. She is the youngest volunteer to be given such significant responsibilities at the Chapter. This youth is still making a mark on youth involvement at the local Chapter. Although approximately 40 youth volunteer during the summer months and many do not continue their involvement. The goal of the Council is to get them to stay involved during the school years by providing quarterly newsletters, meetings and group service project opportunities. She has been responsible for implementing and planning this Council. She conducted the first meeting, sent out the first newsletter and makes arrangements for the service projects. In addition, Jo also set up and maintains a database of new residents in the county. She enters the information and then sends a welcome letter, tips on safety, a schedule of upcoming classes and a family disaster plan brochure.
In addition to her service with the American Red Cross, Jo has also volunteered on a mission trip to Guatemala. She was determined to make the trip with other church missionaries, and spent months earning money to pay her own way. She mowed lawns, sold home-baked goods, did babysitting and watched after a neighbor’s vacant house. While in Guatemala, she volunteered at an orphanage.