Behind the Scenes of the IBW Blood Drive

Maryam Luqman (she/her), Staff Writer

On Oct. 28, IBW held the first blood drive of the year. Led by the Ida B. Wells Red Cross Club, Aaron Olsen, the health occupations teacher and club advisor, and the Red Cross, the drive gave students an opportunity to become involved in our community.

The Red Cross targets our school and other high schools in the community for blood donations because we have one of the healthiest blood donor age ranges. “At a high school you have a good chunk of students who can donate because they’re older than 16,” said Lucy Carver, a senior leader for the Red Cross Club, and one of the coordinators of the student-led event.

To have a successful blood drive at IBW, the organizational process began weeks before the event. “It first started with contact with our Red Cross coordinator, who figures out all the logistics, like bringing the phlebotomist in,” said Carver. “But then with getting donors and getting volunteers, we push that out to the community.” For weeks, the Red Cross Club sent donation forms to parents, students and newsletters. They even made posters to hang up throughout the school, encouraging people to save lives.

In past years, the organization of donors and student volunteers took time. “We used to have to take all these people that wanted to donate, put their name on a list and we have to schedule times,” said Olsen. “It took days of input into a computer.” Since things are now more automated, people sign up and schedule their times by themselves on Google Forms.

Students who wanted to volunteer had a similar process to go through, filling out a Google Form that asked them what periods they were available and what they wanted to do. Then they attend an IBW Red Cross Club meeting, to find out their exact job and times.

Rachel DeLance, Rian Elkin, Katrina Phillips, Lucy Carver and Bea Sampo at the October blood drive.

Even with the donors and volunteers becoming easier to schedule, the actual blood drive day was still a lot of work. “We have to set up the gym, displace the P.E. classes, organize student volunteers, get information to the attendance office, it just takes a lot on that end,” said Olsen.

Although a lot of work is put into the preparation of the blood drive, everyone, from coordinators to participants, is extremely satisfied with the result and their performance.

Not only did Carver help coordinate the blood drive, but she also donated her blood. “It was my first time donating and it was very seamless,” said Carver. “I’ve had family members who needed blood and I am eligible, there is no reason for me not to and it’s such an easy way to help my community.”

The blood drive was an overall success, with 59 donors each saving around 3 lives and around 40 student volunteers who helped throughout the day.

The club plans to have two more blood drives this year, with the next one being during the first week of February. It will be a great opportunity for those who haven’t donated before to donate and for more students to get involved.