At age 16, the support I have received during my journey to Mars has been amazing. With a social media audience of over 160,000 people, I am humbled every single day to be a small part of your lives. I have been told by adults and kids alike that I inspire them, but as I have discussed in my recent TEDx Talk, each of you inspires me. This really is a circle of inspiration.
As I travel around the country speaking about space, STEM and dreaming big, I have the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. I absolutely love it! It’s equally exciting that I have been asked to be a youth voice for several great causes. This has been a surprising bonus of my work and has been really fulfilling.
I am excited to announce my most recent adventure: I have been asked by the American Red Cross to be a part of their first group of Social Advocates! What is a social advocate? It is a person selected by an organization or a cause to help spread their message by using their own social capital which is earned by their presence on social media. I actually served as a Social Ambassador a few years back for the Children’s Defense Fund. That was so powerful and exciting! I have also been a huge supporter of the Science Museum of Minnesota. I have been a part of many of their events which has helped to spread the word about the museum and all the great things they do.
Now, I get to help spread the word about the American Red Cross. I am working on sharing the Red Cross Heroes Breakfast which is happening June 5, 2014 in
Minneapolis. These breakfasts are held every year at Red Cross chapters around the country. The Heroes Breakfast honors local heroes who are average citizens that have shown extraordinary acts of heroism in their communities. What I love about these events is that they focus on great things happening in our own communities. While the media often focuses on negative events, it is refreshing to here stories of the amazing people in our communities.
So far, being a Red Cross Advocate has been a wonderful experience. I have had the opportunity to meet board members of the Northern Minnesota American Red Cross (my local chapter) and also tour the headquarters here in Minneapolis. I have learned about all the services the Red Cross provides, which go way beyond blood and disaster, although these are very important. Who knew that the Red Cross has mobile apps for things such as Pet First Aid, WildFire Awareness and Disaster Recovery? The Red Cross also provides invaluable training for first aid, babysitting, certified nurses assistants, EMT’s and more. The sheer amount of work required for preventing accidents and disasters, plus preparing people in case of emergencies is admirable.
I hope you will follow my journey as a Red Cross Advocate and consider checking out your own local chapter for chances to volunteer and/or donate blood. Thank you for your ongoing support!