Red Cross offering students chance to try for scholarships
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 26, 2011 12:53 AM
Laura Balmer organized the first Bloodstock blood drive in Wayne County. The program offers two scholarships to students, one for $1,000 and one for $2,000, depending on how many units of blood are collected at the drive.
The American Red Cross is offering scholarships -- and all students have to do to qualify to compete for one is collect blood.
The Red Cross held its first Bloodstock blood drive last week in Goldsboro. It's a scholarship program for students in high school or college, said Kimberly Berrier, senior donor recruitment representative for the Carolinas Blood Services Region, of which Wayne County is a part.
During Summer Bloodstock, which runs from May 1 through Aug. 31, there are two scholarships, one for $1,000 and another for $2,000. To qualify for the $1,000 scholarship, the blood drive must collect at least 35 units of blood. Fifty units must be collected to qualify for the $2,000 scholarship.
During Winter Bloodstock, which runs from Dec. 15 through Jan. 15, only the $1,000 scholarship is available.
Once a student qualifies for a scholarship, his or her name is placed into a drawing with other students who also met the collection minimum.
Laura Balmer was Wayne County's first student to have a Bloodstock blood drive. The 18-year-old graduated early from Spring Creek High School, and plans to attend East Carolina University and pursue a degree in psychology.
"I found out about the scholarship when my school guidance counselor gave out information," Miss Balmer said. "I was applying for many scholarships, so I called the Red Cross."
She was responsible for getting donors for the blood drive.
"I got people from work and school and my family," Miss Balmer said. "I mainly sent out mass texts to everyone. I put up posters at work and all over Goldsboro and just asked people to be donors."
She said the hardest part was getting people to give her a time they could give blood.
The day of the drive, Miss Balmer signed donors in and welcomed them.
And, although her blood drive collected only 14 units of blood, which doesn't qualify her for either scholarship, Miss Balmer said is glad she did it.
"I don't regret doing this at all," she said. "It was a great experience. I think it's a leadership experience I can build off of in my future."
Miss Balmer said she has wanted to head up a project this large, and coordinating the blood drive gave her the chance to do just that.
Mrs. Berrier said any student who is a junior in high school or older can participate in the Bloodstock program.
"I meet with the student several times," she said. "The first thing the student does is get pledges, people who are willing to give blood, to see if there is enough interest in the drive. If we see there is, then we pick a day, time and location for the blood drive and the student signs up donors."
She said it's a "true partnership and community event. It's allowing students like Laura to work on a community service project and potentially earn some scholarship money.
"Like most scholarships, you have to put in some effort and do some work for it. But it's a win-win situation for the student and the Red Cross."
Mrs. Berrier said even if a student doesn't qualify for or win a scholarship, he or she will still receive a letter of recommendation from the Red Cross, tailored to him or her, that can be used for employment, college or other purposes.
"I think it's great that the Red Cross actually gives students a chance to do something like this," Miss Balmer said. "And it's a great way for them to get blood and open up the organization to students."
Wayne County's second Bloodstock blood drive will be held July 7 from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Goldsboro High School. Tiffany Bowden, a recent graduate, is organizing the drive.
Any student wanting to participate in the Bloodstock program should contact Mrs. Berrier at 910-231-4795 or the local Red Cross office at 735-7201.