Meet Service Award Winners Tara and Jake!

Harriet Vanderbilt/Red Cross Cascades

Congratulations to Tara and Jake!  These two Lincoln High School students qualify for the prestigious Youth Presidential Service Award, having logged over 100 hours of service.  This national award recognizes the role of volunteers of all ages.  Jake, who is in the teen category, will receive the gold level award.  Tara is in the young adult category and will receive the bronze award.

In 2003, the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation founded the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  The award honors individuals like Tara and Jake whose service positively influences communities in America and encourages others to volunteer.  Award levels begin with kids from 5 to 10.

Tara and Jake are co-presidents of the Lincoln High School Red Cross Club.   The seniors have been with the club since their freshman year.  According to Jake, “the club has been active for over 10 years.  My sister, who is 3 years older, was a member.”

“The blood drives are the flagship activity for the club.  It is a profound experience to see donors giving blood to save lives “Jake said.  Tara added that “this year, we will hold 3 blood drives, the first being in February.  We hold them in the gym.  We usually have between 20 and 40 volunteers.  Typically, as many as 60 donors come to give blood”.

“We hold Mapathons at club meetings to locate structures at risk of destruction” related Tara.  A mapathon is a coordinated mapping activity to pinpoint areas at high risk of damage during a disaster.  Mapping also helps manage energy efficiency.  Club members use Google Maps, satellite imagery, and GPS positioning to help in the mapping.  “Our last mapathon located 760 structures” added Tara.

The Red Cross Youth Council works closely with the Red Cross high school clubs in Oregon.  There are currently representatives from Lincoln, South Medford, Lake Owego, and Sunset High Schools on the council.   

Tara continued by saying that “anyone who has a leadership role in organizing service events can apply to join the council.  We would love to expand our geographic outreach.  Any youth can join the Red Cross Club, attend regional youth meetings, and subscribe for YouthWire to learn about volunteer opportunities”.

In addition to volunteering, both Jake and Tara have excelled in athletics as well.  Jake is a competitive fencer.  “I’ve committed half my life to fencing.  I have followed my sister’s passion for saber style fencing.”  Saber style is the most aggressive of the 3 fencing styles.  He will attend the national championships in Denver in February.

Tara is an accomplished tennis player.  Of Serbian descent, she takes note of the fact that numerous female tennis stars are Serbian.  Her hobbies include scuba diving and a love of ham radios.  She is learning Morse code as well.

College and career are in their futures.  Tara plans to follow a medical path leading to Neuro Science.  Jake’s interest lies in the engineering field.  He is busy filling out application forms right now.

For further information on the Red Cross Youth Council, please email .  Consider becoming a member of your high school Red Cross Club!  Thank you, Jake and Tara!  Well done!!