Safety’s Coming to Town

Photo Courtesy of

Angela Chuang, Photojournalist

With the holiday season in full swing now, people are bustling all over town to get holiday errands done.  During the holiday season, it’s easy to forget those who don’t have it as easy as others.  The Orange County American Red Cross is reaching out to those families of Santa Ana, especially the kids, to give them a day of educational fun and toys.  On December 13, Red Cross will be hosting its annual Children’s Safety Festival where less fortunate kids and their families can gather at the Red Cross chapter in Santa Ana to receive toys, play games, decorate cookies, and experience a festive day they would not otherwise receive.

How Does This Day Work?
High schools all over Orange County and their Red Cross clubs are invited to host a booth at this event.  These booths range from cookie decorating to bean bag toss.  Volunteers from each high school help run the booth their high school puts on.  The Red Cross clubs also put on a toy drive to collect toys for the kids, and each kid receives one toy.

Who Puts on this Event?
This event could not be put on if it wasn’t for the Youth Services of OC Red Cross.  Led by adviser Joseph Lenihan, it includes high school students from all over Orange County, including Yorba Linda.  Within Youth Services, there are different committees, and the one that organizes Children’s Safety Festival is known as SPeC (Special Events Committee).  Jenna Yee, SPeC Lead and senior at Aliso Niguel High School, and her committee have been hard at work to make sure this day is successful and enjoyable for all the kids.  In SPeC, they have created sub-committees where each member of SPeC is a lead.  These sub-committees are made up of high school volunteers, and they have been meeting every other Wednesday since September.

What is it like to Volunteer at CSF?
Speaking from personal experience, Children’s Safety Festival is the best volunteer event any high school student can participate in.  Being able to work with other Red Cross members and help kids decorate cookies was a real eye-opener for me, and I was able to realize how fortunate I am to live the life that I do. For me, it was the first Red Cross event that pushed me into becoming more involved with the Red Cross and eventually serve on the Youth Leadership team for Orange County.  Roger Fang (11), co-president of YLHS’s Red Cross, says, “Children’s Safety Festival is one of the best volunteer events.  You get a hands-on experience of making an impact in our community.  It’s truly amazing getting to put a smile on the kids’s faces.”  For those Mustangs who are not already volunteering this year, make sure to join Red Cross and look into more volunteer events.

How Can You Help?
Like last year, YLHS Red Cross is hosting a booth at Chidlren’s Safety Festival where kids can decorate cookies.  We’re looking for students to donate UNDECORATED sugar cookies.  For every dozen made, one service hour will be given for a maximum of 6 hours.  These cookies will be accepted until December 12 in Mrs. Farrell’s room.

How Can  You Get More Involved with Red Cross?
One of the first things you can do is join YLHS’s Red Cross.  This is a great way to get more involved with our school and its clubs.  After joining YLHS’s Red Cross, look into attending GIFT meetings at the Red Cross Chapter.  GIFT stands for Get Involved Forum for Teens and is held the first Wednesday of every month from 5:50 PM – 7:00 PM.  These meetings allow teenagers to get involved with Red Cross and meet new friends.  (The chapter is located at 601 N. Golden Circle Dr., Santa Ana, CA 92705).

Many youth have been working extremely hard to put on a successful Children’s Safety Festival.  If you aren’t already involved with Red Cross, make sure to listen to announcements for the next meeting date.  In the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in everything that is going on in your life.  But we are all always so distracted with ourselves that it’s hard to remember those who don’t have it like we do.  Make sure to give back this holiday season (AND DONATE COOKIES!).