A Lifelong Commitment

Story by: Samantha Tyrrel, American Red Cross, Photos By: Nisha Nalawade, American Red Cross

Nisha Nalawade grew up in Darien Connecticut, where she attended the local high school. At the time, Nisha was looking for something more, and when she realized her town didn’t have an American Red Cross Club, she knew it was her chance to make a difference. Nisha founded her town’s Red Cross Club as a freshman in high school, and soon after became President. Today, Nisha attends college in Philadelphia., but that doesn’t mean her time with the Red Cross is over. She also currently serves as a volunteer Disaster Duty Officer, making calls to coordinate dispatch teams for emergencies such as house fires.  

As the founder and president of the Darien Red Cross Club, Nisha led a team of fellow high schoolers to help give back to the community. Her role consisted of organizing events, setting up meetings, making sure everyone felt heard, and coordinating with other chapters and organizations to host events. The club mostly participated in blood drives at the school. At these events, students would register blood donors, make sure they were hydrated and eating snacks after donation, and keep track of appointments. Students would also assemble care packages and cards for veterans and military families during the holiday season.  The club also participated in a few fundraising efforts- one of which included raising funds to vaccinate a village for measles!  

Nisha Nalawade

When she was a part of the Red Cross in high school, she felt an immense amount of support and appreciation from other volunteers. She noted that everyone is incredibly grateful when you give your time and that it fosters a warm community. After Nisha graduated and moved to Philadelphia, she realized she had missed that community feeling. She craved to feel a part of something with a bigger purpose, which is why she decided to continue her commitment to the Red Cross mission.  

“I love the history of the organization! It’s very universal, it can apply to anybody, and it spreads across many issues and tries to help as many people as possible”, said Nisha. 

Nisha is currently enjoying her role as a Disaster Duty  Officer and sees herself being a part of the community for the rest of her life. To Nisha, working with the Red Cross from a young age has instilled the “value of working with a community to help others in need, and I think for the rest of my life I will be craving that kind of community”. 

To youth community members interested in joining Red Cross’s mission, Nisha offers a piece of advice: “Don’t be intimidated by having to do a lot at once. There are so many different levels of involvement, you can make a difference no matter how much or how little you can bring. Everyone is so nice; I highly recommend getting involved”.   

We thank Nisha for her many years of generous service to the Red Cross. If you would like to join our incredible group of volunteers like Nisha, you can do so at redcross.org/volunteer. 

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