“I didn’t know if I could do it and I CAN do it!”
Annie Voss graduated from high school with a resume loaded with volunteer hours she has devoted to organizations in her Athens County community. Among those organizations is the American Red Cros, where she worked to organize blood drives as a senior at Alexander High School. She is the daughter of Hylie and Bruce Voss of Athens.
Contacted during the busy school year, Jordan Staley of the Red Cross praised Annie’s work. “I consider Annie my student Blood Program Leader,” said Staley, Red Cross Biomedical Services Account Manager for Athens and Morgan Counties. “She is vital in the setup and execution of the blood drives this year at Alexander High School.”
“I basically run the whole thing,” Annie explained. “I organize, plan, get people out, make sure people are signing up.” The drives offered 49 to 50 appointments for donors each time, and goal was usually met.
Outlining her methods for ensuring a successful blood drive, Annie said she sent a message to everyone in the school district, going beyond the regular population of students and staff in the school. She was approved to do “all calls” via phone, submitted to the calendar on the local news medium WOUB, and used the school’s intercom as well as face-to-face recruitment. She had a sponsor group for each drive, including student council, special education, National Honor Society and a faculty member. These sponsors help by volunteering at the drive and encouraging people to donate.
“It has been challenging to me. I like it because it’s mainly a set of skills I didn’t know I had and challenged me, and was out of my comfort zone,” Annie said. “I had no experience being the one needing support. I was always in activities where I was giving support,” she added.
Staley praised Annie’s dedication and her outstanding results. “Annie collected over 134 units this year at Alexander between four blood drives. She met or exceeded her blood drive goal, each time, even with overcoming certain obstacles. She is an outstanding organizer, leader, and overall the ideal student blood program leader!”
In addition to her studies and her volunteer hours with the Red Cross, Annie works at Good Works, an organization that serves nine counties in Southeastern Ohio with a non-emergency shelter. Annie is also a student director for the Sugar Bush Foundation, where her role is to advise the board members and to learn. The foundation, a supporting organization of the Ohio University Foundation, helps to fund programs and projects in environment and economic sustainability in Southeast Ohio. Annie’s family members, grandparents Don Flournoy and his late wife Mary Ann, established this foundation.
All of these activities have helped Annie understand the Appalachian area of Southeast Ohio. “I have learned so much about the community I live in,” she said. Annie explained she is originally from Minnesota and recently lived in Texas for 10 years. She started high school at Alexander as a sophomore and has now graduated.
Annie went beyond the high school experience to work with nonprofits. “I saw the need to involve myself in my community,” she said. “In the past I have lived around people who did not understand what it meant to not have something.”
Annie plans to attend Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and hopes to study environmental and public health.
This blog post was written by Sandy Shirey.