Teens staff blood drive as part of service days

Summer Service Days include event at Dubuque church

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

DUBUQUE — After giving a pint at a blood drive in Holy Ghost Church basement in Dubuque recently, a group of teens enthusiastically thanked donors for saving lives.

“For every one donor who gives a pint of blood, there’s a potential to save three lives,” said one young woman while encouraging those who had just had large needles removed from their arms to fill up on snacks, water and juice to replenish themselves.

The event July 21 was organized as part of Dubuque High School Summer Service Days, a program that has been going on in the area since 2014 and is open to young people from Dubuque and surrounding areas. Over the course of two days, high school aged youth who may or may not be part of local Catholic parishes, engage in activities to help the community.

This year the teens assisted at Albrecht Acres, a camp for people with special needs, volunteered at a local food bank, and assisted Red Cross workers at the blood drive, which helped gather over 20 pints of blood at a time when the Red Cross described the need as critical.

“It helped me get out there and help people,” said Sam Taylor, a 14-year-old high school freshman from Sacred Heart Parish in Maquoketa, as he took part in the drive, the final part of the service days.

Erin Daughetee, 16, said the service projects were very meaningful, especially the blood drive. She reported that her grandmother had cancer and needed blood frequently, so she was happy to support it.

“It’s not just about the (people you serve),” she said. “It makes you feel really good when you do it also.”

Faith formation leaders from Sacred Heart, Maquoketa; Holy Spirit Parish (which includes Holy Ghost Church), St. Raphael Cathedral and St. Patrick Parishes, also in Dubuque, recruited members of their youth groups to take part in the service projects.

“It’s basically to make them aware of social justice issues and how to be a disciple of Christ,” said Kris Egan, director of youth ministry for Holy Spirit Parish, of the reasons she and her colleagues encourage teens to be involved.

PHOTO: Jayme Wuertzer (left) and Kylie Schmidt were two of the teens volunteering as support staff to the Red Cross at a blood drive at Holy Ghost Church’s basement July 21. The event was part of Dubuque High School Summer Service Days. (Photo by Dan Russo/The Witness)