Camas teen leads by example

Kenny Kim is president of the Red Cross regional youth council

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An aspiring medical professional is enjoying his time serving as president of the American Red Cross of Southwest Washington Youth Council.

Kendrick “Kenny” Kim, 17, of Camas, has been on the council for two years. Before that time, he volunteered to assist with Red Cross office tasks and he cleaned the faces of mannequins that were used in CPR classes.

Kim then became a member of the Red Cross Club at Mountain View High School, before he applied to serve as a member of the youth council.

That involved submitting an application, as well as a teacher’s recommendation, to the executive board of the council.

The board, along with an advisor, review applications each spring.

“The purpose [of the youth council] is to bring together all the school clubs and let the community know the youth are still out there, and we are able to weave ourselves into the community,” Kim said.

The youth council meets monthly to discuss projects. Recent activities have included baking, decorating and packaging cookies for Marines in Okinawa and Air Force personnel serving in Afghanistan. Also in December, students visited with and gave cookies to patients at the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, in Vancouver.

On Halloween, Kim was among the Youth Council members participating in the “Trick or Treat for Disaster” effort, which raised more than $3,500 to help people displaced from their homes by fires, floods and storm-related incidents.

Kim is a certified CPR and first aid instructor for the American Red Cross.

“I enjoy being able to work with other people who share an interest in helping others,” he said. “It’s a good social and bonding time. It is heartwarming. Your work is able to help other people, even if you are not able to see it.

“I feel a lot of people have free time on their hands, and I just enjoy spending it preparing those to help save lives or helping those in need,” Kim added.

There are efforts underway to set up an American Red Cross Club at Camas High School for the 2012-13 school year. Interest from students and faculty at Washougal High School is also welcomed.

In addition to Mountain View and the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, there are Red Cross clubs at Union, Evergreen, Fort Vancouver, Skyview, Hudson’s Bay, Columbia River, La Center, Battle Ground and Prairie high schools.

The youth council is currently working on a leadership development conference for members of the area Red Cross clubs that will be held in March, at Fort Vancouver High School.“We give leadership workshops and teach them how to connect better and become more involved with their community,” Kim said.

The conference includes guest speakers and team building activities, as well as opportunities to become certified in CPR and first aid.

Kim, son of Lance and Minjung Kim, plans to graduate from Mountain View in June and major in biochemistry in college.

For more information about American Red Cross youth opportunities, call 693-5821 or visit www.swwredcross.org/youth-services.