Four Lakeville Area Schools students have spent the summer building leadership skills and overcoming great challenges by helping to organize Lakeville’s 3rd Annual City-Wide Blood Drive. Obsune Usso and Anna Wertenberger from Lakeville South High School and Agape Eshetu and Ella Hillis from Lakeville North High School served as student representatives in collaboration with the Lakeville Rotary Club to put together the blood drive. The drive will be held at the Lakeville Area Schools District Office (17630 Juniper Path, Lakeville, MN) on Tuesday, August 18. At the time of writing, all available donation slots have been filled!
The blood drive through Memorial Blood Centers will help replenish Minnesota’s and the nation’s blood supply, which is low as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each donation can save up to three lives.
The group’s primary focus in organizing the blood drive was on promotion. The students successfully reach their goal of having 300 donors sign up to donate blood, with a focus on getting more high school students to participate. Working with a committee of planners, all four students were able to provide their own perspectives as high schoolers to design a promotion plan that would appeal to their other high school peers.
Planning for this event began well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic became the biggest challenge the students faced as it shut down many of the facilities and events the group had planned to use to promote the blood drive. Despite the challenge, the group was able to recreate and update their promotion plan to be in line with health guidelines. This meant finding new ways to get the word out, including Zoom calls with student groups.
“As students eager to develop our leadership skills, this experience has taught us how to communicate effectively and plan with a purpose. We learned to have patience through our adversities and to be creative when it comes to problem solving,” the group said collectively.
Each student had their own reasons for wanting to help organize the blood drive.
“My dream has always been set on entering the medical field. My mom is a nurse, and from a young age she instilled in me the value of caring for others,” said Eshetu. “The demand for blood has always been considerably higher than the supply, and will continue to drop if something isn’t done to stop this trend.”
“I had always been donating blood, consistently every 52 days since my sophomore year school blood drive. It quickly became a passion of mine to give and I always wanted to get others included and into it as much as I was,” said Wertenberger.
“As someone who loves to delve into new territories and learn about new fields, I knew that this would be a great opportunity to expose myself to a new, meaningful experience. On top of that, I also consider myself to be an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Helping a community in any way possible is, and will always be, my lifelong goal. If giving blood is one way to do it, then you can absolutely count me in!” said Usso.
“I was told about this opportunity by an advisor from Student Voices. When it was explained to me, I was very interested due to the fact that I could be part of something bigger. The planning of it and getting to watch the event come together is something that I love. I also have wanted to be in the medical field for as long as I can remember, so helping in this manner is already fun and blood donations are constantly needed. I am happy that I found a way where I could do more to help my community and those in need of blood,” said Hillis.