Scholarships offered for blood drives

With the school year well under way, New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of the New York Blood Center, is encouraging students, teachers and faculty to organize blood drives and to present related educational programs that teach leadership skills and focus on community service.

NJBS offers scholarships for high school students who initiate and coordinate successful blood drives at their schools and in their communities. High schools willing to host two blood drives per school year will receive a $250 scholarship for one student, or two scholarships at $250 each if three blood drives are held.

Students who independently organize and introduce a new blood drive within their community may earn a $250 scholarship if the drive yields at least 30 blood donations, and a $500 scholarship if it yields 50 or more donations.

Some scholarship funding is also available to college level students, but only for community drives at critical times of the year.

According to a press release, organizing a blood drive can be a thoughtful way of honoring someone special within the school community, or holding a memorial drive for a deceased teacher or principal. Over the years, hundreds of blood drives have been dedicated to students, faculty and community members in various ways.

NJBS also offers the Little Doctors program for elementary students which is now in its 13th year. As part of the program, fourth and fifth grade students participate in a special lesson about the lifesaving properties of blood and how it is used in their community.

They then recruit family members and neighbors to donate blood at a drive to be held at their school. On the day of the blood drive, the students are outfitted in hospital scrubs and serve as “Little Doctors,” greeting donors and serving post-donation refreshments.

The Little Doctors program provides students an opportunity to learn from the experience of organizing and planning a community blood drive. It offers a learning experience for students, their families, and residents in the surrounding communities, according to the press release. For additional information about organizing a school or community blood drive, including scholarship benefits, or to have the Little Doctors program introduced in a school, contact Marie Forrestal at 732-616-0798.