Southern California teen earns Red Cross leadership award

September 11, 2014

Karla Altamirano of Los Angeles has been named the American Red Cross Southern California Blood Services Region’s High School Leadership Award winner for 2014.Karla Altamirano

The High School Leadership program focuses on educating, recognizing and rewarding youth for their support of the Red Cross and the hospitals and patients it serves. Students have the opportunity to receive a college recommendation letter from a local Red Cross executive, a Red Cross red cord to wear at graduation, and the chance to win a $5,000 scholarship.

Altamirano, a 2014 graduate of Academia Avance Charter High School, is entering her freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley where she plans to study neurobiology.

When asked about what attracted her to volunteer with the Red Cross, Altamirano says it was a combination of several things.

“I was involved with my high school's first blood drive. I found it very interesting and committed to volunteering at other Red Cross locations,” said Altamirano. “I also knew that my work at the Red Cross (managing the front desk as a blood drive assistant) would improve my communication skills.”

Altamirano donated blood three times, logged 13 hours of volunteer service and referred six new donors to donate during the 2013-14 school year.

The Red Cross believes the sky is the limit for the talented 17-year old.

“Karla is a natural leader, and we are proud to have her represent the Southern California Blood Services Region,” said Chief Executive Officer Darrin Greenlee. “She embodies the best of what our young people bring to the table. Her drive and energy is apparent in all she does and I’m sure it will carry her on to great things in the future.”

In her free time, she enjoys softball, swimming and boxing. She also likes meeting new people, dancing and watching scary movies.

Altamirano has words of encouragement for teens considering volunteer work with the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross helps save lives and has many programs that cater to teens,” said Altamirano. “I would also tell them to learn as much as they can while they are there because the Red Cross can be a path to spark interest in future goals.”

For more information on the High School Leadership Program visit