For more than four years, Amy Leopold has been a committed Red Cross volunteer. And this year, her commitment was recognized by receiving the American Red Cross’s 2023 Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership. The award is a prestigious honor presented to a youth volunteer who demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and Red Cross service. Among the 100,000 youth volunteers serving with the Red Cross across the country, only one receives the award each year.
Ms. Leopold began volunteering as part of her Community Day volunteer requirement at The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. She felt so drawn to the Red Cross mission that she became a youth board member at her local Red Cross chapter, also in Duluth. Since then, she has participated in more than a dozen different Red Cross program areas, ranging from smoke alarm installation, Veteran ‘stand down’ events, and hands-only CPR to Disaster Action Team response and calling blood donors. She has mentored several other students from her college, resulting in more than 20 new volunteers, and she puts her writing skills to important use through ‘thank you’ letters to volunteers, financial donors and partners that support the Red Cross mission.
“Whether through social media or her willingness to share her story, Amy consistently demonstrates to the community and her peers that there is a place in the Red Cross for young volunteers,” said Dan Williams, executive director of the American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota. “She is an outstanding youth leader who continues to work to change the way youth in our Red Cross region connect with our humanitarian mission.”
Leopold was also honored this year with the Northern Minnesota Red Cross chapter’s “Marguerite Grams Memorial Leadership Award” in recognition of exemplary leadership skills for her service as chair of the chapter’s mission committee.
The Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership
Navin Narayan, a former chair of the American Red Cross National Youth Council, was a dedicated, compassionate and innovative youth volunteer. Mr. Narayan began his involvement with the Red Cross when he was only 14 years old by cleaning mannequins used to teach CPR, and quickly sought ways to become more involved. As a national disaster relief volunteer and trainer, international speaker on human rights, and tireless advocate for Red Cross causes, he changed the way youth are now connected to the American Red Cross. Tragically, at the age of 23, Mr. Narayan lost his battle with a rare form of cancer, but his legacy continues to live on through two honors the American Red Cross currently gives to youth volunteers in his name: the Navin Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership and the Navin Narayan College Scholarship.
Learn more about Red Cross volunteer opportunities for youth.