This summer, Near West Side Partners will be hosting a weekly webinar series on Facebook Live each Friday at 2:00 p.m. This week’s webinar was hosted by NWSP’s own Barb Scotty, who was joined by Justin Kern: Milwaukee’s Regional Communications Officer for the American Red Cross.

Pictured above: Regional Communications Officer Justin Kern discussing the American Red Cross on Near West Side Partners’ weekly Facebook Live webinar.

The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization that works with communities across the United States to provide vital services, such as home fire relief, hurricane relief, support for Military Families, and most famously: blood donation.

Each year, the American Red Cross collects 40% of America’s donated blood and one donation alone can potentially save up to three lives. Although many local and nation-wide blood drives have been canceled because of COVID-19, Kern says the American Red Cross still “encourages anyone to donate blood wherever you can.” It is very easy to schedule a donation appointment and you can choose from a variety of times that fit best with your schedule.

If you are interested in making a day out of your donation, the American Red Cross is sponsoring a three day blood drive at the Milwaukee County Zoo at the end of this month! Perks of donating include a free same-day admission pass to the zoo, free parking, a goodie bag, and the fulfillment of knowing your donation will help save lives. The blood drive is June 29, June 30, and July 1 and you can find more information about making an appointment here.

In addition to local blood drives, the American Red Cross has been partnering with the Milwaukee Rec to offer $5 swimming lessons at various MPS pools around the city. This past winter, nearly 400 swimmers were able to experience lessons at this affordable price, though the program is currently on hold because of COVID-19. Kern said the Red Cross hopes to have the program back up and running by August 3, but be sure to check for updates on their Facebook page.

In the meantime, the Red Cross also offers a free app available on the App Store called: “Swim by American Red Cross,” which offers video lessons and training trackers for children and adults to help them feel safer while in the water.

Finally, Kern wanted to share the many volunteer opportunities that are available through the American Red Cross. Volunteers carry out more than 90% of all humanitarian work of the Red Cross and they are always looking for people to help out. To learn about the different ways to get involved, click here.

Special thanks to Justin Kern for joining Near West Side Partners’ weekly webinar series and to watch the full interview, please visit our Facebook page here.

Be sure to tune into the weekly Facebook Live webinars for the rest of the summer on Fridays at 2:00 p.m.!

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