Justin Chan on leading Red Cross Club virtually


Photo courtesy of: Justin Chan

Red Cross Club President Justin Chan, ‘22, leads a virtual club meeting

This year, club presidents must rise to the challenge of gathering club members, setting up virtual meetings and organizing projects if they want their club to survive COVID-19. Without announcements every morning or in-person meetings, presidents are finding themselves struggling to accomplish what they normally would. 

Justin Chan, ‘22, is the president of the Red Cross Club. Along with running the club, he is taking AP courses and is on the WHHS robotics team. Many club leaders like Chan are juggling how to continue their club while balancing school and other extracurriculars.

Chan was inspired to start the Red Cross Club after attending a leadership development camp freshman year. He was helped by his parents and the leader of the camp, who taught him how to be a leader, a skill he has used countless times since then. Chan started the club last year and continues to volunteer for the Red Cross.

“I really loved the camp so I wanted to pass my love for Red Cross by creating the Red Cross Club at our school,” Chan said.

So far he has enjoyed his time as being club president while gaining important experiences. Although this year will be different Chan is ready to take up the challenge.

When asked about what he learned from being club president Chan said, “The leadership I’ve gained. I was a follower for most of my seventh through ninth grade years so it feels really good to lead a group of students.” 

With a few friends as his first members, he now has over 20 students in his club. Chan was able to get 15 new members this year through campaigning on their Instagram page @walnutredcrossclub and Schoology announcements. They are currently meeting via Google Meet.

Managing a growing club virtually is no easy feat. In order to grow his club this year, Chan had to learn to be open to all WHHS students, not just his friends. Having a larger club allows them to take on greater projects and become more well known. 

It can sometimes be a burden because I have to commit time to write announcements and prepare for presentations about my club. However, this has become more routine and easier for me as I become more experienced as a club president,” Chan said.

Although handling the club can be stressful at times, Chan finds having more members helps him out. He spends around two hours a week planning meetings, activities and more. To stay focused, he reminds himself of his goal and why he’s doing this during challenging times. 

“I always keep in mind that I am helping the Red Cross and making a difference in my community. The Red Cross is an organization I love working with and their mission of alleviating human suffering drives me to continue the Red Cross Club at Walnut,” Chan said.

Chan and other Red Cross Club members gave out Christmas cards at the Cincinnati VA hospital last year. (Photo courtesy of: Justin Chan)

Being a club leader affects the time he has to do other extracurriculars. Before starting the Red Cross Club he was a part of Academic Quiz Team, Science Olympiad and Model UN. He’s willing to sacrifice participating in other clubs to run his own. Chan also understands missing out on some social events or staying up late is worth it to maintain a successful club.

In addition to his club, Chan is challenging himself in other ways by taking multiple AP courses. These classes are difficult enough in person but some students are struggling to grasp material online.

His overall experience with remote learning is going well so far. He finds there to be a similar workload and is enjoying the schedule. However, like many students, he’s looking forward to the day school reopens. 

“There’s some bad days and there’s some good days. I think most of them are good days to be honest because there are many benefits for me, like getting outside more. On a non-remote school day I wouldn’t be able to do that, I’d probably be doing clubs and homework all day,” Chan said.

Chan likes to start his mornings before school with a run. He finds it keeps him more productive during the day. After school, he’s off to robotics practice, a club meeting or homework. 

Looking forward to robotics is one of the things that helps Chan get through the day. He gets to meet his friends in person and plans on pursuing robotics in college. 

Chan is also looking forward to virtual events his club is planning. Because there are more members now he is anticipating more participation in planning and volunteering opportunities. He’s currently working on planning a virtual card making event for veterans and something for underprivileged kids around Christmas time.

Chan’s advice to anyone who has recently started a club and aspiring club presidents would be to know it’s not an easy process. Between signing forms, getting approval and finding people to join it can definitely be intimidating. But he says not to let that stop you.

“Make sure the club you are founding is something you’re interested [in] and passionate about. For me, I’m really passionate about volunteering for the Red Cross so it makes sense for me to create a Red Cross club,” Chan said.