Sorry Batman, you didn’t make the cut. When the Business and Marketing class students at Edgewood High School brainstormed about the best way to inspire classmates to donate at their annual fall blood drive, nothing said superhero like Superman.
That’s why all volunteers at the Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive Friday, Nov. 8 at Edgewood wore royal blue t-shirts emblazoned with the red and yellow Superman “S” shield and the blood drive slogan, “You Don’t Have to be a Superman to Save Lives.”
“We typed in blood themes in the computer and it was actually Batman, but we changed it to Superman because we thought it was neat!” said marketing class senior and five-time blood donor Dylan Mays. He wore a pair of Superman socks to match his t-shirt as he checked in donors arriving for the blood drive on the top floor of the Edgewood gym.
Designing a t-shirt is one of many ways students learn to collaborate in Jennifer Chiltman’s Business and Marketing class. She took over as blood drive coordinator five years ago when she first started teaching the class. “We make it into a project for them” she said. “They come up with a theme and the recruitment materials. The kids have to contact businesses in the community and get people involved. They put together a budget, a plan for recruiting donors, a menu for the Donor Café, and they also have to write a news story.”
Local businesses responded by donating more than $200 in gift cards, which the marketing team used to stock up on extra goodies for the Donor Café and door prizes.
“Before I took marketing I didn’t really know about communicating with people. I didn’t do it very well,” said senior Chelsey Hill, who made her 4th lifetime donation at the blood drive. “We have to do a lot of presentations and interactions. It really keeps you on your feet!”
The marketing class recruiting efforts also paid off with a full schedule of appointments. “I have a lot of friends in the marketing class,” said first-time donor Tyler McDaniel. “Each year I filled out the papers but forgot to turn them in. This year I made sure I did it.”
Junior Tricia Woodrey also made her first lifetime donation at the fall blood drive. Her inspiration to be a superhero came from home. “I was kind of challenged because I’m deathly afraid of needles,” she said. “My dad’s a fireman and my mom works at a hospital and they both said I couldn’t do it. I think they kind of knew that would make me want to!”
Upperclassmen do most of the organizing work for the blood drive, while younger students handle basic chores and gain valuable experience. “They have to think about what they see and what they can improve upon,” said Jennifer. There are many examples of how the “research and development” approach has paid off.
“One of the first things, we created a form,” Jennifer said. “Students fill it out and the marketing class volunteers enter the information into the computer. It helped to be able to look at their schedules and teachers. Some are easier to work out schedules for being out of class to donate.”
Some ideas were popular right from the start, like the tradition of posting the names of all donors on a “wall of fame” for classmates to see. Keeping with the blood drive Superman theme, the donors wrote their names on cardboard Superman shields.
“I like the feeling of helping people, even if I don’t know them,” said Chelsey Hill as she wrote her name on her Superman shield. She’s more than ready to help with Edgewood’s next campus blood drive in the spring, when she will probably make her 5th lifetime donation. “I know,” she said, “and I’m excited!”