The Shah children have learned from their parents the importance of giving back to the community. Their volunteer efforts speak volumes for the three children who have served countless hours with the American Red Cross.
"The entire family is just delightful," said Lynn Reese, the director of Volunteers and Youth Services for the American Red Cross' Augusta chapter.
Reese has worked with sisters Purvi and Rachna Shah and now has younger brother Vic as president of the youth board.
"Both of his older sisters were very active Red Cross volunteers, so it was only natural that Vic would join the youth board when he was old enough," Reese said. "Vic is an outstanding student, leader and person. His commitment, energy and vision set him apart."
Vic, a senior at Lakeside High School, will head to Athens in the fall to attend the University of Georgia. He will visit the college town this summer to meet local Red Cross officials, school leaders and teachers, all of whom have one goal in mind: "jump-starting" the Red Cross youth program in Athens.
Oldest sister Purvi, now a physician assistant student at the Medical College of Georgia, created the youth program while a student at UGA. The program has lost momentum since Purvi began it seven years ago, and Vic hopes to breathe life back into it.
"Purvi gathered up a strong group of youths from the area," said Vic, the son of Kiran and Chandrika Shah of Evans. "Basically, she made the board on her own without being paid, which is pretty impressive."
Vic Shah, a senior at Lakeside High School, is the president of the youth board of the American Red Cross' Augusta chapter.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"Towards the end of high school, the Red Cross composed a huge part of my life," said Purvi, who has volunteered with the organization for 11 years. "Once I went off to college, I began working with the Athens Red Cross Chapter because I really enjoyed working with the organization and would have felt lost without it in my life.
"For me, Red Cross has helped me grow in so many ways - personally and professionally, and I was able to continue to give back to my community."
She sent out a letter to guidance counselors at area high schools, who recommended students to serve on the youth board.
"I put the word out and eventually had a small group of young adults ranging from 14 to 17," said Purvi, who is the youngest member on the Augusta Red Cross' Board of Directors. "For me, this was quite a different role. I went from just being a youth volunteer to being a mentor/director of a youth program."
Purvi hopes Vic will have the same experience she did when he gets to Athens.
"I am excited that he has found a niche within a fantastic organization like the Red Cross," she said. "I would hope he stays involved within the Red Cross and realizes that local and state involvement is just the tip of the iceberg: there is still the national level.
"I hope the Red Cross continues to open doors and opportunities for him as it has for me."
Vic, a Red Cross volunteer for the past six years, said he sees the need to continue his relationship with the organization
"I feel like I need to give back to the Red Cross because they've given me so much," he said. "They took me in at a young age and treated me like an adult. I think it's pretty important to educate youth, and that is the message I want to get across."
Vic's ultimate goal is to become involved in the Red Cross at the national level, a position he will apply for in a few years. In the meantime, he hopes to build a core group of 30 to 45 young boys and girls to serve with the youth program in Athens.
"My parents instilled in me the importance of giving back to the community," said Vic, who will major in science and accounting while pursuing a degree in pre-law. "And the Red Cross is the organization I want to work through to do that."
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