When Dan Janssen visited Bergen, Norway, he noticed a lot of red boxes throughout his hike. After talking to some of the locals, Dan realized the boxes were sponsored, promoted and maintained by the Red Cross. This sparked an idea for Dan — he wanted to start making a difference in Queensbury.
Janssen became a Physician Assistant and began focusing on helping other people after a life changing bike accident 15 years ago. “I discovered the power of helping myself by helping others,” said Janssen.
After Janssen’s daughter Ava tried many clubs at Queensbury, he decided to work with his daughter and establish the Queensbury Red Cross Club. The club, which was approved by both the Queensbury Union Free School District and the American Red Cross, has a simple motto: Help the world. Hang with friends. Have fun.
At its meeting on April 16, the club had a unique opportunity. They were able to Skype with Siri Oldervik, Leader of Red Cross Youth, in Bergen, Norway. Janssen gave an overview of the club and students were able to tell Siri things they’ve accomplished and what is on the horizon.
“It’s really cool to talk to someone from Norway,” said eighth grader Carter Jackson. “It definitely makes me want to work harder. The club was appealing because the Red Cross is a gateway to the medical field. It’s good to have the Red Cross Club in our school.”
Since its inception, the club has refurbished first aid kits that are now in use in emergency response vehicles, visited the Red Cross office in Glens Falls, learned about fire safety/CPR and participated in the Pillowcase Project – a free disaster preparedness program inspired by the story of local university students carrying their belongings in pillowcases during Hurricane Katrina evacuations.
The club is planning the first annual Health Fair focusing on mental health and wellness. The fair will take place on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Queensbury Middle School and will feature exhibits, speakers and demonstration classes.
In the future, the club hopes to work with Siri and plan a trip to Norway to continue its mission of helping the world. Janssen is excited for the club’s future and hopes the club will expand as the current members move to high school.
“The club, as part of the Red Cross, strives to prevent and alleviate suffering,” said club advisor Dan Janssen. “We hope to further leadership and purpose through service to our community, country and the rest of the world.”