JUNIOR RED CROSS
The school fund-Red Cross school activities-Steps in organization---Infant Welfare Unit for France financed by American women-Children's Refuge---Children's Bureau undertakes great work in France.
A new class of membership has been authorized by the American Red Cross known as Junior Red Cross Membership. It is open to all boys and girls of school age in attendance on public, private or parochial schools, or attending other organized educational centers, under direction acceptable to the Chapter School Committee, but only to such student body as a whole. In special cases, a Red Cross Chapter may accept the recommendation of the Chapter School Committee that one or more classes or grades of a school be permitted to organize as a School Auxiliary pending a more complete organization.
Junior Membership through the School Auxiliary is granted when, for this purpose, a sum equal to twenty-five cents for each pupil has been contributed to the Chapter School Fund, or when the school is pledged to prepare Red Cross supplies or engage in other Red Cross activities approved and supervised by the Chapter School Committee. These requirements should be based on the ability of the individual school to make a real contribution to Red Cross agencies, or to enter with loyalty and serious purpose into Red Cross school activities, as suggested by national headquarters.
This payment or pledge having been made and accepted, on application of the principal, the treasurer of the Chapter School Fund issues a certificate which entitles the school to be known as a School Auxiliary of the local chapter of the American Red Cross, and to display a special Red Cross banner bearing the name of the school and with space for recording succeeding years of membership. The pupils in the school now become Junior Members of the Red Cross and are entitled to wear the Red Cross membership button. The school principal, or his deputy, becomes chairman, and the teachers, members or officers of the School Auxiliary. Junior Membership is granted for the period of the school year, and renewals of membership should, therefore, be made as early in the school year as possible. School Auxiliaries may, for convenience, elect to organize through a branch or auxiliary of the Chapter, subject to general regulations.
The school fund is maintained chiefly for the purchase of materials to be made up into surgical and other supplies, by the school for the Red Cross. In instances where more money has been contributed than is necessary for these purposes, the money may be given for other uses of the Red Cross by vote of the School Committee of the Chapter.
The school fund is composed of Junior Membership dues and other contributions from any source. No part of it is diverted for Chapter use or for general expenses for the Red Cross. The treasurer of the School Fund acts under the instructions of the School Committee and reports annually to the Chapter; no further accounting is required. A School Auxiliary may make request of the School Committee for permission to draw upon the fund to the extent of its contribution, for its own Red Cross expenses, and the Committee will instruct the treasurer to grant this request.
The work of boys and girls for the Red Cross will vary widely in different localities. The training of mind and hand which must precede effective concerted action for community relief and betterment is the goal of the Red Cross, no less than the care of the sick and wounded. Such training involves al] the duties of citizenship. In general, it should be borne in mind that the educational aspect of the work for children is to be emphasized. It is suggested that in the early stage or organization, special attention be given to teaching the history of the Red Cross, its services to the nation and to other nations and its present organization for war service. For this, the Red Cross Magazine files are useful. In some centers story-tellers, songs and games have been employed to aid in this message. Lantern slides and moving pictures will shortly be ready, and may be secured through Red Cross Division Headquarters.
Courses in first aid, home nursing, and dietetics can be given to older pupils. All children should know, in an elementary way, the essentials of these subjects. They should also be taught how to meet emergencies, such as extinguishing a small fire, how to swim, and be given other exercises which will develop their presence of mind and resourcefulness. It is essential that school authorities in all cases should receive precise instructions from the Chapter School Committee before undertaking to prepare any articles for the Red Cross.
Boys and girls can frequently render service occupying but a brief period of the day, which will be of great value to the Chapter. This work may be done in complete cooperation with the older members. It includes aid in campaigns with posters, canvassing, distribution of circulars, gathering of magazines and books for soldiers, packing supplies, and many other tasks. In addition to these services to the Chapter, aid can be rendered the community in the safeguarding of health, care of property, regard for animals and birds, and in the performance of the like duties of every good citizen.
Under the supervision of Red Cross Directors of Home Service it is probable that Red Cross Junior Members will find much to do, in caring for others who have at this time special claim upon the assistance of the nation. This work should be most prudently carried on and never without full approval of the proper officers.
The following instructions for organizations are official:
To School Authorities: Obtain circulars and instructions from your Red Cross Division Headquarters.
Obtain the consent of the school principal before undertaking to organize any school Red Cross activities. Do not use the term "School Auxiliary" until your school has received permission to do so from the treasurer of the Chapter School Fund.
Ask your local Red Cross Chapter to appoint a school committee-composed mainly of school authorities-and a treasurer of the Chapter School Fund.
The Chapter furnishes buttons for Junior Members on application. Banners and other special insignia may be adopted by authorization of the Chapter School Committee.
Where request is made to the Division Manager, a state committee will be appointed to stimulate and aid in organizing School Auxiliaries.
To Chapters: Consult with school authorities in public and private schools before initiating steps of organization.
Apply to your Division Manager for information and permission to organize.
Secure for treasurer of the Chapter School Fund an official experienced in school administration.
Appoint to your Chapter School Committee persons qualified to arouse enthusiasm for the work and having adequate knowledge of local school opportunities for service.
General inquiries on methods of organization of Red Cross Junior Membership may be addressed to the office of the Division Manager. Special correspondence on matters affecting the national plan should be addressed to Dr. H. N. MacCracken, National Director of Junior Membership, American Red Cross, Washington, D. C.
On September 15, 1917, the President issued the following proclamation:
TO THE SCHOOL CHILDREN OF THE UNITED STATES
The President of the United States is also President of the American Red Cross. It is from these offices joined in one that I write you a word of greeting at this time when so many of you are beginning the school year.
The American Red Cross has just prepared a Junior Membership with School Activities in which every pupil in the United States can find a chance to serve our country. The school is the natural center of your life. Through it you can best work in the great cause of freedom to which we have all pledged ourselves.
Our Junior Red Cross will bring to you opportunities of service to your community and to other communities all over the world and guide your service with high and religious ideals. It will teach you how to save in order that suffering children elsewhere may have the chance to live. It will teach you how to prepare some of the supplies which wounded soldiers and homeless families lack. It will send to you through the Red Cross Bulletins the thrilling stories of relief and rescue. And best of all, more perfectly than through any of your other school lessons, you will learn by doing those kind things under your teacher's direction, to be the future good citizens of this great country which we all love.
And I commend to all school teachers in the country the simple plan which the American Red Cross has worked out to provide for your cooperation, knowing as I do that school children will give their best service under the direct guidance and instruction of their teachers. Is not this perhaps the chance for which you have been looking to give your time and efforts in some measure to meet our national needs.
( Signed )
September 15, 1917. President.
A group of specialists in infant welfare has been sent to France by the American Red Cross, and it will be a matter of pride to every American woman to know that this great undertaking was financed by an American woman, Mrs. William Lowell Putnam, of Boston. At its head is Dr. William P. Lucas, Professor of Pediatrics in the University of California, and originator of the "Save a Belgian Baby" movement.
Before the war the birth rate and death rate in France were so nearly equal that publicists voiced their concern over the future of the national life. Last year, however, with the death rate probably over 20 per 1000, not counting deaths of men in military service, the birth rate was officially estimated at only 8 per 1000. In New York State the birth rate is 23 or 24 per 1000, the death rate about 14 per 1000.
The total deaths in France in 1916 were about 1,100,000. Births numbered only 312,000. The net loss in population was 788,000 or nearly two per cent. of the whole. In Paris, where 48,917 babies were born in the year ending August 1, 1914, only 26,179 were born in the second year of the war, ending August 1, 1916.
"There is a crying need for effective work among children, " was the message that came from Major Grayson M. P. Murphy, head of the American Red Cross Commission in France. He reported a great need for doctors and nurses for work with mothers and children, and the Infant Welfare Unit is prepared to give such immediate relief as it can.
Dr. Lucas was accompanied by Dr. J. Morris Slemons, of the Yale Medical School, one of the best known of American obstetricians; Dr. Julius Parker Sedgwick, physiological chemist, professor at the University of Minnesota; Dr. John C. Baldwin,, specialist in diseases of children; Dr. Clain F. Gelston, Dr. Lucas's assistant at the University of California; Dr. N. O. Pearce, another specialist, and the following experts in sociology and child welfare work: Mrs. J. Morris Slemons, Mrs. William P. Lucas, Miss Elizabeth Ashe, and Miss Rosamond Gilder, daughter of the poet.
A month later Dr. Charles Ulysses Moore, of Portland, Oregon, was sent to France to reënforce the Infant Welfare Unit. With Dr. Moore went a group of sixteen nurses who have had special training in children's diseases and social welfare work. These reënforcements were sent in response to a cabled request from Major Murphy, under whose direction Dr. Lucas is working. In response to urgent cable requests from Major Murphy, a third detachment of child welfare doctors and nurses sailed for France a short time later.
Physicians and child specialists included in the party were Dr. J. H. Mason Knox, Jr., of Baltimore; Dr. John B. Manning, of Seattle; Dr. Florence Chapman Child, of Philadelphia; Dr. Edmund J. Labbe, of Portland, Ore., professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oregon; Dr. Ethel Lyon Heard, of Galveston, Tex.; Dr. Helen H. Woodroffe, of Ocean Park, Cal.; Dr. Dorothy Child, of Philadelphia; Dr. O. H. Sellenings, of Columbus, O. and Dr. Hugh Heaton, of Melstone, Mont. There were also nine or ten Red Cross nurses.
"The demand for children's specialists," Major Murphy cabled, "far exceeds expectations. The original unit is now serving three different localities to meet the urgent demands for help. These calls come from the devastated area and elsewhere in France."
The American specialists made a survey of the situation and studied the work already being done by the French. They practice without receiving compensation from patients. The task before the Red Cross, which will be carried on by this and succeeding units, is not only to cooperate with French specialists but also to carry on a general educational campaign among French mothers in the interest of better prenatal hygiene and scientific feeding and care of the babies. Special efforts will be made to protect children from tubercular infection, which is particularly threatening France today as a result of trench warfare. Efforts will be made to decrease the present death rate among children under two years of age, which, with the falling birth rate, threatens rapidly to depopulate the country. It is expected that doctors and nurses will be assigned to service at all the points of greatest need in France. They are to be stationed in groups of two or more at leading hospitals from which house to house work and educational campaigns can be conducted, both in the cities and through the country districts.
The Red Cross has established a children's refuge near Toul where seven hundred and fifty boys and girls, from nearby villages which have been under bombardment, are now being kept safe from gas attacks under expert medical care, in cooperation with the French government. In Belgium the Red Cross, together with the Rockefeller Foundation, is preparing to care for between five and six thousand children.
The work of the Children's Bureau is described a follows:
"The Children's Bureau in the Department of Civil Affairs of the Red Cross Commission to France received an appeal from Nesle through Monsieur and Madame Amedee Vernes of the French Red Cross for aid among the children of their district and the group of villages to the north and west.
"In response, an expert from the Children's Bureau, a specialist in children's diseases from Johns Hopkins Hospital, was sent immediately to investigate the conditions. He visited the region in company with Monsieur Amedee Vernes and found villages looted and burned, with all buildings destroyed. He found more than one thousand children practically with no medical care, all miserably dirty, and one-half of whom were infected with skin or eye lesions, and many actually ill.
"The equipment for any medical care was extremely meager; one old hospital stripped of all its apparatus, one aged civilian doctor left without drugs or means of getting them, villages to look after besides his army duties, and one midwife fairly intelligent who might help. 'Twas an acute situation.
"Nesle immediately offered a tuberculosis pavilion, now unused, for the Red Cross headquarters if the American Red Cross would help. The doctor's recommendations upon his return were immediately accepted.
"The Children's Bureau began work by installing a central depot at Nesle with ten beds as a clearinghouse for the district, and by equipping an automobile as a traveling dispensary, with shower baths. The cars visit the villages on a daily round with one good trained nurse and two aides."
Chapter XIV. National League for Woman's Service
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