David Acevedo, a freshman at and a member of the BSA Troop 173 out of , knows well enough about the importance of blood transfusions and the need for volunteers.
His grandfather became sick with a recurring bleeding ulcer and required five blood transfusions over the last year, he said.
"It is my goal to get the word out and bring in as many donors as possible," he said. "Blood drives are particularly difficult to run during the winter. Winter weather, holiday fatigue and lack of advertising make it extremely difficult to be successful."
David, 14, has taken on the responsibility of holding and advertising a blood drive on Jan. 10, 2012, as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project, which he began just after Thanksgiving.
"I chose to take on the advertising of the Lakeland Blood Drive because I wanted to help to increase the number of donors," he said. "I spoke to Miss Michelle Reuter, a teacher at , and decided to take on the task of advertising because she felt that she did not do enough promoting of her own. By promoting and "spreading the word" I hope to increase the number of donors by at least 25 percent."
The first phase of the boy's project was a food drive to benefit the community pantry at in Mohegan Lake. He held two food drives earlier this month, one at supermarket in Yorktown Heights where he and his fellow scouts collected 410 items of food. The second food drive was at in Jefferson Valley where the boys collected 525 items.
The food items were then used to prepare Christmas meals for the community pantry's distribution, he said. A third food drive was held on Dec. 17 at the in the Triangle Center.
"Participating and leading the food drives has been a rewarding experience for me," David said. "It has shown me that even in the troubled economy, people were very generous. It made me feel good."
David said he was at the community pantry with his family where they separated and categorized the food for distribution.
"I was truly amazed at how it was run," he said. "The love and compassion of everyone volunteering their time was unbelievable. There were some Girl Scouts doing community service as well as students from Walter Panas High School. I feel truly blessed to have what I have, but I also feel that those in need will be well taken care as long as the pantry continues to grow."
David said he had been preparing flyers and gathering volunteers to help him with his projects.
"I was nervous because the holidays are here and everyone is so busy," he said. "Much to my surprise, my friends, teammates and fellow scouts showed up to help. I am gathering volunteers to help me distribute the flyers as well as help as greeters and escorts at the drive itself."
David is currently a Life Scout pursuing his Eagle Scout Rank. Outside of scouting he is a member of the National Junior Honor Society from the middle school and he said he will be pursuing the National Honor Society at Lakeland High School.
He is also actively involved with sports and played travel soccer for Yorktown Youth Soccer Club for years and recently finished his first season of Junior Varsity Soccer at Lakeland High School. He is also a member of the travel soccer for Shrub Oak and is involved with the youth referee program sponsored by Yorktown Youth Soccer Club.
"This has taught me the importance of a mature work ethic and the desire to better myself as a soccer player and a referee," David said. "I enjoy teaching the younger players as well."
For the last two years, David has also been a trainer for the Yorktown Youth Soccer Bantam Division."
The blood drive, run by Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School in conjunction with the New York Blood Center, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.