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Press Release for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

UNF Student Wins National Red Cross Youth Leadership Award

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

University of North Florida sophomore Max Ervanian was recently presented the Navin Narayan Award for Youth Leadership, which is given to recipients who have demonstrated a strong track record of leading and inspiring fellow Red Cross volunteers, creating a positive impact on the community and exemplifying dedication to the Red Cross mission.

Ervanian, 20, is a Ponte Vedra Beach resident and received the award during the American Red Cross National Award Banquet, held in Washington, D.C. February 17. The youth leadership award is presented to an American Red Cross volunteer between the ages of 14 and 24 who has volunteered with the Red Cross for at least two years and served in a leadership capacity. He was the only recipient this year to have received the award.

“Receiving the Narayan Award for Excellence in Youth Leadership was beyond an honor. Flying to Washington D.C. to receive the award and the opportunities I was able to have to meet and talk to such incredible leaders who have the same passion and ideas that I have in humanitarian aid was far more than I could ever imagine,” he said.

In 2014, Ervanian, who joined the Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps at age 15, was selected to receive the Northeast Florida Chapter’s Volunteer of the Year award for his outstanding leadership, community outreach and life-saving services with the Red Cross Life Saving Corps. In four years with the VLSC, he has amassed a record of 1,837 volunteer hours, handled 49 first aid cases, assisted seven swimmers in peril and conducted five life-saving water rescues.

His impressive qualifications as a Red Cross Instructor, emergency medical responder and experienced life-saver opened doors in area public schools, local government and community organizations, leading him to conduct more than 10,000 health and safety presentations to Beaches area residents and course instruction for an additional 300 Red Cross students.


Ervanian, a special education major at UNF, currently serves as the Jacksonville Beach Ocean’s Rescue Prevention and Training Officer, where he applies his instruction skills with professional rescuers. Because he serves as a volunteer with both Fire and Rescue and Red Cross, he has made significant improvements in the communications between these agencies and local police. He has also led changes in protocols in the management of patients, from water rescue to turnover to city rescue personnel. This has included integrating his special education experience and Red Cross mental health first aid training to assist responders in improving responder/patient relations and communications.

On campus, Ervanian is a member of the UNF Best Buddies, UNF Club Red (a Red Cross college club) and On-Campus Transition Program, an innovative program that provides young adults with intellectual disabilities the unique opportunity of having a transformational college experience as an integral part of their transition to independence. He also works as residential support staff at UNF and volunteers as an office manager and mentor.

His aspirations for his professional future are to combine his passion for first response with his deep commitment to serving the needs of those with disabilities. At the same time, he wants to continue to learn and grow as a Red Cross volunteer and leader.

“I plan on using my knowledge and experience that I will gain at UNF in the field of teaching to continue teaching life-saving classes as well as to help train and teach employees in fields that I master,” said Ervanian.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.



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