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18-YEAR-OLD STUDENT IS ALSO TEACHER.

Byline: Sherry Joe Crosby Daily News Staff Writer

At 18, Karen English is one of the youngest instructors in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid in the Los Angeles chapter of the American Red Cross.

But you wouldn't know that from the amount of practice she's had.

Barely out of high school, the Saugus resident has demonstrated her skills at pools where she works as a part-time lifeguard and at local emergency-preparedness expositions, where she has impressed paramedics and other rescue workers with her knowledge and expertise.

In March she took her interest one step further and founded the Santa Clarita American Red Cross Youth Association, open to those 12 to 25 interested in learning CPR and first aid.

English was recently honored for her achievements by the American Red Cross, which gave her the Kathy Russell Award for young volunteers who have distinguished themselves in the organization.

``She thoroughly deserved it,'' said Diane Hill, office manager of the Santa Clarita branch of the American Red Cross. ``She's very young, but she's a qualified instructor.''

English, who just completed her first semester as an occupational therapy major at San Jose State University, said she was thrilled to receive the award.

``It was really exciting,'' said English, who became an CPR and first aid instructor in November 1995. She said she enjoys the challenge of teaching students who may speak little English or who have learning disabilities.

``You need to be able to talk to people in a group setting and overcome any barriers in trying to teach people,'' she said.

To become an instructor, English took 30 hours of courses in which she learned the philosophy and goals of the American Red Cross, basic first-aid skills and proper ways to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation to infants, other children and adults.

``Her dedication is absolutely amazing for someone her age,'' Hill said.

Red Cross volunteer instructors include paramedics, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers.

Hill said English's dedication shows in her instruction style. ``She's very patient and very professional in the way she does things,'' Hill said.

English became interested in CPR and first aid as a child tagging along with her father, who also volunteers for the Red Cross.

She has given first aid while serving as a lifeguard in Santa Clarita and San Jose. She also helped the local American Red Cross disaster team prepare food for victims of the Northridge Earthquake in January 1994.

``I helped prepare food for different shelters and helped open up a shelter at Saugus High,'' she said.

In her spare time, English volunteers with the American Red Cross in San Jose near the university and works with the local branch office during breaks from school.

``I like getting to meet different people and teach people,'' she said.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: (color) At 18, Karen English is a veteran first-aid instructor for the American Red Cross.

John Lazar/Special to the Daily News
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 22, 1996
Words:492
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