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About Your American Red Cross

I’m sure every man, woman, and undoubtedly some children have heard of the Red Cross in America, but I wonder if everyone actually knows what that Red Cross symbolizes, or what the organization does? Until I started to research the American Red Cross, I knew some, but not all of the facts associated with this all-encompassing group of dedicated volunteers who step in any time disaster strikes. I have even donated a time or two, but other than that gave little thought to the power behind the group.

 

Blood Drives 

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You probably already know about the blood drives that are conducted in your community, and you may have donated your own blood to the cause. But did you know that over 4 million people line up each year to donate? And that these donations account for over 40% of the blood supply in America alone? Imagine that! I must say that these facts really surprised me. I knew the figures were high, but 40%? That’s a lot of blood being given, isn’t it? Of course, since I am curious by nature, I decided to delve a little further into gathering information about the Red Cross.

 

Great Response Rate to All Disasters

I found that this group responds to all disasters, not just the really big ones that warrant television news coverage. If there is a fire in a local community, the Red Cross steps up to offer their assistance in any way they can. Providing meals, helping to relocate victims who have lost their homes, making sure families stay together and have food, clothing, and shelter until they can get back on their feet. I did not know it was the Red Cross that made all this possible! So, maybe you are thinking that this is not such a “big deal.” Or that there are lots of groups that step in to assist these people. In actuality, no group is as large as this one or has as many volunteers, or has such a long history of helping those who have been affected by disasters.

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Relief agencies like the American Red Cross say monetary donations give them the greatest flexibility to address victims’ needs.

For instance, I did not know the Red Cross has been in existence since 1881. Or that it had been founded in Washington by someone named Clara Barton. Oh, I had heard the name, but quite obviously missed the connection. She led the organization for 23 years, and successfully campaigned for ratification of the Geneva Convention that protected the servicemen who were injured during wartime. She achieved that goal in 1882. Under her guidance the US conducted their first overseas disaster relief efforts. Amazing woman, yes?

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Now, please don’t think that I am preaching about the Red Cross organization – that is not the purpose of this blog! I just want to bring some of the lesser known facts to the attention of those who may not fully understand what this wonderful group does. I know that I learned quite a bit that I didn’t know, even though I thought I knew all about the group. I guess I always assumed that the only time they stepped in was after a huge natural disaster-like a flood, hurricane, or tornado. Wrong on all counts, and I admit it. So, I think I am going to try to learn a little more about this organization that so willingly provides disaster relief to help so many people in light of any tragedy that could possibly happen. So, yes, you can look forward to reading more about the Red Cross in America in my upcoming blogs. Hope you enjoy it!

 

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Red Cross Volunteer Jobs

You may want to know what kinds of jobs are available on a volunteer basis with the Red Cross, so I have put together a list of what I could find. Hopefully, this list may have something that you are interested in if you have been thinking about volunteering some of your time. Check it out to see the typical jobs available, because the Red Cross is always looking for people who have varied backgrounds in different areas.

Board Members

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By becoming a board member, you will become a spokesperson for the Red Cross in your local community. You will also be able to assist with fund raising efforts and various marketing programs.

6271: Red Cross volunteers Kelli Corkins and Charles Richardson deliver snacks and provide comfort to the children at Grove Park Apartments where Tropical Storm Hanna caused flooding and power outages. The aftermath of the storm prevented the children from using their playground area which was immersed in flood water. Additional info: Tropical Storm Hanna Flooding at Grove Park Apartments 2609 Mcneill St Raleigh, North Carolina (NC) 27608 Kelli Corkins – American Red Cross volunteer Charles Richardson – American Red Cross volunteer he Red Cross visited Grove Park Apartment complex in Raleigh, NC, where Tropical Storm Hanna caused substantial flooding. Going door to door, Red Cross volunteers conducted damage assessments by asking residents if their homes were damaged by flooding or power outages. Many of the residents did not sustain damage to their homes but the surrounding property, including the parking lot, playground and air-conditioning units, were submerged in murky water with swarms of mosquitoes. While conducting damage assessments, Red Cross volunteers handed out snacks and provided comfort to the younger Grove Park Apartment residents who gathered outside. The aftermath of Tropical Storm Hanna prevented them from using their playground area which was immersed in flood water. “Red Cross volunteers Kelli Corkins and Charles Richardson deliver snacks to the children at Grove Park Apartments.”

Volunteer Management

This job would require you to assist in recruiting new members and help place them in areas where they are most needed.

Hospital Volunteer

Hospital volunteers assist patients at military hospitals, and also lend a hand at the local Veterans Administration service.

Babysitting Course Instructor

Become certified to teach the Red Cross Babysitting course to teens in your area.

Disaster Preparedness Instructor/Presenter

You will be able to instruct families and groups how to prepare for a potential disaster before it happens

Philippine Red Cross volunteers take to the streets to clean up after the Manila floods. From emergency relief to the post-flood clean-up, Philippine Red Cross volunteers where involved. Photo: Joe Cropp/IFRC

Disaster Services Volunteer

Once you are trained, you will assist other volunteers in providing food, shelter and other resources to families who have been affected by a disaster. Scenarios might include a fire, flood, hurricane or tornado.

Disaster Action Team Member

Volunteers who are a member of this team are ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice when there is any disaster.

Health/Safety Instructor

If you are certified, you can instruct groups of people on how to perform CPR, First Aid, and swimming and water safety.

American Red Cross volunteer Pam Rogers with Victoria Key, 5, at the Red Cross Shelter at Belk Activity Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

First Aid Team Volunteer

The team sponsors events throughout the year to bring awareness to the community concerning the Red Cross and the need for volunteers.

School Clubs

Both students and teachers from grade school through college participate in Red Cross programs and have clubs within the schools that belong to the society.

Red Cross Ready

This is a short 10-minute quiz that enables you and your own family to prepare a disaster plan of your own should the time ever come when you would need it.

Blood Drive Coordinator

You will be the person who greets blood donors when they come in to donate and helps them to register.

Blood Donor Recruiter

You will work with businesses, companies, and individuals to promote upcoming blood drives and sign up donors.

Staff Supporter

There are dozens of tasks that need to be done in this area. You may be asked to stock shelves, check existing inventories, run errands or make deliveries.

Public Speaker

As a public speaker you would set up presentations in and around the community to educate the public about the Red Cross mission and its many services.

Clerical Volunteer

Your duties would be to assist the administrative members with filing, typing, and other office-related tasks.

As you can clearly see from this list there are numerous ways you can assist your local chapter of the American Red Cross if you want volunteer some of your time and knowledge. As I stated, this is only a partial list of volunteer opportunities, and there are many more ways you can give back by becoming a member of the Red Cross Society. It’s a chance to help your local communities, and gain a personal satisfaction by knowing you are assisting those in need. Go! Volunteer!

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