By Catherine Carlton and Breanna James
Over 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce are volunteers, their shared experiences often make them into fast and lifelong friends. Saturday (Feb. 11) is Make a Friend Day. What better result could a day have than making a friend?
Two remarkably unique volunteers contributed to this post. Different stages in life, different backgrounds, socioeconomic standing, etc. but these two women provide us with a common thread that needs to be reiterated more today: we are all humans. Red Cross volunteers are busy about the world being humanitarians and helping other humans on quite possibly the darkest days of their lives. But in the true human spirit, we encourage, we inspire, we motivate those that are facing challenges to simply put one foot in front of the other and keep getting up.
Volunteering at the Red Cross is a way to give back and help others, but by nature volunteering means helping yourself. You have the joy of making a difference in someone else’s life. And the secondary benefit is the friendships you form with the people you help and the people you volunteer alongside.
I’ve met dear friends through volunteering. Volunteering was an important lesson that I learned from my mom and my grandmother. Mom got me started very early on. At age 4, I started as a Pixie in Girl Scouts and learned about volunteering and friendship with my life-long friend, April. And it continues to be an important part of my life,” said Catherine, with volunteering through the Red Cross by writing this blog, serving as president of the Tarrant Area Food Bank board, working with MHMR Visions Foundation and supporting Camp Summit. I am grateful to help others in these small ways. And make many new friends along the way.
At The Red Cross, friendships are not only created in client-volunteer interactions, but especially between fellow volunteers. This is just one benefit of volunteering with The Red Cross.
Personally, starting my own journey at The Red Cross as an academic service learner, I was apprehensive to do so alone. It is intimidating stepping into a new space, and giving your time. I soon learned there was another academic service learner, and after collaborating on projects together, we realized we felt similar about volunteering and serving others.
There are so many ways to give of your time and to start to promote change in your community today.
- Blood services
- Blood Donor Recruiter-Work with individuals, groups and companies to recruit blood donors and promote blood drives.
- Blood Drive Volunteer-Greet and register blood donors.
- Driver- Pick up donated blood units from a blood drive and deliver to the laboratory to be thoroughly tested and then sent to the hospital.
- Disaster Services
- Disaster Action Team- Respond to single-family fires with a disaster action team supervisor.
- International Services
- International Tracing Services- Assist in the international search for persons living overseas, in war-torn countries or thought to be living in your community.
- Language Bank- Use your language skills translate!
- Nursing/Health care-More than 15,000 nurses are involved to provide disaster services, teach and develop courses, and they also manage blood drives. Use your nursing skills to give back too!
- Preparedness/Health and Safety- Help the Red Cross deliver emergency and first aid safety information directly to area communities and families by providing local disaster education or by teaching CPR and First Aid.
- Services for Military and Veteran Community-Many volunteers within this service umbrella lend a hand to patients at military hospitals . An armed forces caseworker ensures the delivery of emergency communications for military personnel and their families.
- And many more…
By The Numbers
- More than 400,000 services have been provided to military families
- More than 7 million people received disaster assistance internationally
- 15,000 plus nurses and nursing students volunteer
- More than 25,000 volunteers support Red Cross biomedical services
- 25% of volunteers are aged 24 and younger