Thursday, January 31, 2013

Time to Register for the American Red Cross International Institute

Mary (Jacoby) Hastings
By Mary (Jacoby) Hastings

The Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross is hosting an International Institute Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at 444 Sherman Street, Denver, CO. Those attending will have an opportunity to learn about three very important international programs administered by the American Red Cross that change lives every day.

On Saturday, participants will be introduced to the Restoring Family Links program, which was created to help families find loved ones separated by natural and man-made disasters, including civil wars around the world. Day one provides the starting point and offers strategies and ideas for community outreach with an understanding of what it means to say, Keeping Families Together When They Are Worlds Apart. Participants will learn the skills and procedures to undertake when initiating Restoring Family Links inquiries, conducting searches for clients in their community, delivering Red Cross messages and other family news, and also have the opportunity to work through several case examples. Email Tim Bothe at to register for this day.

The first session on Sunday will involve education on the Measles & Rubella Initiative, a global partnership committed to ensuring that no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. Measles is a leading cause of death and disability among young children worldwide, even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available. This course raises awareness of the work that still needs to be done as 380 children still die each day from this preventable disease.

During the second session on Sunday participants will learn about International Humanitarian Law: Humanity in the Midst of War. The program raises awareness about the Geneva Conventions, the basic rules of international humanitarian law, and the role of the Red Cross during armed conflict.

Participants are to self-register for day two utilizing SABA LMS (

Click on “Advanced Search”; Enter Zip Code; Radius and Dates, and select “International Services Training” as a category. Click “Search Learning Catalog” and register. If you have difficult registering, please contact Tim Bothe at

It's Superbowl Weekend...(Even Though My Team Isn't Playing this Year)

Christmas present from my hubby!

As a life-long, die-hard Washington Redskins fan, my friends are quite familiar with me making statements like: “they are going to give me a freaking heart attack!” during pretty much any and all games. If you’ve never had the stress pleasure of watching the Redskins play a football game, you may not be aware: this team has an uncanny ability to let their opponents hang around until late, very very late in the game. Many a time, this has resulted in a heartbreaking last-play-of-the-game loss, which of course results in utter devastation for their diehard fans (yours truly). Thank goodness for my boy RGIII, and yes, his knee will be just fine thankyouverymuch.

My sisters and I tailgating at FedEx Field several years ago
 Playoffs, as the Redskins are certainly never a shoo-in, only exacerbate my moments of panic, of course. The ‘Skins haven’t been in the Superbowl since 1991, when they defeated the Buffalo Bills. I was only in the 4th grade, so my football-mania wasn’t fully developed by then (luckily). So I can only hazily imagine how excited 49er and Ravens fans are for the big weekend coming up – Superbowl games blow regular and playoff game-day stress levels out of the water, I’m sure.

Even though I always joke about giving myself a heart attack through anxiety, cardiac arrest is a pretty serious deal. Be sure you and your loved ones are CPR trained and prepared in the unlucky event that you ever encounter someone suffering from cardiac arrest (whether or not it’s favorite-football-team induced!).

Check out to see the options available through the Red Cross and...Happy Superbowl Weekend! Next year maybe it'll be a 'Skins vs. Broncos Bowl...which would make a lot of us Mile High-ers pretty happy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Three-Month Progress Report/Address on Superstorm Sandy

Today, the American Red Cross released a three-month progress report and video detailing our continued response and recovery efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Read the report (.pdf) here:

And view the video message from Gail McGovern, President of the American Red Cross:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Inside Look: Checking out the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Course in Parker, CO

Ten young ladies and one young man attended the first of a new series of Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Courses in Parker on January 19, 2013. This all-day class featured a combination of video, instructional and hands-on training to teach preparedness, prevention, injury treatment, and basic parent and child “people” skills. After taking this class, teens and pre-teens feel more comfortable being responsible in a situation involving the care of young children.
I spoke two young cousins decided to take the class together. Vanessa, 12, told me she wanted to learn how to be more prepared for situations where she is in charge; this included knowing what to do in case of injury, learning children’s CPR techniques, and how to coordinate with medical personnel. Her cousin, Isabella, age 11, also spoke with me about why she took the class and what she learned from it. In addition to lifesaving skills such as CPR techniques and First Aid for injuries, she also learned different skills for how to cooperate with kids, deal with siblings of different ages, and tips for conversing with parents. 

Both girls hope to take their newfound skills and confidence to work in the nursery with the young children at the church they attend.

Ruth Montoya-Starr, the Red Cross instructor of the class, was extremely pleased with both the turnout and the way the class progressed. This was the very first class in Parker, and its success is a good sign of things to come for the program’s future. 

If you or your child is interested in taking the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course, more details are available on

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Meet the Red Cross: Julia Richards

When it comes to building for the future, youth are priority No. 1. Which is why the Mile High Chapter has hired on Julia Richards as the Youth Programs Manager, a new position designed to get youth educated and involved in community service.

There are two primary focuses for Julia in 2013: starting up Red Cross Youth Clubs at schools, and continuing collaboration with the Denver Fire Department and the Denver Firefighters Museum to deliver “Simply Safe” messaging in Denver Public Schools. “Simply Safe” provides emergency responders an opportunity to present emergency preparedness information to more than 5,000 youth in DPS throughout the school year.

So why did Julia decide to join the Red Cross? She has her reasons: “One of the main reasons was the job itself,” says Richards. “The position of Regional Youth Programs Manager is a perfect fit for me. I have worked in the youth development field in a variety of roles throughout my career: volunteer, direct service provider, program manager, etc. [This position] offers a unique opportunity to build a program from the ground up.”

Julia has a lengthy record of service: she served as an Americorps volunteer in Missoula, MT, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Azerbaijan. She will now be using her experience helping youth through those programs to reach some very distinct goals for the Red Cross in 2013.

“There are some very clear measures of success for this role,” says Richards. “Our main goal is to develop and implement four Red Cross Youth Clubs in Colorado by June 2013. Ultimately, we are trying to engage young people at an early age in the mission of the American Red Cross with the hope of not only creating life-long Red Cross volunteers, but also supporting young people as they develop a sense of civic responsibility and compassion for people who are in need of Red Cross services.”

Welcome, Julia, and good luck!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Corporate Giving Helps Children’s Kindness Go Farther

This past fall, the ISEC Foundation conducted an employee donation campaign in which they offered to
match employee donations up to $5,000 for the 2012 Red Cross Superstorm Sandy Response and
Disaster Relief.

More than just their employees stepped up to the challenge.

“A few weeks ago I told my 6-year-old son Lucas about the (ISEC/Red Cross Hurricane Relief) fund and
he got very excited about helping. He took a water jug to school with a hand lettered sign and has raised
a whopping $153,” said ISEC employee Erik Kunkel.

Since the Foundation is matching donations up to a total of $5,000—Little Kunkel’s efforts will result in
a $306 donation. Thank you, Lucas, ISEC and all the employees who participated!!

About ISEC

For over four decades, we have been providing innovative solutions as a prime trades contractor for
general trades, architectural woodwork, ornamental metals, doors, frames & hardware, specialties,
laboratory furniture, and medical equipment. Our core values: commitment to customer, integrity,
respect, safety, and teamwork are the cornerstone of our business. With offices nationwide and over
1,000 professionals, we have the financial stability, craftsmanship and commitment to your project.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spotlight on Saving Lives: Jody Drajem

It was 1:30 a.m. on a July morning and Jody Drajem's husband, Mark, had just returned from his shift as a police officer when a frantic knocking on the door began. The Drajems' neighbor, Aletta, was at the door looking for help - her husband Mike had stopped breathing, and his skin was taking on a greyish, ashen tone. He was suffering from cardiac arrest.

Aletta had called 911 immediately, but was also looking to her neighbors for help before the paramedics arrived. Not only is Mark a Denver Police Officer, his wife Jody is also a paramedic and lead Red Cross CPR instructor for Denver Health.  In fewer than 90 seconds, Mark and Jody had raced over to the neighbor's house and pulled Mike from the bed onto the floor, where Jody immediately began chest compressions.
The fire, police and then paramedics arrived within the next five minutes - but those entire five minutes, Jody was furiously continuing to administer chest compressions, keeping vital oxygen flowing through Mike's blood vessels. Even after help arrived, Jody continued to assist the teams with the AED (defibrillator) and intubation.

The survival rate for cardiac arrest outside of hospitals is typically low, but the immediate administration of CPR made an enormous difference in Mike's case and saved his life. Mike was back to normal life by day 12 after the incident, with no long-term damage to is body or organs - with the exception of the ribs that Jody cracked while administering the compressions (this is totally normal and means the compressions are the correct force!).

Jody is an American Red Cross instructor for Denver Health and a paramedic assigned to the Denver fire department. She's been on the job for 16 years, and teaches more than 60 CPR classes a year to groups like the Rockies, Broncos, college classes, fire department, FBI and State Senate security teams. Yet, even with all that classroom and instruction experience, Jody now has an entirely new appreciation for CPR’s benefits.

You can obtain a CPR certification or renewal through the Red Cross. Search classes and register today at

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Western Union Becomes Colorado's First Disaster Responder Member

In January, Western Union became an American Red Cross national partner by joining the Disaster Responder Program. Western Union made a commitment of $250,000 through its Western Union Foundation to support the Red Cross in their continuous preparedness efforts in 2013.

“Red Cross volunteers are constantly training and preparing so that we have the resources and people ready to quickly and efficiently respond to those in need when disaster strikes,” said Gino Greco, CEO of the Red Cross Mile High Region. “Western Union is leading the way here in Colorado by joining us on a national level to support the ongoing preparedness activities that enable us to help people impacted by disasters in their greatest time of need.”

Western Union is the first Colorado-based corporation to join the Disaster Responder program. They are one of 19 national partners that have chosen to make an investment--before a disaster strikes--ensuring that thousands of Red Cross volunteers are prepared to respond and essential supplies are available at a moments notice.
“Western Union understands that proper supplies and systems have to be in place, along with trained volunteers, in order to respond effectively to disasters.” shared Patrick Gaston, President of the Western Union Foundation. ”We believe that supporting the Red Cross efforts, not only when a disaster strikes, but even before one occurs helps ensure our customers, agents and employees receive the vital services they will need if a disaster is to ever impact their community.”

During a domestic disaster, the Red Cross sends volunteers and supplies into affected areas to shelter, feed and provide emotional support to disaster victims and emergency personnel. Generous gifts from Disaster Responder members – made in advance of a specific disaster – offset a range of expenses, including warehousing supplies, shelter and feeding, deploying disaster response vehicles and reconnecting individuals separated during disasters. By becoming a member, Western Union is helping to lead the way in helping us all become better prepared.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Breakfast You Won't Forget

Sarah Lynes and Jana Williams

Colorado experienced an unprecedented year of tragedies and challenges in 2012. Out of these incidents, heroes have emerged and we have learned that, together, we can triumph over tragedy.

On Friday, March 8, the American Red Cross will be celebrating this spirit of Colorado overcoming and will honor Colorado heroes who have saved lives, worked tirelessly to help others, and contributed to the healing and recovery of their fellow residents.

We hope you’ll join us for an unforgettable morning at our annual Breakfast of Champions, during which you’ll hear some of the touching stories of everyday people who made a difference and will get to meet some of these real heroes.

We’ll be giving awards to some of the volunteers and professionals who responded to major disasters like the High Park Fire and the Aurora shooting, but we’ll also be highlighting amazing individuals who stepped up and saved lives when no one else was there to help – performing CPR on a family member after he suffered a heart attack, or pulling a motorist from a river, for example.

Friday, March 8, 2013
7:30- 9 a.m.
Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
650 15th Street, Denver, CO

All proceeds benefit local Red Cross services such as disaster response, preparedness education, services to the armed forces, and lifesaving training like CPR, First Aid and AED.

Find out more and purchase tickets today at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Superstorm Sandy: People You Helped

This YouTube video serves as a thank-you from all of us at the Red Cross to those who have donated to our cause. This is just a small fraction of what we can do (and are doing) to help victims of disaster.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tax Time Resources Make Deductions Easy for Donors and Volunteers

For philanthropists who have donated funds to The Red Cross and other non-profit organizations, tax time offers a welcome financial bonus to the less-quantifiable benefits of charitable giving. However, it is not always clear how best to navigate tax season and to provide the IRS with the information they need to properly assess one's deductible giving for the year. Thankfully, the IRS and The Red Cross have several resources available for donors who want to ensure the accuracy of their tax forms in regards to charitable giving.

The IRS Web site provides eight helpful tips for deducting charitable donations on applicable tax forms. For donations made to The Red Cross, donations must be recorded and a receipt for the donation must be provided to substantiate the gift for tax purposes. Donors who have given to The Red Cross should be given a receipt for their gift within three weeks of a financial contribution, which itemizes and documents donations for tax purposes. However, receipts and donation history are also available online from The Red Cross as well. To retrieve a donation receipt or to review donor history, donors can log on to The Red Cross' tax receipt Web site.

While most donor records should be available and searchable through The Red Cross Web site, donors can also call donor services at 1-800-RED-CROSS to obtain a receipt for their gift. Donors who gave using a mobile service (i.e., texting a donation code) can obtain documentation by visiting and following instructions at the site.

Volunteers who donated time to Red Cross efforts this year can also deduct the mileage they travelled to deployment sites. The standard rate for mileage deduction is 14 cents per mile. Additionally, according to the folks at Taxwise Giving, incidental expenses incurred during a volunteer deployment or engagement can be deducted as well (these might include postage stamps, supplies or phone calls). More information on deducting volunteering expenses can be obtained by contacting Volunteer Services at the chapter for which volunteers worked, or by visiting the Taxwise Giving's page regarding volunteer expenses.

While tax time can present many challenges to the philanthropic taxpayer, substantiating and maximizing one's deductible gifts has never been easier. For more information regarding gifts to The Red Cross and tax deductibility, visit The Red Cross' FAQ on financial contributions here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Training Online and In-Person for your Convenience

Did you know the Red Cross now offers blended online learning for our popular certifications? If you've been thinking of taking a First Aid, CPR/AED class to be better prepared for emergencies, or if you need a certification to go after your next job, such as a Lifeguard or First Responder, it's never been easier to take a Red Cross class!

Blended online learning allows you to begin the class on our website. You can learn, study, and test out of each capability that is required for certification at your convenience in the evenings, weekends, or whenever you have access to a computer for a few hours. Once you've tested out of each competency or mastered the techniques, you're ready for time with the instructor.

In the span of just an hour to hour and a half, you'll demonstrate all your learnings to the Red Cross instructor and be on your way in less than half the time as regular classes in the past!

Added benefits of blended learning, besides saving you time in a classroom, include:
  • ability to "test out" of different competencies online, for those just renewing a certification;
  • access to all the materials on our website for brushing up for up to two years;
  • all certifications are OSHA-approved, unlike other online classes, because you still demonstrate for the instructor;
  • online classes are available for individuals, professionals, and group organizations.
Become more prepared now! Sign up at

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Program will Teach Douglas County Teens Skills to Save Lives, Earn Money

The American Red Cross is partnering with Douglas County Libraries to offer babysitting classes that can empower youth to care for children, know how to respond in an emergency and run their own babysitting business.

“This partnership is a perfect fit for our organizations and the residents of Douglas County,” said Jessica McDonald, Red Cross Preparedness, Health & Safety Service Delivery Manager. “We are excited to have convenient, community-based locations to teach teens skills that could help them launch their first job as well as potentially save a life; meanwhile, the library is excited to have a draw for 11- to 15-year-olds, who we hope come for the training and stay to explore and build a lasting relationship with their local library.”

Upcoming trainings to choose from include:
  • 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, January 19 – Douglas County Libraries in Parker (10851 S. Crossroads Dr.)
  • 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, February 9 – Douglas County Libraries in Lone Tree (8827 Lone Tree Parkway)
  • 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 23 – Douglas County Libraries in Parker (10851 S. Crossroads Dr.)
About the Training
If you're 11 to 15 years old, you can gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to care for infants and school-age children. The purpose is to provide teenagers with the information and skills necessary to provide safe and responsible care for children in the absence of parents or adult guardians. This training will help participants develop skills in leadership and professionalism; safety and safe play; and first aid. Combining video, activities, hands-on skills training and discussion, you get a complete learning experience and a certification card to show your clients. Topics include:
  • Respond to emergencies and illnesses with first aid, rescue breathing and other appropriate care
  • Make decisions under pressure
  • Communicate with parents to learn household rules
  • Recognize safety and hygiene issues
  • Manage young children
  • Feed, diaper and care for infants
To sign up for a class or for more information visit

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Workshops, booklet help military transition home from deployment

By Mary Hastings
Returning from a deployment can be a joyous yet confusing time for troops and their families. Typically the experience is a whirlwind of activity and emotion.

Many men and women return from a deployment and successfully adjust to their lives, but most experience at least some difficulty in readjusting or transitioning to family life, to their jobs, and to living in their communities after a long separation.   The American Red Cross has developed the Coming Home from Deployment: The New “Normal” booklet to assist all military families with what can be a difficult and complicated transition home. The Red Cross also offers Reconnection Workshops dedicated to our country’s service men and women and their families and loved ones. The goal is to support and ease the transition home:
  • The Reconnection Workshops focus on individual/small group discussion that enhances the likelihood of positive reconnections among family members and the successful re-engagement of the service member in civilian life.
  • Each workshop focuses on a topic area that service members and their families have found relevant to their experience as they transition back home. Current topic areas include: managing anger, supporting children, building communication, reconnecting with others, and recognizing PTS & TBI and other topics critical to reunion adjustment.
  • The workshops are available to all those impacted by a military deployment from all branches of the Armed Forces. We invite Reserve, National Guard, active duty service members, veterans and their families, including spouses, parents, siblings and significant others, to participate.
  • Participants choose the topic they are most interested in from the available options; sessions and materials focus on learning useful tools, effective coping mechanisms and where to find resources.
Available workshops are:
  • Communicating Clearly
  • Exploring Stress and Trauma
  • Identifying Depression
  • Relating to Children
  • Working Through Anger
For more information on American Red Cross post deployment services, contact Tim Bothe, Regional Service to the Armed Forces & International Services Manager, American Red Cross Mile High Region at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A resolution that could save your life - or the life of someone you love

The best New Year’s resolutions are realistic, attainable goals that you can accomplish within a set time frame, and which will better your life. Resolve to be more prepared in 2013, and check off some of the steps you know you would like to take to protect your household, business or community…but haven’t yet gotten around to. Some ideas for goals:
  • Complete an emergency plan for my household by Jan. 31.
  • Put together 72-hour kits for home, car and work and update their ingredients at least once every 6 months.
  • Set a date to change my smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries twice a year (Spring Forward and Fall Back are great reminders).
  • Earn my CPR and/or First Aid Certification – or renew it if I have let it lapse.
  • Enroll my business in Ready Rating and complete the self-administered assessment by the end of the first quarter.
  • Get more involved in my community’s preparedness by becoming a Red Cross volunteer or supporting local Red Cross preparedness programs.
Happy New Year, and here's to a happy, healthy, safe 2013!