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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fall of Saigon: One Woman's Harrowing Tale with a Happy Ending

On April 30, 1975 -- 40 years ago today -- Saigon fell to The People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam. Many people remember the striking images of people evacuating from Saigon and South Vietnam on April 29 and 30.

Thu-Thuy Truong was 13 at the time and one of thousands of Vietnamese who fled on April 30. Earlier this month, we welcomed Thu-Thuy Trong as a guest speaker to talk about her experience and how the Red Cross helped reconnect her family with their father, from whom they were separated during the incident. Her story is both harrowing and inspiring.

She shares an abbreviated version of her story in this video:



Find out more about Red Cross Restoring Family Links programs at www.redcross.org/familylinks.

Connecting Colorado Nepali Community to Information, Family in Wake of Earthquake

On Wednesday, April 29, at least 50 Colorado residents who have ties to Nepal and surrounding countries gathered at the Asian Pacific Development Center in Aurora to seek information about international relief efforts in response to the devastating 7.8 Magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal on the morning of April 25, 2015.

About 50 people gather at the APDC to find out more about
Nepal Earthquake disaster relief efforts.
Colorado Red Cross staff presented about Red Cross efforts in response to the earthquake, how people here can help, and how they can use Red Cross Restoring Family Links services to contact loved ones in the affected areas.

The global Red Cross network, led by the Nepal Red Cross and supported by the American Red Cross, has mounted an international response to provide emergency humanitarian assistance.  The Nepal Red Cross is providing first aid, search and rescue, blood to medical facilities in the capital and support to first responders.

The APDC provided live interpretation for
immigrants and refugees from Nepal.
The American Red Cross has committed an initial $1,000,000 to the relief operation and is working closely with the Nepal Red Cross and the global Red Cross network to coordinate additional support, including mobilizing supplies and providing remote mapping and information management. The American Red Cross is arranging supplies from its warehouses in Kuala Lumpar and Dubai, including non-food items such as tarps, buckets, kitchen sets and blankets to be sent to Nepal -- although logistical transport remains a challenge.

Members of the audience raised their concerns about getting supplies to the families who need help, wondering how they could send tents from Colorado and whether relief supplies are “stuck” at the airport.  Our local Red Cross staff answered candidly: mailing supplies, in small quantities, from this far away, is not the most efficient way to help those in Nepal  -- it is more cost effective and efficient for aid agencies to get tarps, tents and other high-demand supplies by purchasing them in bulk from the nearest source to the disaster, or by receiving them as bulk donations.

Audience members wanted to know
how to help families in Nepal.
According to USAID, cash donations are the best way to help following a disaster because they entail no transportation costs, no delays, no customs and other fees, no carbon footprint and they do not divert relief workers’ time. In addition, cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased in markets close to the disaster site, which stimulates local economies by stabilizing employment and generating cash flow.  Few material donations have this highly beneficial impact.

In terms of delivering supplies, it can be challenging to reach survivors when infrastructure is destroyed, damaged – or never existed. Accessibility and transportation are challenging in Nepal in the best of times. Before the earthquake, many rural communities where the Nepal Red Cross worked were only accessible by foot. The main international airport in Kathmandu is a very basic facility. With the destruction, this situation is even more dire and getting supplies and transporting them within country is going to be a major challenge.

One way the American Red Cross is helping to alleviate this challenge is through mapping and information management. The public can help, too. Anyone with a computer and an internet connection can help map the affected areas through OpenStreetMap. Already, more than 2,000 people have contributed to the maps. Visit http://tasks.hotosm.org to get started.

After disasters strike, updated maps are extremely important to emergency responders. These maps help us measure the damage, identify priority areas, navigate our way around damaged roadways, and more efficiently deliver aid to people in need. When we deployed people to Nepal, we sent them with maps to use and share with other Red Cross team members on the ground.

The audience members maintain close ties to their homeland.
Although many of the people who attended the meeting were most concerned about how they can help Nepal, Red Cross workers were also focused on how we can help alleviate their anxiety and fear by helping them reconnect with loved ones in Nepal and the affected areas.

The Red Cross workers explained how residents here in Colorado can initiate a family tracing case for loved ones whose wheareabouts are unknown, and how we will be offering phone call services for those who know their loved ones are OK but don’t have a means to call them from Denver.

Find out more about the ongoing Red Cross response to the Nepal Earthquake at www.redcross.org. For individuals looking for family who live in the affected area, visit http://familylinks.icrc.org/nepal-earthquake. Help is also available for those who can't access the web site by calling 303-607-4771.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thank You Mile High Chapter Volunteers!

Volunteers make up more than 90% of the Red Cross workforce in Colorado, so it’s no exaggeration to say that the Red Cross IS its volunteers.

Each year, we take a moment to highlight, recognize and thank some of the extraordinary volunteers who deliver our services with compassion, care, creativity and dedication.

These are the volunteers who give more, do more, accomplish more – the volunteers who lead, inspire and touch lives. They make a difference in big ways and in the vast impact of many small acts over time.

On Sunday, April 26, the Red Cross Mile High Chapter held its annual Volunteer Recognition Event to thank all chapter volunteers and to recognize a very special set of volunteers with awards.
Read a little about each of these extraordinary volunteers below.

Special Achievement Awards

Mile High Chapter Volunteer of the Year – Joan Cernich
Joan Cernich, Center, with Tisha and Brian Schuller.
This award is for exceptional volunteer service and commitment to support and improve the quality of service provided by the American Red Cross.

Joan has been committed to the Red Cross for 12 years, including serving in a leadership role in Boulder and Broomfield.  She has championed the direction and cohesiveness of the Boulder/ Broomfield Disaster Action Team and demonstrated great leadership during the 2013 floods and subsequent flood recovery efforts. Joan is known for her great communication skills, respectful interactions, openness

BJ Coyle Passion for Service Award – Kitty Sherman

As volunteer partner to the Mile High Chapter Volunteer Services Manager, Kitty is often the first person a new volunteer interacts with when they contact the Red Cross.  Kitty is gentle, easy-going, fun-natured and easy to work with. 

Kitty is so dedicated and professional – and gives so much time – that new volunteers are often surprised to find that the person diligently emailing them, interviewing them, and helping them through the on-boarding process is a volunteer like themselves. Kitty not only comes in three days a week, but on her days off she continues to email volunteers and staff so no detail goes unattended.

Volunteer Leadership Award – John Miller
John is Chairman of Disaster Cycle Services for the Colorado & Wyoming Region; he is Volunteer Partner to the Regional Disaster Cycle Services Officer, serves on the Volunteer Leadership Council, and is a Boulder Disaster Action Team Captain and Disaster Assessment Manager.  These are only a few of the leadership positions he has held over nearly a decade of service with the Red Cross. 

John has deployed to 24 National Disaster Relief Operations. Because of his leadership and experience, he is considered a regional subject matter expert in the field of disaster assessment and participates in divisional planning and best practice groups.

Outstanding Team – Restoring Family Links Team
This amazing team logged about 790 hours of volunteer time last year helping to reconnect families and educate our community about Red Cross Restoring Family Links services available to them.  The team includes Christina Eyre, Katie Lynn-Vecqueray, Adam Bradbury, Melody Storgaard, Michael Dirks, Michael Kearns, Robbe Sokolove, Amanda Doll, Karolina Kuczyc,  Elayna McCall, Karen Stewart, Erika Miyamoto and Cassie Schoon.

Last fiscal year they worked 176 cases and conducted 398 services on those cases.  This case volume marks a 76% increase from the previous year and has increased the region from a 28th ranking in the nation to 8th in the nation.  Additionally, the team won the National Red Cross Restoring Family Links FY14 Story Campaign and received special recognition from Harold Brooks, Senior Vice President of International Services. 

Unsung Hero Award – Lyn Hall
Lyn serves quietly and with great kindness as she completes her tasks as the database maintenance lead for the learning management system the Red Cross uses.
Lyn is exceptionally reliable and committed to serve every Tuesday for the past year.  She works on database accounts, updates transcripts, merges accounts, adds courses, troubleshoots, and accomplishes these detailed tasks with a smile on her face and a great attitude of service.  Always behind the scenes, always caring… that is Lyn.

Century Recognition – Carol Murphy
Carol volunteered over 600 hours and donated her own funds to realize “Colorado Red Cross: A Century of Service,” a publication commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first Red Cross chapter charter in Colorado. Carol spent hours interviewing paid and volunteer staff, spent countless hours in the archives of the History Colorado Museum and braved many frigid days in the basement of 444 Sherman sifting through papers and boxes searching for the perfect photo for the book and the timeline that was the backdrop for numerous events.

In additions to volunteering, Carol is also a donor.  She and her husband made a generous donation after super storm Sandy.  At the time, she said, “It is criminal to see a need and not do anything…if you can do something, you should.”  And so she did.  In addition, Carol and her husband matched the chapter’s expenditures on the book, doubling the original budget. 

Departmental Awards and Other Recognitions

Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership - Connie Hoffer


Board Member of the Year -  Tisha Schuller



Fundraising Volunteers of the Year  - Don & Linda Childears



Disaster Cycle Services  (Preparedness)  Volunteer of the Year - David Cook



Disaster Cycle Services  (Response) Volunteer of the Year - Vicky Baker



Disaster Cycle Services (Recovery) Volunteer of the Year -  Jason Webster



Preparedness, Health and Safety Services Volunteer of the Year - Aimon Alkanani



International Services Volunteer of the Year - Robbe Sokolove



Communications Volunteer of the Year - Elisa DiTrolio



Volunteer Services Volunteer of the Year - Karen Pierson


To view more photos of the event, visit our Flickr album: 

Neighborhood Evacuation Exercise Helps People Prepare

Red Cross volunteer Roger Bram directs the Emergency
 Response Vehicle for the Palmer Park neighborhood
evacuation exercise in Colorado Springs.
Photo  credit American Red Cross
Story by Leila Roch, American Red Cross

On Saturday morning, many residents in the Palmer Park neighborhood received a knock on their door and a reverse 911 phone call from police officers asking them to please leave their homes. They were evacuated and quickly ushered from their homes to Sabine Middle School.

Fortunately, flames were not the cause this evacuation.

In preparation for the wildfire season, the City of Colorado Springs organized a mock evacuation of the area with more than 160 families opting in. The Pikes Peak American Red Cross, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and Colorado Springs Salvation Army set up a mock shelter to assist and inform participants what to do and what is available to them in the event of a real evacuation.

Volunteers Peter Booth (l) and Rick Levis set up a cot for the
mock shelter at the Palmer Park neighborhood evacuation
exercise. Photo credit American Red Cross
“I think overall the response has been just really wonderful,” said Sally Broomfield, Pikes Peak American Red Cross disaster program manager. “People are really glad to know what we do, what the other agencies do and have an opportunity to practice. They come here they get a little brief and then we’ve set up a little demonstration shelter so that people can see what a shelter looks like if they actually have to evacuate.”

Volunteers debrief at the end of the Palmer Park
evacuation exercise in Colorado Springs.
 Photo credit American Red Cross
The morning of the drill more than 60 Red Cross volunteers organized to assist the 200-400 expected residents who would be coming through the school’s gymnasium, where volunteers had set up a mock shelter. As groups entered the gymnasium, they were escorted by a Red Cross tour guide who walked them through stations representing each service the Red Cross provides during a crisis – from food to mental health to its “Safe and Well” station, where residents can register to let loved ones know they are OK.

The Humane Society was also on site to help residents with pets familiarize themselves with the procedure of checking in their pets during an emergency. The Salvation Army provided breakfast to participating residents prior to the tours. And fire crews practiced staging, check-in and inter-agency operations in the neighborhoods. Thirty-one departments and agencies participated in the drill.

American Red Cross nursing volunteers Deborah Wetherill
 and Amy Dreher welcome exercise volunteer Mike
Nowak to the shelter nursing station during  the Palmer Park
 evacuation exercise in Colorado Springs, CO.
Photo credit American Red Cross
 “It’s so important,” Broomfield said. “We live in a really high risk area, and we’ve seen over the past few years what it looks like when large numbers of people have to evacuate.”

To learn more about how you can be better prepared for emergencies visit www.redcross.org/prepare.

Download our free mobile app, Emergency, at www.redcross.org/mobileapps to see how you can be notified about emergencies and stay in contact with your family. Available for iPhone and Android formats.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Special Edition Lunch and Learn: Black April and the Fall of Saigon

(Correction: an earlier version of this blog reflected the date of the Lunch and Learn as Wednesday, April 22. It is actually Tuesday, April 21.)

For those who lived through the Vietnam War, the phrase “Black April” is loaded with complex meaning. It was in April, 40 years ago, when Saigon fell, and the American military officially ended its involvement in Vietnam. In commemoration of Black April, a special edition of the International Services Lunch and Learn event on Tuesday, April 21, will feature two speakers, two women, whose lives were forever shaped by their experiences in Vietnam.

Thu-Thuy Trong
Thu-Thuy Truong was 13 years old when her mother and siblings fled South Vietnam as part of the first cohort of "boat people" to leave the country. Although her father’s work as a high-ranking official afforded her family a relatively comfortable life during the conflict, he was unable to follow his family out of Vietnam. After an arduous voyage, first by boat, then by cargo ship, Thu Thuy arrived at Fort Chaffee, in Arkansas. At the military base, she and her family sought out the services of the Red Cross and the Restoring Family Links program, which eventually put them in touch with her father. The family eventually settled in Berkeley, Calif., where Thu-Thuy eventually earned her bachelor’s in chemical engineering and began a career in technology.

 For Thu-Thuy, an avid volunteer for the Red Cross and an advocate for Restoring Family Links, Black April is a time remembered with mixed feelings. "I think for me it is bittersweet. The bitter part is the part about losing people back home, but the sweet was getting to come to the US, and enjoy that freedom, and have a new life. For the older generation, I think, it is more bitter than the sweet, because they lost a lot more, their homes, their fortunes, everything." she said. "But I came to the US when had my whole future ahead of me."

 While Thu-Thuy was making her voyage to America, Red Cross volunteer Jackie Norris’s days in Vietnam were behind her. Jackie had served from 1967 to 1968 as a "Donut Dolly" following her graduation from college, providing moral support to American troops at Red Cross recreation centers in country. Back home in Colorado, Jackie saw the impact of the fall of Saigon and wanted to help. She volunteered with the Red Cross for President Ford’s Operation Babylift program, a coordinated evacuation program for Vietnamese children that began immediately after the fall of Saigon. The work involved picking up very young children and infants at Stapleton airport, and transporting them to a nursing-home-turned-nursery in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood to await adoption.

Jackie Norris
For Jackie, whose husband served in Vietnam as well, memories of Black April are very different than Thu-Thuy’s, but just as lasting. "That particular period of time was especially meaningful for those of us who were there [in Vietnam], because we remembered the war," she said. "[Black April] was the end of the war, which was really meaningful for my husband and me, and it was also the opportunity to do something really constructive with Operation Babylift."

Both women hope the Lunch and Learn lecture will provide an opportunity to shed light on the realities of the Vietnam War era, as well as the ways that the Red Cross services for refugees and troops continue to make a positive difference for people affected by conflict today. For Thu-Thuy, the Restoring Family Links program was vital to the success of her new life in the United States. "Even though it seems small, it's so important to a refugee or an immigrant like myself to have that family connection." Thu-Thuy said. "Once our family was intact, we had a unit, we had a support structure. We could face anything. I want people to know the effect of that."

 The Lunch & Learn lecture will be presented Tuesday, April 21 from noon to 1 p.m. at the American Red Cross, 444 Sherman St. RSVPs are requested by 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 20, by clicking here. Webinar options are also available for remote audiences. For more information, contact Tim Bothe.

It's All About Being There to Help them

As we celebrate, thank and honor our Red Cross volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we are introducing you to real Red Cross volunteers who are talking about why they give of their time to help others.

Meet Lisa Ortner-McNeil. Lisa has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2000. Watch and listen as she talks about her experience as a Red Cross volunteer deployed to Washington D.C. after 9/11 and how it felt to be part of the Red Cross response.


Meet Les Orser, a Red Cross volunteer with the Western Colorado Chapter. Les appreciates the support that the Red Cross provides its volunteers, especially when they deploy to a disaster. What moves Les to be a Red Cross volunteer? "Just being able to be there to help them."



Friday, April 17, 2015

Volunteers Open Their Hearts and Roll Up Their Sleeves to Help

As we celebrate, thank and honor our Red Cross volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we are introducing you to real Red Cross volunteers who are talking about why they give of their time to help others.

Meet Susan Wiseman, a volunteer for the Red Cross of Western Colorado who was inspired to help others by the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. She remembers how she wanted to help those who were sufferering. Susan’s first disaster response was for Hurricane Katrina and she recalls her experience as a Red Cross volunteer.

Hear what Susan says about being a Red Cross volunteer.



Meet Michael Leach. Mike is a volunteer with the Red Cross of Western Colorado. He has been a longtime volunteer serving as a Disaster Action Team member, volunteer coordinator and has been a leader at the Western Colorado Chapter. Mike has a touching story about helping a family on Christmas Eve.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Helping People is What the Red Cross is All About

As we celebrate, thank and honor our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we are introducing you to real Red Cross volunteers who are talking about why they do what they do.

Meet a husband-and-wife team of volunteers from Pueblo, Colorado: John Goorley, a retired Army officer, and Sherri Goorley, a registered nurse, are Disaster Action Team volunteers who tend to the needs of people who have lost everything due to a home fire.  As John says, “The people we help really need our help.” John and Sherri are devoted Red Crossers and they certainly make a good team.  Watch their video:


https://youtu.be/z_vVFCbihAM

Meet Jim Simms, a Red Cross volunteer who has helped people deal with home fires, wildfires and winter storms. He started out helping at a church and saw the importance of opening a Red Cross shelter. Since then he has taken on volunteer leadership roles to make sure the help is there when it is needed. Helping people gives Jim “a great sense of satisfaction” and he recommends Red Cross volunteering for young and old. Watch Jim's Video 


https://youtu.be/nuVi3xfcCEQ

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Disaster Response

As we celebrate, thank and honor our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we’re introducing you to real Red Cross volunteers who are talking about why they do what they do.

Today, meet Mark Livingston. Although Mark works full-time in emergency management, he also finds time to volunteer for the Red Cross in emergency preparedness, specifically for the Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

Why does he give his time? It comes down to a pretty simple, well-known truism: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Or, in Red Cross parlance: An hour of preparedness is worth countless hours of response and recovery.

Watch his video:

The Pillowcase Project  is a preparedness education program for children in grades 3 – 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. Students receive a sturdy pillowcase upon completion of the program in which they are encouraged to build their personal emergency supplies kit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Best Part of Someone’s Worst Day

As we celebrate, thank and honor our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, we’re introducing you to real Red Cross volunteers who are talking about why they do what they do.

Today, meet Ron Quay. He started volunteering with blood drives on the East Coast, and recently joined our disaster response teams in Colorado.

When speaking about volunteering for the Red Cross, you couldn’t put it much more eloquently than Ron does: “I just do what I would want someone to do for me. It feels really good; they tell me I’m the best part of someone’s worst day.”

Watch the video:

Monday, April 13, 2015

For Refugees, Trauma Doesn't End with Escape From Persecution

By Patricia Billinger
Refugees face repeated traumas, challenges and upheavals. First, they witness – or are targets of – violence in their home country that is so threatening that they must abandon everything they have and flee. Many of us who have never known violent political and social upheaval erroneously assume that refugees leave the source of their trauma and fear behind when they seek refuge.

However, for many the journey is just beginning. Some spend decades in refugee camps, where life can hover on the brink of subsistence. Even those who ultimately resettle in the relative safety of places like Colorado continue to face challenges.
Some refugees escape with their lives but with injuries;
other refugees suffer less visible injuries such as PTSD.
This man, internally displaced in Iraq, lost both his legs
to a mine explosion. (c) ICRC/KRZYSIEK

“The most common diagnoses we see are PTSD, adjustment disorder, different anxiety disorders and depression,” said Laura Poole, Behavioral Health and Wellness Program Coordinator for the Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC).

Laura and her colleagues at the APDC work closely with refugees who have resettled to Colorado on a wide range of needs, from finding jobs and learning how to use the bus system to emotional counseling to address the health and mental health consequences of a lifetime of trauma, stress and uncertainty.

On Wednesday, April 15, Poole will present alongside Setu Nepal, an APDC colleague who is a refugee from Bhutan, in the April Red Cross Lunch And Learn: “From Camp to Resettlement: Mental Health Traumas Faced by Refugees.”

Setu personally knows the challenging path that refugees travel. In 1990, he had earned his bachelor’s degree, had a good job working for the Bhutanese department of health and had started a family when political forces within the Bhutanese government began persecuting ethnic and religious minorities.

Setu was forced to flee to a refugee camp in Nepal with his family, including his 5-year-old, 3-year-old and infant children. He spent the next two decades in the refugee camp, initially barely scraping by to survive.
“I had a very difficult time to raise my children in camp, having nothing in my pocket and depending on begging,” Setu recalled.

Eventually, thanks to his education, he was able to secure work at a school in Nepal and support his family. But many other refugees have no such option. Confined to a camp, unable to find work – often not allowed to seek work – and unable to return home, they face a new set of psycho-social challenges, Poole explained. Some children born and raised in refugee camps know no other sense of home or normalcy.

Those who are able to leave the camps to move to countries that have opened up refugee resettlement face yet another series of challenges that can cause fear, anxiety and depression. They are immersed in a completely new culture, with a language they likely don’t speak or read; those who had low levels of literacy in their native tongue struggle even more to adapt to a society so dependent on reading and writing English. Some come from rural societies and suddenly have to adjust to an urban setting. And the learned dependency of camps can have lasting consequences, especially for refugees resettling into the American cultural world of self-reliance and independence.

Organizations like the APDC help these refugees to navigate the cultural transition and work to ease the sources of anxiety and trauma.

Separation from family adds to the stress refugees experience.
The Red Cross works to reunite refugees separated
from their families, such as this boy who was reunited
with his parentsin Jordan.(c) ICRC/AMM
The Red Cross partners with the APDC to help with one important aspect of refugees’ resettlement and emotional health: reconnecting them with family they left behind. Refugees in Colorado can initiate a Family Tracing inquiry with the Red Cross to seek the whereabouts and try to re-establish communications with loved ones. Sometimes these are family members they last saw while at a refugee camp, while other times they are looking for closure on loved ones who disappeared during violence in their country.

“They have experienced so much loss and so much trauma. Being able to get back in touch with far-distant family or find out what happened to a loved one provides some peace of mind,” said Tim Bothe, International Services Manager for the Red Cross of Colorado and Wyoming.

The public is invited to attend the Lunch And Learn presentation featuring Poole and Setu Nepal. The event is from noon-1 p.m., Wednesday, April 15. Please click here to RSVP: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7C6ZDS

You Volunteer. So Show it Loud and Proud!



by Patricia Billinger
It’s a funny thing that some of the most amazing people are the least likely to seek attention for their great work.

Here at the Red Cross, we know that our volunteers are very proud of the work they do and passionate about making a difference through the Red Cross. They know that they are touching lives – perhaps even helping to save lives – through the work they do.

But when it comes to taking credit for that important work, our volunteers tend to be a little more shy.

This week – National Volunteer Week – we have a message for you: If you volunteer, show it loud and proud! Tell people what you do and how it makes you feel. Share your stories. Change your Facebook and Twitter profile picture to show off that you are a Red Cross volunteer. Let people thank you.

And if they don’t thank you, maybe they don’t realize just how vital you are to the safety of their community. Don’t be afraid to talk about all the training, preparation and work you and other volunteers do year-round to provide services and to make sure the Red Cross can be there for our neighbors when they need us.

We know that most of you give back not for what you get, but because you want to make a difference. It’s the right thing to do. You care about your community. You want to put your skills to good work. You love the camaraderie and community of volunteering.

So if being in the spotlight isn’t your thing, here are some reasons to share that you are a Red Cross volunteer during National Volunteer Week:

  1. Be an inspiration. Sharing your story may motivate someone you know to finally make the time to volunteer. 
  2. Reinforce a culture of volunteerism. We need to make volunteering a norm, so that organizations like the Red Cross can always count on people to give their time, now and into the future.
  3. Educate the public. People expect the Red Cross to be there for them in times of emergency. They may think the Red Cross is a government agency, or a company flush with paid employees. Help them understand that we can’t do our good work without volunteers and public support.


We are so proud of the work you do. We want the world to be proud of you, too!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It’s National Volunteer Week. Here’s Why You Should Care.

by Patricia Billinger
Much has been written about today’s “culture of being busy.”

With tight work schedules, kids’ activities, social engagements and, of course, the lure of Colorado’s outdoors, people have a lot of priorities battling for their time.

That’s why it’s especially meaningful for us at the American Red Cross to honor and thank our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 12-18.

Here’s why you should care, too:

Last year, our volunteers helped nearly 2,700 local families who faced home fires and other disasters. They trained tens of thousands of people in lifesaving skills and assisted thousands of military members, veterans and their families.

These volunteers answer the call for help in the middle of the night – sometimes in the freezing cold. They dedicate countless hours to training, preparing and delivering services. They could choose to spend those hours relaxing, sleeping, or spending time with their loved ones, but instead they work hard to prevent and alleviate suffering through the Red Cross.

This week, we will be sharing a few videos of our volunteers explaining WHY they do what they do. What motivates them to sacrifice, to work without pay, to donate their time?

We hope you will join us in thanking these amazing volunteers  – and consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer alongside them. Go to redcross.org/Colorado to learn about the many ways to help and to get involved.