Reflections on Americorps Experiences


Rachel Steiner

Someone once told me that life isn’t about finding yourself but creating yourself. I didn’t really understand what that meant until I started working for this AmeriCorps program at the Red Cross.

Life deals everyone a different hand. Every individual has different strengths and weaknesses. Meeting so many adults and kids through this program, I’ve discovered what it means to be successful. It means putting yourself in situations that may be uncomfortable but can save lives. It means being the strong one and making the right decisions even when it’s difficult or confusing. Successful people struggle just like anyone else. Time and again I’ve seen individuals who’ve lost everything and persevere. No one has complete control over the future but when these people keep making tough decisions every minute of every day; they are giving themselves, and their families, a better chance in the future. Despite the fact that they may have no support system, they are doing it. No one ever became good at dealing with problems without dealing with any problems.

I have no doubt that my AmeriCorps experience at the Red Cross will help me get a good job. I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given here. – Rachel Steiner, AmeriCorps Member stationed at the Summit, Portage, and Medina County office


Rachel Steiner and Shelby Begg


Shelby Begg

The experience I’ve had with AmeriCorps and the Red Cross over the past year has been truly amazing. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to provide impactful service to so many families throughout Northeastern Ohio, and that I got to work alongside so many wonderful people – both staff and volunteer! – Shelby Begg, AmeriCorps Member stationed at the Greater Cleveland office

We are so grateful for Shelby and Rachel, who served as AmeriCorps Members for the bulk of the 2017 fiscal year.

“We are grateful for the terrific support from the Corporation for National and Community Service which allowed us the opportunity to have Rachel and Shelby come on board for the year,” said John Gareis, Regional Manager in Preparedness and Community Planning. “By helping support our Home Fire Campaign and Pillowcase Project, we have been able to teach more households and children about fire prevention and the importance of being prepared.”

As their time with the Red Cross winds down,  Rachel and Shelby will move on to new projects in their lives.

We will begin the search for two more AmeriCorps members to help work with our Home Fire Preparedness Program and The Pillowcase Project. If you know an individual who would like to join the AmeriCorps program and work with the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate suffering in our community, send them to to get started on their application today!

Funding for the Red Cross program is provided by a grant from the Corporation for National Community and Service. Since the program’s inception in 1994, more than 1 million men and women have served in AmeriCorps, providing more than 1.4 billion hours of service and earning more than $3.3 billion in education scholarships to pay for college or pay back student loans, more than $1 billion of which has been used to pay back student loan debt.

10 Home Fire Prevention Tips

With cold weather creeping in, it’s time to think about heating your home.

Here are ten tips you can take, today, to help your family stay safe this winter:

  1. Install a smoke alarm on every level of the home, and inside and outside each sleeping area.
  2. Make sure that the cooking area is free from items that can catch fire, like dish towels or pot holders.
  3. Check your electrical cords to verify that they are not frayed or cracked.
  4. Never leave children and pets with unattended with candles.
  5. Clean out your clothes dryer lint filter and venting system (this should also improve how well your dryer works!)
  6. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located on each level of the home. And, yes, you can take the “two birds, one stone” approach by buying a combination CO2/Smoke Alarm unit!
  7. Move furniture and other items that can catch fire so that they are at least 3-feet from fireplaces, wall heaters, baseboards, and space heaters.
  8. HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN with two ways out of each room!

You can help community members in your area receive a free smoke alarm installation by donating to Operation Save-A-Life, the home fire prevention program offered through the Red Cross.

For a more thorough look at fire safety in your home, check out this Home Fire Safety Checklist.

Are you prepared for a home fire? Test yourself

Did you realize that, on average, the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio responds to 2.5 home fires every night? While one piece of our mission is to help families displaced by these and other disasters, many households can help themselves by becoming more aware of how to reduce their chances of experiencing a fire.

2014 Katie with Fire VICTIM

In fact, the Red Cross and its local and national partners have launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, an initiative that aims to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25% in five years.

Test yourself with this handy quiz to determine what you have covered, and what you and your family may need to work on.

The Red Cross is asking every household in America to join us in taking two simple steps that can save lives: checking or installing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home.