Volunteering: The gift of your time

By Sue Wilson Cordle, American Red Cross volunteer

November 13, 2019- The holidays are almost upon us and as you look ahead to the busy time from just before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, many of us feel a mix of expectation and trepidation. The expectation is for a joyful season with family and friends—but the reality for many who are struggling financially or emotionally, is that this time of year can be stressful. There are experts galore with suggestions for getting through the season, But one consistent theme: Giving to others can improve your own mental health.

Winter DAT workers

But wait—doesn’t giving to others add to the stress?

Remember the holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” when Schwartz took the double-dog dare and got his tongue stuck on the metal pole? How about this holiday challenge that doesn’t involve losing any skin? Ask yourself this question: Can you think of any of the gifts you received last year? Now think about how many you bought for family, friends and co-workers. If you’re honest with yourself, you probably remember very few (if any) but you do remember you had to make payments on your credit card long after that last Amazon delivery.

Flick-s-tongue-stuck-to-pole-A-Christmas-Story-gif-thecountess-40069078-600-338

This year make the holiday season LESS about consumerism and MORE about people. How?

Become a volunteer. According to this recent article written by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Lawrence Robinson, volunteering has surprising health benefits. It can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated and provide a sense of purpose. And if you think your income level, age, or even a disability prevents you from volunteering, research shows that people with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease, diabetes or digestive disorders all show improvement after volunteering.

The American Red Cross has a number of ways you can donate your time and talent. You can take a quiz that will match your skill set, age, interests or goals to find a volunteer opportunity that is right for you. From 18 to 80 (and beyond), there is something you can do to help the Red Cross in its mission to alleviate suffering in your own backyard or around the world.

Development SAF Stock Photography Project 2018

Right now, the Red Cross has three specific needs that are high priority volunteer positions: a blood donor ambassador, a blood transportation specialist and a disaster action team member. It is volunteers in priority positions like these, or in any number of roles, who carry out 90 percent of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross.

Your favorite memories surrounding the holidays or about life in general probably don’t involve gifts at all. They involve rituals and traditions, feelings and emotions—all involving quality time spent doing something important, whether with loved ones or a community of strangers that can become friends with purpose in the world of volunteering.

Carrollton STA

This year, give something that means something. Give the gift of your time and become a volunteer. Do it alone or team up with a friend or family member. It will be a gift that is far more valuable than anything money can buy. It will be a gift you’ll remember forever.

To explore opportunities to share your gift of time, visit Redcross.org.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Wanted: Volunteers for Volunteers

New leadership positions available for volunteers

By Melanie Collins, Senior Volunteer Recruitment Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

If you are a Red Cross volunteer, you are one of more than 1,600 Red Cross volunteers in the Northeast Ohio region.  Did you know that dozens of volunteers serve in leadership capacities? Leadership volunteers play an integral role in strategic planning, monitoring service delivery and ensuring the organization exceeds its goals.  This month we are highlighting leadership needs within the Volunteer Services Department and information about a new volunteer role – Volunteer Recruiter/Team Member, who will be supporting the department with outreach and recruitment of new volunteers.

Below is the list of opportunities and we are asking you to share these with your network – friends, family and colleagues! If you know someone who is interested in volunteering with us or would like to learn more, CLICK HERE to fill out a referral form. You will have a chance to win a bag of Red Cross merchandise!

Volunteer Services Engagement Lead
Duties: Oversees the Volunteer Experience for those serving in the region. They are a resource for volunteer supervisors in all lines of service (Disaster Cycle Services, Biomedical, etc.) and will work closely with the Volunteer Services Sr. Engagement Specialist. Commitment: Approximately 10 hours per month, working on-site and remotely.

Volunteer Services Recognition and Appreciation Lead
Duties: Oversees the development and implementation of both formal and informal chapter recognition efforts and promotes formal regional recognition programs. Commitment: Approximately 2 hours per month, working remotely and on-site. Greater commitment of time during the annual recognition periods.

Volunteer Services Volunteer Connection Lead
Duties: Serves as an ambassador of the official American Red Cross volunteer management system.  Oversees the utilization and enhancement of Volunteer Connection. Commitment: Approximately 4 hours per week, working remotely and on-site.

Volunteer Recruiter/Team Member
Duties: Assists the Volunteer Services team to implement the regional workforce recruitment plan. Helps us research places of where we may recruit for volunteers.  This may be via social media, hanging up flyers or asking groups if the Red Cross can come in and make a presentation to their group.  Commitment: 2 – 4 hours/month, working remotely or on-site.

Those interested can apply by clicking on the position title! For more information visit www.redcross.org/volunteer or contact Melanie Collins at 330-204-6615 or melanie.collins4@redcross.org

Danke, gracias, grazie, merci: It’s International Volunteer Day!

The American Red Cross is a proud part of a vast network of international organizations. So when the United Nations began to promote December 5 as International Volunteer Day, we were completely on-board!

To our more than 1,700 local volunteers, who promote our mission to prepare and alleviate human suffering…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you, also, to those who serve the call of humanitarian organizations across the globe. And to those who serve along side of us as we continuethe recovery process from this year’s hurricane and wildfire season…thank you!

12264-003.jpg

If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/neo and click on Volunteer. There are so many opportunities to serve, here in Northeast Ohio, and across the country.

Youngstown-area Volunteers Head into Smoke and Fire of California

Three American Red Cross volunteers from the Northeast Ohio Region are being deployed to California, where a wildfire has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Randy Liang of Cuyahoga Falls will help support the technology needs of the Red Cross disaster relief operation in Mariposa County, California.

Mark Strausser and Jason Mitman (in video, above) of Youngstown will work with residents who are staying in shelters as a result of the wildfire.

Red Cross workers and partners helping to provide a safe place to stay and three meals a day for hundreds of displaced residents.

“We help people here, at home, every day,” said Mitman, referring to the help Red Cross workers offer to Northeast Ohio residents who experience home fires and other disasters.  “Now I get to help people in California.  This is why I volunteer for the Red Cross.”

Other volunteers from Northeast Ohio may also be deployed to help in the days to come.

For information on volunteer opportunities, visit redcross.org/neo, and click on the Volunteer tab.

Mr. Classic, Rocker and Recruiter for the Red Cross in NEO

Veteran Cleveland DJ Explains Why He Now Volunteers for the Red Cross

By Anmol Nigam, American Red Cross Volunteer

In downtown Cleveland, classic rock fills a studio in the Halle Building. Midway through a conversation, Walter Garrett’s eyes light up and he rapidly presses keys and pulls down sliders on a variety of keyboards and mixers in front of him. With a grin on his face, his voice fills the room as he takes the first of many callers who will phone-in during the night.

“You’re on 98.5 WNCX!”

mrclassic

Walter Garrett, aka “Mr. Classic” Photo credit: Anmol Nigam/American Red Cross Volunteer

Walter is “Mr. Classic,” the host of the Saturday evening radio show Saturday Night Live House Party for over twenty-five years. A native Clevelander, he now lives right next to the Lorain County office of the American Red Cross in Elyria.

Each day he passed the Red Cross and thought about how he should be doing something there – volunteering or donating blood.

Then, three years ago, Walter underwent a major surgery.

“I wasn’t feeling well, so I went to the ER. It turns out I was having a heart attack.”

Walter needed six pints of blood during his surgery. And due to the efforts of the Red Cross and its volunteers, Walter got it.

He thought about his daily commute and decided that it was finally time to give back to the organization that had helped him in his time of need. He walked into the Red Cross office and asked about volunteering. Now Walter can be found at Red Cross events recruiting new volunteers.

Volunteer Walter Garrett at Regional Headquarters
Photo credit: Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

“I really enjoy talking to people at the events for the Red Cross. You can’t put a price on that. It’s not something you get in a paycheck. It’s something you can’t put a price on.”

If you have an interest in volunteering for the Red Cross,  log onto redcross.org/neo, and click on the volunteer tab.

 

 

Coming Up: 2017

new-years-eve-1664737_960_720.jpg

Happy New Year everyone!

2017 has a lot of great events and happenings already lined up, and it’s only January 1st. Let’s look ahead at the coming year.

March is Red Cross Month – March was first proclaimed as Red Cross Month in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a way to raise awareness of the organization and its humanitarian mission in the midst of war. Since then, every president, including President Obama, has designated March as Red Cross Month.

This year is particularly special as we will be celebrating 100 years of serving many of our communities!

Acts of Courage (Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties Chapter)- On March 2 we will celebrate the extraordinary and courageous acts of ordinary community members at our 21st annual Acts of Courage event in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties. The event is the primary fundraiser for the chapter. We will also honor Kevin Thompson of PNC Bank with the H. Peter Burg Award for community service.

If you are interested in obtaining tickets or sponsoring the event, please visit the event page here.

Fire and Ice Ball – The semi-annual Red Cross Ball will take place in Cleveland on March 25th. This year’s theme highlights the importance of fire prevention and safety information that the Red Cross provides to our community. We respond to an average of 3 home fires a night throughout the 22 counties we serve. Proceeds from this event will allow us to continue to educate Northeast Ohio families about fire safety and help us protect local homes through Operation Save-A-Life, our amazing program that installs smoke alarms – for free!

If you are interested in obtaining tickets or sponsoring the event, please visit the event page here.

BASH – Our smash hit event of the spring – the BASH in Stark and Muskingum Lakes is a themed auction to benefit the disaster services in Stark, Harrison, Carroll, and Tuscarawas Counties. For more information on tickets, sponsorship, or donating to the auction, please call the Stark and Muskingum Lakes chapter.

Acts of Courage (Lake to River Chapter) – This summer we will honor individuals whose extraordinary acts of courage make them someone’s hero. Those everyday people who have put themselves in harm’s way or have risked their lives to save another. For more information, please call the Lake to River Chapter or visit our NEO Heroes page.

Festival of Trees – We realized you are probably in the midst of putting away your own holiday decorations, but it’s never to early to start thinking about how you can participate in our annual holiday tradition in Wooster. For more information, call the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

And – of course – we invite you to assist us in providing our services every day of the new year by going to www.redcross.org/neo and clicking on volunteer. It’s amazing to serve the people in our communities and you’ll be so glad you did (plus it may help you tick off one of those pesky New Year’s resolutions!)

Recovery Continues on East Coast

Twelve days have passed since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in the United States.  Many areas remain flooded. 26 Red Cross shelters remain open, with over 1,400 individuals seeking lodging there on Monday night.

dsc_6818

As waters begin to recede, the second stage of the Red Cross recovery efforts will begin. We will start to work with those affected to provide navigation through the web of assistance available to them, not just through the Red Cross, but through other organizations such as FEMA.

 

Some of our img_2537volunteers are out in communities – as conditions permit – across North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida to provide warm meals and relief supplies. Some are on the ground accessing the damages to homes (a step necessary for a family to obtain financial assistance), while others begin to meet with families and individuals to help them map out their own recovery process.

img_2526All told, the Red Cross has mobilized almost 5,000 disaster workers, 235 response vehicles, 19 partner-supported kitchens as well as truckloads of water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.

Overall, Red Cross and community partners have served more than 931,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 187,000 relief items, supported more than 19,000 health and mental health services, and provided 93,000 overnight stays in shelters.

How can you help?

MAKE A DONATION – The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

GIVE BLOOD – We’d also like to ask public to remember the blood needs of the Red Cross. Hurricane Matthew has already forced the cancellation of many blood drives along the East Coast, and more could be cancelled. If you’re in an unaffected area, please give blood or platelets now, so we can continue to help patients in need. Go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

BECOME A VOLUNTEER – People can make a difference in someone’s life by becoming a Red Cross volunteer. To join us, visit redcross.org/neo and click on VOLUNTEER today to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. To learn more about national deployment, read this story.