This post has been graciously sponsored by the American Red Cross
Have you ever wanted to give back to your community, but been unsure as to how to get started? I felt this way too until I visited the national headquarters of the American Red Cross last month. They make finding volunteer opportunities in your area super easy. While many know the Red Cross for there wonderful work through blood drives, there is wide variety of volunteer options; even some you can do from home. So kick your excuses to the curb and get started. You’ll be glad you did.
Red Cross Volunteer Opportunities
The vital work of the American Red Cross is made possible by people like you who contribute their unique backgrounds, talents and skill levels. Their needs change based on current events, adding flexibility to get you involved in an area that inspires you!
Did you know that someone in America needs a blood transfusion every 2 seconds? I was astounded when I heard this. The Red Cross needs 13,000 to meet the needs of about 2,500 hospitals across the country. Another mindblowing statistic is that only 3% of Americans give blood. I felt guilty for not donating the moment I read this. I’m a little scared to donate, but I’ve vowed to find a blood drive in my area next month and just DO IT! Will you join me?
- You do not need to know your blood type to donate, but you will know it after. You’ll get a blood donor card or can have a nifty profile in the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
- A whole blood donation appointment will take approximately one hour. In the time, it takes to complete one whole blood donation appointment, 1,800 patients in the U.S. will have needed lifesaving blood products. WOW!
- One blood donation saves more than just one life.
Donating blood not your thing? You can still help out at blood donation centers by being a greeter, data input volunteer, or taking care of donors with juice and cookies. Visit RedCrossBlood.org/give and enter your ZIP code to find a drive near you.
Join the Home Fire Campaign
When you think of the Red Cross and their disaster recovery efforts, you probably think about massive events like hurricanes and floods. In fact, the Red Cross responds to an average of more than 62,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. So they set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%. Do you have a plan for your family during a fire?
In the spring of 2019 Red Cross volunteers and their partners installed 100,000 free smoke alarms in high risk neighborhoods nationwide. Sound the Alarm installation and fire safety events took place in more than 100 communities across the country, providing a lifesaving service in their quest to reduce death and injury from home fires.
More facts about home fires:
- 7 people die every day from a home fire, most impacting children and the elderly
- 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day
- Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year
You can join your local Red Cross to install smoke alarms, educate your community about fire safety, or help others after a fire. Learn more at www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html
Become a Disaster Action Team Volunteer
About 90% of the American Red Cross workforce is made up of volunteers. Most of these disasters are local home and apartment fires. Picture a family watching their home go up in flames not knowing what they are going to do next. These disasters may not make the news, but are just as devastating to the families affected.
If you are ready to take volunteering to the next level, becoming a Disaster Action Team volunteers could be right for you. After an initial screening and training, you can help respond to these emergencies, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From offering a shoulder to cry on, to meeting any immediate needs for shelter or supplies, to connecting people with long term recovery services, Red Cross volunteers ensure that families don’t have to face tough times alone. Volunteers sign up for shifts that work in their schedules.
Other Disaster Volunteer Opportunities
- Volunteer Management
Assist with volunteer recruitment, placement, record keeping and recognition.
- Disaster Services
Provide food, shelter, comfort and care for families affected by major disasters such as fire, hurricanes and tornadoes.
- Disaster Preparedness Presenter
Educate individuals and groups on how to be prepared before a disaster occurs
- Public Affairs
During disasters, tell the Red Cross story to your community.
Find out about the needs in your area by searching for current volunteer opportunities.
Service to the Armed Forces
Work with members of the military, veterans and families in military and VA health care facilities providing recreational and therapeutic services and supporting special events. Red Cross volunteer opportunies include:
- Armed Forces Caseworker- Ensure delivery of emergency communications for members of the military and their dependents to keep these families connected during crisis
- International Tracing Services- Assist in the international search for persons living overseas, in war-torn countries or thought to be living in your community
- Administrative Support– Administrative and clerical support at Military bases
- Military Briefing– Briefing various military and civilian groups throughout the island on Red Cross programs
- Medical Professionals and Paraprofessionals– Lend a hand to patients at Veterans Administration and military hospitals (MD, LPN, PRN, Licensed PT, Pharmacists, EMT, CAN, MA, Pharmacy Tech, PT Practitioners)
- Youth Support- Support and shadow other volunteers and professionals at Veterans Administration and military hospitals
- Human Animal Bond Program- Volunteers bring their dogs to Tripler Army Medical Center wards, clinics and waiting areas for informal visits with patients who are recovering from physical, mental or social illness
Use Your Communication Skills
Perhaps the easiest way to volunteer for the Red Cross is from the comfort of your home. There is a new call for Digital Advocates. You can share with your friends using the social media buttons found on every page on redcross.org. Follow them on our social accounts to join the conversation and spread the word about the good things they do in your community. This is something I am already doing and it’s so easy. Have talents in writing or public speaking? Here’s are other ways you can help:
- Grant Researching/Writing
Assist the fundraising team as they research, write and execute grants.
Provide presentations about Red Cross programs in the community.
- Public Affairs
During disasters, tell the Red Cross story to your community.
Help Map the World
Each year, disasters around the world devastate millions of people. But many communities are missing from the maps that responders use to deliver lifesaving aid.
To help get relief into people’s hands, the American Red Cross and partner organizations have launched the Missing Maps project. Using OpenStreetMap, volunteers have put millions of people from high-risk countries on the map since 2014. I tried this at the Red Cross Headquarter. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy.
This makes a lifesaving difference for disaster workers combating deadly health crises like the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. And when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ravaged parts of Nepal in 2015, volunteers worldwide sprang into action to map affected communities and roads to support relief efforts on the ground.
You can join a Missing Maps program near you or start one yourself. It’s a great volunteer program where kids can join in too!
Get Your Kids Involved
24% of Red Cross Volunteers are 24 years and under. You can help start Red Cross Clubs from elementary school through College age. Young people can join programs like The National Youth Council and Summer Internships at the Red Cross Headquarters
But wait, there’s more…
There are truly too many volunteer opportunties to list in one post. I hope you will get involved in some way. If you are unable to give of your time, donations are always needed as well.