Did you know that those who volunteer have better health? According to researchers, volunteers “have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.” This fact came as a surprise to me too! However, after my own research, I realized that there are numerous more benefits to volunteering, such as career exploration, personal growth and other skills. I recently moved to the U.S. to pursue my master’s degree and realized that while volunteering with the American Red Cross I could further develop my communication skills!
My experience for the annual Giving Day with the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region was everything I expected and more! I assisted throughout the telethon and flexed my social media skills, discovered new digital tools and learned more about the organization. For example, I used Periscope to broadcast interviews with volunteers and staff. I also learned the advantages of cloud sharing and quick photo editing tools.
Giving Day was a great experience to see how volunteers and staff support the humanitarian mission across five key service areas. It felt great to help share and promote these services on social media platforms and to see the online community reacting to it. Thanks to this volunteering opportunity, I discovered the Red Cross’s incredible local work and their amazing staff. As soon as I entered the building, a staff member who was busy entangling wires greeted me with a huge smile. Later, I learned that he was Geoff DeLizzio, the COO in the National Capital Region. He and other staff members are always ready to do any work to contribute to the organization’s progress and mission. Besides being funny and friendly, I also learned that people who work at the Red Cross are very professional. They did an amazing job preparing for the Giving Day by creating detailed plans, messages, and many other helpful materials prepared far ahead for the social media team and this is just one of their many amazing attributes!
I recommend anyone and everyone to volunteer with the American Red Cross! It feels great to be part of a professional, passionate, and fun team. It is also a unique opportunity to practice your existing knowledge, learn new and practical skills, and get to know your local organizations work! Redcross.org/Volunteer
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
|COO Geoff DeLizzio and Yoda from 2015 Giving Day Telethon|
If we each #help1family, think of what we could do! Join us right here for the American Red Cross Giving Day on Thursday April 21 from 12:00 pm until 2:00 pm. We'll be live streaming our second annual telethon and celebrating the thousands of local Red Cross supporters with tips, tricks, and other activities. Make sure to mark your calendar to watch the telethon AND call in to join the fun at 202-643-0303.
Feel good and #help1family. Make a gift today: https://givingday.redcross.org/region/dc
Friday, April 15, 2016
Written by: Brigitte Yuille, volunteer
Volunteering has been a consistent activity throughout my life. However, I never grasped the true benefit of this action until I was an adult.
During my childhood, I volunteered as a Girl Scout to earn Brownie points. These points would help me get to the next level in the Girl Scout league. I volunteered at church in Middle School and throughout High School. My actions didn’t resonant with me then because I was too frustrated with getting up early on Sunday mornings. However, as I helped a young child learn to read, I noticed that I liked helping people. Volunteering soon equated to going to a good college. The more experience I had and community-minded I became the more it improved my chances of going to a top-tier school. So, for a while the activities were done for my personal advancement. It was more about me.
A year after my mother passed away, I had gone through a depression. I felt so alone in my grief. After listening to a sermon, I decided to volunteer. The message simply was that depression can be self-consuming, and to stop hurting it's best to help others. So, I began volunteering at a juvenile detention center for young women. I also did activities at community events. That’s when I discovered something amazing: pure joy. The legendary talk show host Oprah Winfrey describes joy as having a texture. Well, the more I helped the young women at the detention center by guiding them and just chatting the more joy I felt. It was euphoric. I also developed friendships with other people who volunteered. The benefit was meeting people of good character. I learned to stop focusing on what I don’t have; instead, I focused on what I do have. When I volunteer, I share the valuable lessons my parents have taught me; I share what I have learned from having a comfortable childhood, and I share what I have learned from my struggles to help people get past their own.
Today, I make an effort to volunteer as much as I can. I have even developed events dedicated to advancing conversations that can lead to social change. For example, I produced a panel discussion at the Smithsonian during women’s history month as a Women in Film and Video Board member. The conversation addressed gender equality issues in Hollywood and how to resolve them.
One small act of kindness can alter someone’s life for the better and by helping to improve other people’s lives you ultimately help to relieve people of their pain or struggle. Another perk: You can be the change that you want to see in the world.
Happy National Volunteer Appreciation Week!
Become a volunteer: http://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer#step1
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
During National Volunteer Week, the American Red Cross is celebrating its hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help fulfill the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering during emergencies. These volunteers fulfill a wide variety of roles, and here is one of their stories.
Written by: Emily Goff, volunteer
Last year when I was a sophomore in high school, I joined the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. I was excited by an opportunity that allowed me to give back while doing one of my favorite things, writing. As a volunteer with the Communications team, I interview local Red Cross supporters to help share their stories and experiences. These people volunteer at Fort Belvoir, teach lifesaving skills, respond to house fires in the middle of the night and so much more. After speaking with them I write articles to be used on blogs, on social media and in press releases to promote the great work being done by our thousands of regional volunteers.
In the future, my goal is to become a newspaper journalist with the hope that I can capture both the struggles and the joys of humanity through words. Therefore, my current volunteer work is allowing me to enhance the writing skills that are necessary for such work. I feel truly grateful that I've been able to align with such a fantastic organization, and I definitely plan to continue volunteering as a writer.
Red Cross volunteers give their time to help their community. Sign up today to join their ranks and be part of the lifesaving work of the Red Cross. There are many ways you can get involved. Go to to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application.
Friday, April 8, 2016
Written by: Emily Goff, volunteer
Meet Josh Carin, a Red Cross supporter who’s helping to make his neighborhood a more resilient place. Josh was first introduced to the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region through local networking events. A while back, he attended another nonprofit’s gala and purchased a home emergency kit for his family. Since that day, Josh has been constantly striving to maintain safety and preparedness for his family and his community.
Josh’s devotion to the Red Cross mission was reinforced after the September 11 attacks. As a business owner, he felt obligated to prepare his entire team for natural and man-made disasters. Josh created an emergency plan that addresses both preparedness as well as business continuity. His team carries the Department of Homeland Security’s, “SeeSomething, Say Something” protocol in both English and Spanish wherever they travel to in the DC, MD, and VA areas. Drivers are also instructed to first call the office in the event of an emergency, then, if possible, head back to the main headquarters. Each driver is given an emergency backpack purchased from the American Red Cross, and each of his office executives has an emergency backpack in his/her personal car.
If Josh could give any advice regarding disaster preparation it would be for “businesses to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of their teams and teach them how to handle any possible disaster.” There is no such thing as too much safety! To learn more about how you can commit your workplace or organization to preparedness, join the Red Cross Ready Rating Program.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
My involvement with the American Red Cross began when I was in high school in Pakistan. The Red Cross was there for a blood drive. We were very excited and ready to donate our blood, and had heard about how this blood was going to save countless lives. We got to know what our blood types were, which was uncommon in those days. I still remember how extremely disappointed I was when I was rejected as a result of being underweight. But I was so determined to make a difference that I didn't give up, and eventually I was able to meet the requirements so I could give blood.
I have been a transfer manager, intake manager, have reported hours, organized surveys for classes, have worked on the Pillowcase Project and have worked with the Youth Clubs. Also, as a front desk admin, my job was to greet visitors, take calls regarding different issues volunteers have and handle email correspondence. Currently, I mostly work on data clean-up. Learning new tasks keeps me motivated and helps me to gain important professional experiences.
Last November, I got to be a part of the amazing fundraising event, The Salute to Service Gala. It was a wonderful experience – I got to work with the registration team. I was a bit nervous and scared about possibly making mistakes, even though I had been trained for it. It was also a live program, so the pressure was even more intense. However, it turned out to be a life-changing experience; everyone was amazingly helpful, and I felt like I was part of a truly significant activity.
While working with the Red Cross, I have seen how many incredibly kind and compassionate people are always ready to lend their incredible talents to the organization. The Red Cross is globally known, and people are always willing and ready to help out. The Red Cross is an inspiration for countless people who are interested in helping others and promoting human rights. It is an honor to be part of the organization.
Want to become a volunteer? Join us!