Thursday, November 3, 2016

We are quickly approaching our Salute to Service Galataking place on Saturday, November 19, at the Hilton McLean in Tysons Corner. This annual event showcases the Red Cross’s commitment to helping the community in times of need, and is a celebration of extraordinary individuals and their contributions to humanitarian services and their service to our country. The Salute to Service Gala is presented with the help of our many generous sponsors, including Silver Sponsor JPMorgan:

At JPMorgan Chase & Co. we recognize the tremendous sacrifices military members, veterans and their families have made for our nation. They often face significant challenges as they transition back to civilian life or seek to balance their careers with continued service in the Guard or Reserve. This year marks the fifth anniversary of JPMorgan Chase’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, established to drive firm-wide Veteran-related initiatives. Since 2011, more than 10,000 military veterans have joined the ranks of JPMorgan Chase, and the Firm has developed programs aimed at retaining and supporting them throughout their careers. By focusing on employment, financial capability and small business opportunities, JPMorgan Chase aims to position military service members, veterans and their families for success in their post-service lives. These efforts include leading the Veteran Jobs Mission – previously the 100,000 Jobs Mission – a coalition founded in 2011 by JPMorgan Chase and 10 other companies with the goal of hiring 100,000 veterans. Now more than 230 members strong, the coalition has collectively hired over 347,000 Veterans, and is committed to hiring 1 million.
To view the complete list of our amazing sponsors and to find out more event details please visit our website at

Friday, September 30, 2016

My Red Cross Volunteer Story: Renee Anderson

By: Brigitte Yuille, volunteer 

As a military wife, new travel arrangements and adapting to new locations often becomes routine. Every few years, these wives prepare to pack everything up and go. For Renee Anderson, this meant moving her family twelve hundred miles away from Wichita, Kansas, and the comforts of the Midwest, to the U.S Capital, Washington D.C., also known as America’s political juggernaut. Here, she and her family would settle into a new home and a new way of life.

Anderson’s husband works for the U.S. Air Force. As “the trailing wife,” she wanted to acclimate to the new sites, sounds and culture. She wanted to meet new people and feel useful and productive. Anderson thought of the saying “knowledge is power, but knowledge shared is multiplied,” and she began considering all the skills, abilities and the talents she possessed. She wanted to use them for a good cause and to empower people; so, she decided to become a Red Cross volunteer.

“I saw an administrative opportunity, and Human Resources is my background,” she said. “And I thought, yeah I can do that. I would enjoy it.”

Anderson spends two days a week in the National Capital Region’s office and reviews all online applications for volunteers. In her role as a Volunteer Intake Manager, she is introduced to many like-minded people. People who want to use their talents and skills for a good cause. Anderson works to match their talents and skills with the right opportunities within the organization.

 “I come to work each day and I know I am going to be laughing and enjoying the team spirit,” she said.

Anderson shares that the highlight of her volunteer job is working with her volunteer management team, which includes Erica Canfield, Joe Cattaneo, Chetna Jha, Krutika Krishnan, Daniel Noh and Kemi Ogungbayo.

Share your time and talent by joining our team and becoming a Red Cross volunteer

Friday, September 16, 2016

Don't Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

Written by: Divya Soni

Does your family know what to do during a disaster? Has the recent flooding and wildfires across the country made you wonder, “What if something like this happened where I live”?

Disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods and wildfires happen quickly and unexpectedly, but you can easily learn how to prepare for natural and man-made emergencies. National Preparedness Month is a great opportunity to call a family meeting and make an emergency plan. 

8 steps to get started:
  1. Know important home, work and cell phone numbers.
  2. Pick the same person for each family member to contact, possibly someone who’s out of town.
  3. Select meeting spots in and out of your neighborhood.
  4. Identify responsibilities for each family member.
  5. Know the exits and draw a floor plan to find ways out of every room in your house.
  6. Discuss how to respond to emergencies that are most likely to occur where you live and work.
  7. Practice evacuating your home twice a year and drive alternate routes.
  8. Prepare your pets too! Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
Make sure everyone in your family knows what do to!

Youth preparedness helps children and young adults become better prepared for different disasters. Make a kid-friendly plan and have kids practice what they’ve learned with the Monster Guard app.

Older adults can also benefit from knowing how to text/post messages for emergencies. Since local phone lines might be out of service or overloaded, it may be easier to get through by texting. Make sure your parents and grandparents have a secure digital copy of their insurance information.

All of the tips above are just a start! Check out more tips at Remember, disasters are unpredictable, but the most important thing you can do for your family and friends is to be prepared for them!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Freshmen 15? The flu? Blizzards? Don’t worry, we've got you covered!

Written by: Harsha Jha, volunteer

The time has come for all new university freshmen to say goodbye to their childhood bedrooms and head off to their dorms. The parents are probably trying to keep it together as their child is shopping for bedding, supplies, and the much-needed mini fridge; but deep inside they just want to hold on and never let go of their kid. So hey parents and college freshmen, as you prepare to start this new part of your life, here are some tips from the American Red Cross.

  1. Have a fully stocked First Aid Kit. You will get sick in college and without mom and dad, there will be no one to get you medicine. So keep a first aid kit for all those small emergencies. Not sure what to take? Check out the one at the Red Cross Store!
  2. Know your new environment. Is your college in a hurricane prone area? Or prone to flooding, tornadoes or blizzards? Know what kind of climate to prepare for and make sure you have the proper clothing and items. We highly recommend having the Emergency app downloaded to keep you prepared. Here is a list of all the apps available to keep you safe.
  3. Seek help. If you are feeling very sick or just under the weather, know where the health center is on your campus. Also, remember to write down any medications you are allergic to, your insurance company, etc.
  4. Eat healthy. There is going to be a lot of good food around, but try your hardest to stay fit too. Free gym? Try to go 2-3 times a week. Keep healthy snacks in your dorm for all those midnight snacks during finals week and most importantly, eat breakfast!
  5. Be prepared to help peers. There will be many students who will not be ready for the new lifestyle, so why not be the hero on campus? Teach them about emergency preparedness or maybe even learn CPR or take a first aid class. College is all about trying new things, so why not start now? Check out some American Red Cross classes to get started.
  6. Call your parents. In the moment, you will be so busy with welcome week, new friends and new classes, but remember at the end of the day to just send mom and dad a text or call them. It brightens their day and trust me it will have you feeling better too.
College is all about limitless opportunities; so don’t be afraid to seize them. With all of these tips, you are prepared to start your new life in at a college or university! Good luck from the American Red Cross!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Powering up Communications for Displaced Silver Spring Residents

Written by: Brigitte Yuille, volunteer

Mike Goodwin is use to getting a variety of unique requests for his business that require a great deal of decision-making. As General Manager of Shepard Exposition Services, he works with associations, companies and private individuals in need of general contractors. His team decorates convention centers and the halls of hotels with items like registration tables and poster boards for trade shows and other special events.

However, one day he checked his phone messages and received a rare request. One of the company’s clients reached out asking for a mobile device charging station, but it was not intended for another trade show or special event. Instead, the charging station would power up mobile devices for around 100 people recently displaced from their homes in Silver Spring, MD.

Just before midnight on August 11, a powerful explosion and fire ripped through the Flower Branch Apartment Complex. Some residents fled their homes while others were rescued by neighbors, firefighters and police. Some 31 people had to be rushed to hospitals. Besides physical injuries, many more residents were emotionally devastated. The sudden loss left people stunned. They were desperately seeking ways to put their lives back together and to find a sense of normalcy.

Goodwin had heard about the apartment fire from the local news. “I thought it was an extremely scary situation,” he said. “My thoughts and heart immediately went out to the families that were directly affected by the event. Something of that magnitude that would happen without any prior notification would be scary. For anybody, and for myself having children and a family of my own, it would be devastating for an explosion like that to happen and then to lose everything.”

Goodwin had a charging station that wasn’t going to be used for the next couple of weeks. He realized he could lend the station to the Long Branch Community Center, where the residents were staying. Lending the item wouldn’t add too much stress to the business, and it would help fulfill the Center’s need. It was an easy decision to make, he quickly concluded.

“It made perfect sense,” Goodwin said, “there can only be so many [electrical] outlets.” He thought about the living arrangements in the community center, and he understood that they would need to contact the outside world.

Shepard Exposition Services is a nationwide company, but staff members within a branch often try to help local communities, Goodwin explained. “When the need arises, and there is an opportunity to show that we are in the community and we care, we will lend our support,” he said.

Goodwin instructed his crew to load up the truck and deliver the charging station within 24 hours.

Thank you so much to Mike Goodwin, Shepard Exposition Services and all of our community partners for providing comfort and hope to those who stayed at the Silver Spring shelter. For more ways to help visit

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Red Cross VolunTeens Story: Valerie Myers and Annabel Lee

Written by: Valerie Myers and Annabel Lee, VolunTeens

This summer at the Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, MD more than 50 high school students participated in the American Red Cross VolunTeen Program. The students received hands-on experience to learn what it’s like to be in a hospital setting and work in a Military Treatment Facility by engaging with patients, soldiers and other Red Cross volunteers. The competitive application process for the program began in the spring when high school students submitted a teacher’s recommendation and essays regarding their interest in the medical field, challenges they have faced in the past and relevant volunteering experiences. Just over 50 students were chosen to participate in the six week program that included a new educational component each week, called Medical Awareness for Teens. 

Students were assigned to departments such as Audiology, Dermatology, Hematology, Psychiatry and Pediatrics. Besides answering phone calls and organizing files for the staff, the students supported doctors, nurses and technicians, and even observed medical procedures and processes depending on their department. Some students were also assigned to the Red Cross office, where they helped other Red Cross volunteers deliver coffee, snacks and toys for the patients and families receiving care at Walter Reed.

“I’ve really liked it so far,” said Alyssa Yu, teen volunteer in the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology department. “I think it’s a really cool experience. It’s different from other things that I would otherwise do because of my age. Before coming here, I wasn’t that into the medical field. To be honest, I thought it was cool instead of doing camp counseling or something, but now that I’m here, especially with Medical Awareness for Teens, I’m actually a lot more interested in it. Surgery seems really fun … And I really like the new research that they [the doctors] are showing.”

With the help of some amazing staff at Walter Reed, the Red Cross was able to include an educational component called Medical Awareness for Teens (M.A.T). The educational events created opportunities to learn in an interactive way and take a closer look at a few departments within the Military Treatment Facility.

The MAT Program was divided into five parts over the summer: Common Medical Diagnosis, Amputee Clinic, Radiation Oncology/Radiology, Simulation Center, and Occupational Therapy. In these briefings students had the opportunity to hold plasticized body parts while learning about common medical diagnoses and even got to touch a real brain! They were able to operate the CAREN system, an immersive virtual reality system...basically an interactive video game used to train for balance and skills. They were also taught basic suturing skills and were able to practice these skills in the Simulation Center.

“[MAT] brings much more hands-on experience than what my actual job entails,” senior Tristan Hanlin said.

Through the work in their departments and MAT, the VolunTeens were able to get an idea of what the medical field entails and what they could possibly pursue in the future. Not only will they have earned hours for their student service learning this summer, but they also gained an invaluable experience that can be applied in future careers.

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Red Cross Disaster Story: Glenda Williams-Blackmon

Written by: Emily Goff, volunteer

On March 2, 2016 tragedy struck Glenda Williams-Blackmon's world when a house fire destroyed her home. Fortunately, Glenda along with her four family members and three dogs managed to flee from the toxic smoke and orange flames without so much as a scratch. Unfortunately, all of their possessions, from family heirlooms to toothbrushes, were
devastatingly lost. Imagine the bed you make every morning, the box of birthday cards you've been collecting over the years, and everything else gone forever.

The Red Cross was, in many regards, Glenda's saving grace. She contacted the organization shortly after the disaster in hopes of receiving support and ultimately bringing back a sense of stability in her family’s life. With the utmost gratitude in her voice, Glenda explains how these hopes came true. "The Red Cross gave me money, clothes and personal hygiene items. My family and I got to stay in a hotel, too, because of the organization." The Disaster Action Team of volunteers who helped Glenda in her time of need showed ample tenderness, according to Glenda. "They helped me out. They were extremely kind and friendly. I had no trouble working with them." Such comfort and caring is exactly what the Red Cross provides when it responds to a disaster every eight minutes.

Since the fire, Glenda has been focused on rebuilding her life and is still grateful to the local Red Cross volunteers for transporting her from a state of despair to a state of hope, courage and strength. She is also encouraging others to learn more about fire safety and prevention. "Make sure that you turn off your ovens and that your fire extinguishers work." These simple pieces of advice could be what spares you from such a common catastrophe.

The Red Cross is always promoting preparedness -- and in September especially! September is Preparedness Month, so start researching ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and you will gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have the skills to handle an emergency.