We’ve all been hearing, “There’s an app for that” about almost everything. The American Red Cross is now part of the tech revolution. At redcross.org you can prepare your smartphone so whatever comes your way, you’ll know what to do. Romina Cervantes, Volunteer and Youth Services Manager, recently impressed her counterpart in Paris, France and expect this feature to go international soon.
Programs abound to volunteer with the American Red Cross. Anna Marie Gotti has been a volunteer with Red Cross out on deployment many times and has worked with many projects including CPS — Community Partnerships Services. One of the more publicized events was the 2012 Super Storm Sandy. The area organizations specify their needs and CPS facilitates Red Cross resources within their community. When disasters happen it becomes clear that preparedness is essential.
As part of the DAT— Disaster Action Team responding to local fire emergencies, Gotti again sees the need for preparedness. The Fire Department offers residents the option of Red Cross assistance, which after a fire includes a lot of moral and some financial support to make it through. The Red Cross can then coordinate other local resources that may be needed.
When The Pillowcase Project formed in 2015 to teach elementary age children about emergency preparedness, Gotti’s concerns about preparedness made her want to be part of the action. Having reached over 600 students by September of this year, children then share the Pillowcase Project materials and information with their families and now more families and neighborhoods are prepared.
The Tri-County Red Cross Chapter is reaching beyond geographical boundaries and has presented The Pillowcase Project to schools in Dixon and Santa Rosa. The Project is made exciting by having a Disney sponsorship and also offering a free app at redcross.org/monsterguard enhancing the projects three steps of “Learn, Practice, Share.” Gotti is actively seeking volunteers to be part of this important project.
Romina Cervantes, the Volunteer and Youth Services Manager, appreciates that the average age of volunteers is 55 and over. Seniors in our community are often found sharing the message of what the Red Cross does as well as taking on active rolls in its programs. Semi-retired and beyond, seniors contribute in ways too numerous to list.
“Personal and work experience along with knowledge of diplomacy in difficult situations makes our senior volunteers exceptionally effective.” Cervantes attributes the camaraderie at the organization to the stability of committed volunteers. Several have been in place for 25 or more years. “With their high level of compassion senior volunteers continually provide comfort and stability in emergency situations.” Cervantes observes.
Patsy H. Gasca, Disaster Program Manager shares that the Santa Cruz Chapter has the most long-term team members in the country. The free training, both online and at the onsite classroom is thorough, setting up volunteers for success. Although our local Tri-County chapter is one of the smaller ones, it sends out a higher number of trained volunteers to disasters throughout the world.
If you have a little bit of time and are willing to work with young students Gotti has a place for you as a Pillowcase Project volunteer!
There are many activities and jobs to do at the Red Cross that suits the skills and schedules of individuals of all ages who wish to volunteer.