Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Building Community, Changing Lives: My look back on my time at the Red Cross

By Dora He

For the past nine months, I have had the enormous pleasure of working with the Greater New York Red Cross as a communications intern. As someone who has taken swim lessons, earned lifeguard certification, volunteered, -and now, worked, with the Red Cross, I believe the Red Cross has played a very important role in shaping my understanding of community outreach.

Every time I work with the Red Cross, my new experiences change the way I view volunteerism and teach me how to use personal strengths to contribute to my own community.

While serving as a communications intern, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how the Greater New York Red Cross touches lives on a daily basis. From blood drives to fire responses to operating disaster relief shelters, the volunteers and employees at the Red Cross work around-the-clock to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their community.

I also got to take a closer look at the work the Emergency Call Center contributes behind the scenes, to make sure that volunteer operations go smoothly. On my ride-along trips, I was able to help families recover in the aftermath of their apartment fires.

In the office, I helped ensure that our blog stories reached out to New Yorkers who might not know of the Red Cross’s free services to the community. Through this combined action, I gave back in a truly unique way to the city I have come to call home over the past few years.

Working with the Red Cross has empowered me with a greater understanding of the meaning of volunteerism, and its vision is one I have been proud to support. In the future, I hope to stay a part of the Red Cross by serving as a volunteer in any way possible.

Although I am only one person, I am positive I can help implement change at a bigger level; I hope to encourage others to think about the way they can help their peers as well. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

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