Saturday, May 7, 2016

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Arturo Guzman

Red Cross Salutes Teachers

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when everyone should stop to thank our educators for all they do to build strong communities. The American Red Cross in Greater New York is proud to count many wonderful teachers among our dedicated volunteers. This week, we want to spotlight their amazing commitment, compassion and talent. 

Arturo Guzman
Arturo was a teacher for over 30 years. He started as a nursery school teacher, then taught kindergarten, grades 6-7-8, and then High School students. He started to volunteer with the Red Cross over 30 years ago, after a colleague left to be an instructor with the Red Cross in Health & Safety. He saw this as an opportunity to join the Red Cross. His first volunteer role was as an instructor in teaching Health & Safety classes, too. Now, he wears a lot of hats. “I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on – anywhere the Red Cross is responding – and whenever something happen, I try to respond,” he said.

Arturo is the volunteer partner to Josh Lockwood, CEO of the Greater NY Region. He lectures and teaches classes, including how to drive an ERV (emergency response vehicle). In addition, Arturo also mentioned that whenever Anastasia Hannah (Disaster Program Manager) needs help in the Bronx, he tries to drop everything to help her, too.

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher? 
A: I was inspired to be a teacher by a teacher – a drama teacher. My mom was also a great influence on my decision to be a teacher. But, I was greatly swayed by his experience with my own teachers – both good and bad. I always wanted to be one of those people who can change and influence people to think outside the box.

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: There is an absolute intrinsic value when you see a kid’s eyes light up because they got it. Teachers do so much more than teach subjects. They teach students about socialization, appreciation, the ability to get along with others and work with others, to give back when you have. These are messages that are so crucial and often are left to teachers, in many cases, to influence students to grasp what they are trying to teach.

If there is one message I always shared with my students it was to start a change in your own life at home. Then give back to the community.

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: I think teachers and volunteer both want to give back to the community.  They want to instill in people that they are an important part of the community. It took me a long time to explain to students that volunteers don’t get paid in money, they get paid in something more intrinsic. Educators strive to get students to be good citizens and at the Red Cross, we do the same thing.

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