Tuesday, April 28, 2020

"Three Questions" with Red Cross Volunteer Darya Matskin

"Three Questions” is an American Red Cross in Greater New York blog series featuring staff, volunteers, and partners who help carry out our humanitarian mission. Through these short interviews, we hope to shine a light on our different programs and get to know those who make this work possible.

When Darya Matskin is not working her day job as a psychologist, she’s serving in multiple capacities for the American Red Cross, primarily as a supervisor for disaster response, mass care and sheltering. The Brooklyn resident is wrapping up her first year with the Red Cross by working both in-person and remotely for the Red Cross.

How do you approach your volunteer work as a disaster responder, helping a family who has lost everything to a fire?

When I go out there, I really go through this crisis with them. I want them to step out of it as fast as they can, to let them just know that we’re there for them. It’s a huge relief, knowing that they’re not by themselves. Losing something that’s really close to their hearts, it can be so difficult. Just explaining to them that "You’re out, you’re here and safe with us," and knowing that they’re not alone.

How has Red Cross work changed since the COVID-19 crisis started, specifically your volunteer work?

Right now, we're doing remote casework where we’re still helping individuals with disaster relief, setting them up in hotels, and we still have teams going out to help people if the situation calls for it. We’re constantly on standby – my job right now is to work 12-hour shifts, so I’m working at home from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. I’m on three days, so 36 hours per week no matter what. I’m also continuing to do fieldwork, usually to drop off CAC’s [Client Assistance Cards with financial assistance] if it’s requested by the ECC [Emergency Communications Center]. On top of that, I’m helping distribute food in-person at hospitals for healthcare workers. Just whatever I can do to give back at the moment. You never know what’s going to happen.

What do you find most meaningful about about supporting NYC healthcare workers?

For me, it’s just a thank you to everybody working at the hospitals. I’m there to make sure they get their bag of supplies and a thank you. And what’s incredible is that the workers themselves are coming out and saying thank you. They all have smiles on their faces, and it’s so rewarding beyond words.

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