Sunday, January 2, 2022

"Three Questions" with Matthew Fasciano

Interviewed by Catherine Hegeman, American Red Cross in Greater NY

"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.

Matthew Fasciano has been a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) in Westchester County for five years, a role which sees him provide emergency assistance after local disasters. After watching storms devastate the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean a few years ago, Matthew felt compelled volunteer. Born and raised in New York, Fasciano works as a nonprofit COO.

What has the Red Cross brought to your life?

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that a fire or other disaster can turn somebody’s life upside down in an instant. What we’re able to do is provide assistance, support, care and compassion in someone’s darkest hour. And it’s immediate. It’s on the spot. I really treasure just being able to play a small part in that.

The second part, it may sound funny, but there is some truth to it: I’m nobody’s boss in this role. I’m just some guy. I have a day job where I am responsible for a lot of things. Here, I just get to be a volunteer. I just get to be someone who can help. I don’t have to make big organizational decisions, and that’s a very nice juxtaposition for me.

What do you bring to the Red Cross?

I think I bring a spirit of commitment. I take all of my personal and professional experience with me, in terms of how to engage people. How to talk to people from all walks of life who. The people we help, the one thing they have in common, as I’m meeting them, is a disaster. I lean on my experience as an educator and as a social worker and having done nonprofit work in a variety of settings, I lean on all of those experiences in my support of individuals affected by disasters.

What are the next steps in your volunteer journey?

I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I balance a lot of other things in my life, family and work and other volunteer engagements…the older I get I have an appreciation and a fondness for balance. And I have found a balance in my life and certainly with respect to what I’m doing for the Red Cross. So I think the immediate plan is just to keep doing what I am doing.

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