Monday, March 16, 2009


Hello everyone!

Choosing to volunteer with the American Red Cross here in Chicago is a wonderful way to help out the community, but it could also become a stepping point to helping those in need nationally.

When a national disaster happens, like Hurricane Gustav or wide-spread wild fires in California, local Red Cross chapters may need to reach out a hand for help. This turns into deployment opportunities for those volunteers ready to serve! Hurricanes Ike and Gustav both occurred during our term as AmeriCorps, so we were able to witness how the Red Cross deploys its volunteers.

The first step a chapter takes is reaching out through the DSHR network. The network reaches all members that have signed up for DSHR and volunteer for the Red Cross in Disaster Services. Generally, chapters find volunteers that are qualified in areas that are in need. For example, Client Casework and Disaster Assessment are usually needed shortly after the disaster. By volunteering in Chicago, you can learn the valuable skills needed to help in the event of a national disaster!

Lily was selected through DSHR to be a volunteer in Louisiana…

Using the training I received here at the Greater Chicago Chapter, I deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana under the Client Casework function. So basically, I was sent to Louisiana to exactly what we do here in Chicago every day - just under slightly different circumstances! While I was in Louisiana, I worked in south central Lafayette traveling to the surrounding Parishes to assist those more directly affected by Gustav and Ike.
I had such a good time! It was an extremely challenging experience, but it was also very rewarding and gave me a new perspective on our country.
I wouldn’t have had this opportunity, or have been trained to be such an asset to the team had it not been for the working with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago’s Disaster Services.

It all starts here!
What are you waiting for?
Sam and Lily

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