Friday, September 23, 2011

AmeriCorps Volunteers Help Carry Out Lifesaving Mission of the Red Cross

AmeriCorps has been a long time partner of the American Red Cross that helps the Red Cross achieve it’s mission by paying special attention to the neighborhoods and communities that are in need of life saving services, but are least likely to be able to afford them. This federal initiative is carried out locally by full and part-time participants that focus on a mission that is quite similar to that of the Red Cross. AmeriCorps embraces:

•Getting Things Done by helping a community meets its education, public safety, environmental and other human needs through direct service
•Strengthening Communities by fighting illiteracy, building affordable housing and helping communities respond to disaster
•Encouraging Responsibility by fostering civic engagement through service and volunteering
•Expanding Opportunity by providing members with job skills, invaluable experience, and scholarship or loan repayment for school or job training

Members go through an extensive training process to provide service to society through community organizations. This week, I had the opportunity to meet new members of the AmeriCorps program that were in CPR training at the Rauner Center, the offices of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. Talking with Chris Schifeling and Anne Bowlby gave me a better understanding of their role within the Red Cross.

Chris spent two years working with Teach for America and wanted to continue to have “direct contact with communities in need.” The values of the American Red Cross and the politically neutral aspect of our mission statement stood out to him. He is looking forward to helping communities in Chicago that do not receive assistance and has truly enjoyed getting to know the other AmeriCorps members during his training.

Anne is very aligned with the service aspect of AmeriCorps and the Red Cross. Prior to her training at the Chicago Red Cross, her only experience with the Red Cross was through blood donations. She believes in the “trickle down effect” that important training programs from the Red Cross can have on communities, and encourages those who are looking to do service to “lend a hand wherever you can.” She knows that the practical implication of skills learned from AmeriCorps and the Red Cross will help her “give back to [her] community.”

AmeriCorps members are invaluable in our attempt to enact the mission of the Red Cross. The AmeriCorps program is dedicated to bringing Red Cross safety and health programs to underserved neighborhoods, schools and communities throughout the State of Illinois. AmeriCorps members help us with health and safety programs that include CPR, first aid, HIV/AIDS awareness, community disaster education, youth programs and more. Through our partnership with AmeriCorps, the Red Cross is able to reach youth, minorities, low-income communities and senior citizens.

Get involved in the life saving mission of the Red Cross and AmeriCorps and make a positive impact in the community you live in. Visit to sign up for classes, view safety tips or to make a donation.

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