Friday, July 10, 2009


If you’re one of the 9.5% of Americans that is unemployed, volunteering for the American Red Cross is a great way to avoid employment gaps and keep you active.

Layoffs are slowing, but jobs are scarce, leaving nearly 7 million Americans collecting unemployment checks and retailers looking for customers. The bad news is joblessness is at a 25-year high, with almost 1 out of every 10 Americans out of work. The good news is that the number of newly laid-off workers requesting unemployment insurance fell by 52,000, the Labor Department reported yesterday.

If this alarming figure includes you, there’s an opportunity to make the most of the situation by volunteering or interning at your Chicago Red Cross chapter. While you wait for the economy to rebound, keep your skills sharp and, network and make contacts while giving back to your community. At last, the up side of the worst unemployment to batter the country since the early 1980s.

Career counselors routinely advise people who've lost their jobs to volunteer for charitable organizations, both to broaden their resumes and to fill their unemployed hours. Although the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, released last September, show only a slight uptick in the number of Americans doing volunteer work, experts think the numbers this year will tell a different story.

According articles in The Examiner, The Baltimore Sun and Crain’s Cleveland Business, many recently-laid-off volunteers are looking to stay involved and broaden their own skill set to assist in their transition to another job. The volunteers are not looking to sit on the nonprofit's board, but they instead hope to join committees in which they can use their skills to help lead the organization.

I’ve personally loved my experience as a Red Cross Auxiliary Board member, with tremendous opportunities to network, take on leadership roles across a variety of projects and be a part of one of the most respected organizations in the world! For information on how you can volunteer: Complete the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago application. You may also request a hard-copy application form by contacting or (312) 729-6222. To join the Auxiliary Society to participate in one of our many event and fundraising committees, click here and complete your membership by paying here.

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