Volunteers make up over 90% of the American Red Cross workforce, and whether it’s responding to home fires, supporting behind the scenes operations or educating the community on preparedness initiatives, our volunteers do it all. Some volunteers, like Central Texas Red Crosser, Joanne Sims, volunteering also includes sharing the Red Cross mission with those she works with as well.
Joanne’s introduction to the Red Cross came through her employer, Amplify Credit Union. Amplify Credit Union has been a supportive corporate partner of the American Red Cross in employee engagement and giving, and after participating in a general Red Cross overview, Joanne was intrigued to learn more. Part of that intrigue came from Joanne’s desire to find her volunteer “home”, and seeing the passion shared by the Red Cross team was contagious.
Part of Joanne’s excitement about joining the Red Cross is the myriad of opportunities for all. “There is something for everyone, and there are many tools and people to help volunteers find the job that is the best fit,” Joanne shares.
Joanne’s first training role after joining earlier in 2020 was to support our Disaster Action Team as a responder but with the coronavirus pandemic making its way into our communities, her disaster relief learning took a pause. But as the consequences of the pandemic took its many forms, for the American Red Cross, one big concern was how we could supply the nation’s blood supply with scheduled blood drives being canceled left and right.
Joanne saw that need and quickly stepped up to support our local chapter with training and serving as a Blood Donor Ambassador. As local city ordinances began to implement shelter-in-place guidance, blood collection was left on the “essential” list, and volunteers, like Joanne, selflessly kept themselves on the front line to support our blood collection staff.
It didn’t take long for Joanne to see why exactly this work remained essential. “After the first time I volunteered, I could immediately see the importance of these volunteer positions,” Joanne said. “The work these volunteers do allows the Blood Collection staff to focus on the donors and collecting blood donations ensuring the whole process run more efficiently.”
Not only do our volunteers serve the mission and ensure our organization is operating efficiently, they are the best ambassadors to share how integral the Red Cross is, and why volunteers are critical to our success.
“What better way to learn and be an advocate for an organization to join their amazing team of volunteers?” Joanne shared. “There is an immense benefit in being able to speak from personal experience as a Red Cross volunteer to my Amplify team members.”
If someone is looking to find their volunteer “home” and friends that are bonded by a fundamental desire to help their community in the face of emergencies, then check out your local Red Cross and see what is in store for you!