Earlier this month I visited the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, DC, just a quick Metro ride away from my home in the suburbs.
My visit was part of an online influencer event, and to be completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Somewhere in my childhood bedroom is the CPR certification card I received from the Red Cross in high school, and I remember volunteering at a blood drive once with my hometown’s volunteer fire department. Red Cross volunteers showed up quickly when my next-door neighbor’s house burned down, and I think that we’re all familiar with the organization’s response to disasters.
It turns out that the Red Cross is so much more than the occasional blood drive and a CPR certification card. I’d like to introduce you to the real Red Cross.
As my regular readers know, I’ve been in a time of transition here in my online world for some time, and I have to be completely honest – I’ve moved slowly and cautiously towards my vision for how to use this space because in many ways, it does not always feel safe to share and hope and try to help others. I think that most of us feel how divided our nation is right now, and all of us who have spent any amount of time on social media have felt the vitriol that seems to seep into every corner of life.
During my time with the Red Cross, I was reminded why it is so important to continue to try to help others, to do good where and when we can, to stay true to the mission even in the most difficult circumstances.
I was reminded of this famous quote from Fred Rogers:
They are a talented and committed group –90% of them volunteers – who live by this Red Cross Mission:
Now that I’ve seen firsthand all that the Red Cross does to ease suffering, it’s important to me to help dispel the myths that threaten to get in the way of the Red Cross mission, and I hope to introduce you to all that the Red Cross is and does. And my greatest hope is that by the end of my sharing, you feel – as I do – the importance of joining the American Red Cross in helping to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the United States and around the world.
“This is not just about material logistics. We’re helping people in their darkest hour.”
“The reason it’s easy for us to remember the mission is because it’s actually what we do.”
“Volunteers focus on hope and hugs because that’s what alleviates suffering.”
“There’s no small job at the Red Cross.”
I walked away from this event with ten typed pages of notes. Ten. I can’t stop talking to my family about the Red Cross, both here in the United States and globally. This post is just the beginning. I’m looking forward to sharing how you can volunteer with the Red Cross, telling you more about the role the Red Cross plays in disaster relief including their helpful apps, introducing you to their work with military and military families, and recruiting you all to join me in helping to map the world from home while enjoying a glass of wine. No, really. This is a thing and its incredible.
This post and the posts in the series are part of a sponsored partnership with the American Red Cross. All opinions and enthusiasm are my own.