In my kitchen there is a chalkboard wall with the days of the week running from top to bottom in a Pinterest-worthy design created in soothing blues and cheery yellows. Under each day’s heading you’ll find a series of times and activities: 4:00 to 4:30 – piano, 6:00 to 7:30 – soccer, 7:00 to 9:00 – dance. There’s something scheduled all seven days, sometimes more than one something. Sometimes there’s more than one something at the same time. Those are our most exciting days.
In all of this busyness, my family has worked hard to carve out time to serve others. I believe that we clearly live in a Give Back culture, with most families and individuals donating time, goods, and money to an endless variety of organizations. Our kids are required to accumulate service hours in order to graduate, our churches ask us to tithe, and we follow our personal passions to connect with the causes that matter most to us.
My family has chosen to focus on church and community as the best way to volunteer our time and talents. My husband and I spend a lot of time serving at our church, and our kids serve both weekly at church as well as occasionally at school.
The best way to engage my family with volunteer opportunities outside of our regular schedule is to offer ways to serve that are short-term. During my time visiting the American Red Cross, I was surprised to learn of the variety of ways to volunteer with the Red Cross, including short term jobs with a big impact. I had volunteered in the past at blood drives, and I’ve certainly seen the sea of Red Cross volunteer vests following disasters ranging from home fires to hurricanes, but volunteering with the Red Cross is so much more than what you might expect.
It’s a myth that the Red Cross is everything to everyone. But what they really offer is the ability to mobilize a lot of other people who are doing a lot of the work that is needed.
The Red Cross makes it as easy as possible to join their volunteer family, a vast network of wonderful people who comprise nearly the entire organization. To get started, simply visit RedCross.org, where you will find three ways to locate the right volunteer job for you. You can search by keyword or title, browse a list of opportunities in your region, or even take a quiz to find what you are best equipped to do.
There is no small job at the Red Cross, and both employees and volunteers are referred to as Red Cross staff.
If you are a person with specific abilities and certifications, from IT skills to multiple language fluency, there are unique opportunities for you to help as part of the Red Cross team. But by no means does the Red Cross require this in order to utilize your time and talents! Students and families can even get involved in service through Red Cross Clubs in high schools and universities.
Ways to join the Red Cross’s efforts around the world and in your communities include:
In future posts, I’ll be sharing information about the work the Red Cross does with our military and military families as well as the Red Cross apps available and the incredible mapping project I had the opportunity to participate in.
Have you ever volunteered with the Red Cross? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! And let me know if you have any questions about volunteering with the Red Cross.