We all have our reasons for volunteering in our community, but in the simplest of terms, volunteering is a commitment by an individual for the positive benefit of others.
The Southwest Colorado Chapter of the American Red Cross has been in the community since 1917 and has spent the majority of that time as an all-volunteer agency. Currently, the chapter has only one paid employee. We rely on volunteers to provide services in the 11 counties we serve (six counties in the San Luis Valley recently were added to the Southwest Colorado Chapter).
Opportunities abound for anyone looking for ways to give back to the community. We currently are looking for volunteers for these positions:
Serve on a Disaster Action Team (DAT) and help victims of fires and other local disasters. These are the first Red Cross volunteers to the scene of any disaster and issue immediate disaster-relief assistance such as lodging, food and clothing to people displaced by the disaster. Teams respond to disasters on an on-call rotation basis.
When larger disasters occur, such as wildfires, we need volunteer shelter workers. These volunteers make sure shelters are chosen appropriately, set up and equipped with all necessary items. As a shelter volunteer, you may be called upon to set up cots, feed clients and provide basic support to them during their time at the shelter.
Those with medical or mental-health certifications help Disaster Services clients with health and mental-health needs. You can provide care on disaster relief operations or assist local clients with their disaster-related or disaster-aggravated health needs.
We rely on volunteers to prepare Coloradans for disasters large and small. Using a grass-roots approach, we put boots on the ground to talk with people, and at businesses, schools and organizations to help put them on the path to preparedness. Volunteers work with youths to instill a mindset of preparedness that will be part of their culture for generations to come.
Help us staff informational booths at local special events. We provide information about personal and business preparedness and services that we provide in the community.
Manage social-media outreach and tell our community about what the Red Cross does. Make your tweets, Facebook posts or blogs have real meaning.
Help us fulfill our mission by providing office support. We always can use help with data entry and general office duties.
Help serve as a volunteer leader for the Red Cross at the local level by becoming a board member. You will partner with the executive director to provide guidance and counsel in the development of local strategies that will help us deliver our mission.
We will continue to be able to provide our services in Southwest Colorado with a strong and supportive volunteer cadre.
Cindi Shank is executive director of the Southwest Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross.