Young People Find Great Volunteer Opportunities at the Red Cross; Adult Mentors Help Them Grow!

by Keysha Dorch, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter Volunteer

Rhode Island Youth Corps photo

Members of the Rhode Island Chapter recently prepared bags of personal care and comfort items for the Totes of Hope program that helps provide support to military veterans.

Young people wanting to be involved in their communities, build character and learn leadership skills are finding great opportunities to serve with the Red Cross Youth Corps. And the Red Cross is looking for adult leaders to help support the increased activity of the Red Cross Youth Corps in Rhode Island.

American Red Cross Youth Services are essential to the fulfillment of the Red Cross mission. Youth Corps volunteers are engaged in all aspects of the Red Cross: Preparedness, Health & Safety Services; Blood Services; Emergency Services; Service to Armed Forces; and International Services.

The Rhode Island Chapter is looking for adult volunteers to educate, encourage and empower youth to be role models in their communities so that as current and future leaders, they can further the mission and fundamental principles of the Red Cross and touch more lives nationwide and around the world. “Our mission at the Red Cross is to build stronger, safer, more resilient communities,” said Red Cross Director of Volunteer Resources and Youth Services Jason Campagnone. “With the Youth Corps, we strengthen communities by developing stronger, more engaged youth.”

American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter Youth Council Chairman David Vargas credits his involvement in the Red Cross Youth Corps for his increase in integrity and willingness to help people. For Vargas, Red Cross Youth Services provides challenging yet attainable goals that motivate and provide a sense of accomplishment and community. Volunteering with the Red Cross has “helped me learn the real definition of commitment and dedication,” Vargas says. “The Red Cross also has also let me see the importance of volunteering and how one person can make a difference.”

As Youth Advisors, volunteers will be expected to ensure that youth volunteers are fully engaged in their assigned Red Cross activities, educate the community on the youth services aspect of the Red Cross mission and expand the youth initiative within schools and colleges. These adult mentors/advisors need to be reliable, supportive and dedicated to helping build the future of the American Red Cross. This is a great opportunity for young professionals who want to build leadership and networks and for others with experience to share in shaping future leaders.

For information on how to become a Youth Advisor, please visit www.redcrossyouth.org or contact Jason Campagnone by phone at (401) 831-7701 extension 101 or by email at Jason.Campagnone@redcross.org.

HELP NOW: BECOME A RED CROSS DISASTER MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEER

If you are a licensed mental health professional with a desire to help people, the American Red Cross has a fulfilling volunteer opportunity for you. Join us to support people who have been impacted by residential fires, disasters and other emergencies.

American Red Cross disaster response includes an important emotional support and mental health component aimed at helping people to cope with the emotionally difficult nature of disasters and to begin their own recovery.

There are a variety of ways to help and time commitments to choose from. The first step? Register and learn more here.

American Red Cross Helping Two People After Coventry Fire

The American Red Cross is helping two adults with emergency housing and food needs after a fire Monday on Albro Lane in Coventry.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits, containing age and gender appropriate personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a family might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire.  Children’s kits include a stuffed toy.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers.  For more information about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit www.redcross.org.

American Red Cross Helping Three People After Providence Fire

The American Red Cross is helping two adults and one child with emergency housing and food needs after they were displaced by a fire today on Swift Street in Providence.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits, containing age and gender appropriate personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a family might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire.  Children’s kits include a stuffed toy.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers.  For more information about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit www.redcross.org.

 

Red Cross Helping Two People After North Smithfield Fire

The American Red Cross is helping two adults with emergency housing, food and clothing needs after a fire today on Pond House Road in North Smithfield.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits, containing age and gender appropriate personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a family might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire.  Children’s kits include a stuffed toy.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers.  For more information about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit www.redcross.org.

 

Red Cross Babysitter Training Offered on Presidents’ Day

The American Red Cross is offering its Babysitter’s Training class on Monday, February 18. The course will be offered at the Red Cross office in Providence.

“The Presidents’ Day school holiday is a great opportunity to give your children this important training,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman. “The skills your child learns in this class will help them if they want to earn money babysitting, but will also provide skills to help them watch younger siblings and to be safer at home.”

Designed for young people ages 11 to 15, “this course prepares you to become a great babysitter – and shows parents that you take this responsibility seriously,” Shipman said.

Participants gain practical skills and confidence through video presentations, hands-on activities and classroom discussion. Students will also leave with resources to help them get started as Babysitters, including résumé and business card templates; “How to Ace an Interview” guide; safety inspection checklist; and more.

Participants will learn how to:

•           Supervise children and infants

•           Perform basic child-care such as diapering, feeding and dressing

•           Choose safe, age-appropriate games and toys

•           Handle bedtime and discipline issues

•           Identify safety hazards and prevent injuries

•           Care for common injuries such as burns, cuts and bee stings

•           Communicate effectively with parents

•           Find and interview for babysitting jobs

Classes start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. The class will be held at the Red Cross office in Providence. Cost for the course is $85. The course fee includes a Babysitter’s Training Handbook, Emergency Reference Guide and CD-ROM. After successful completion, students will receive Babysitter’s Certificate. To register call 1-800-REDCROSS (733-2767) or register online at www.redcross.org.

American Red Cross Helping Five People After Providence Fire

The American Red Cross is helping a family of five – two adults and three children – with emergency food needs after a fire this morning on Camp Street in Providence. The family was able to make alternative housing arrangements.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits, containing age and gender appropriate personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items a family might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire. Children’s kits include a stuffed toy.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers. For more information about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit www.redcross.org.

Naval Academy Prep Students Help Red Cross Provide Shelter from the Storm

Brody, Paul, Jared and Adrian are 4 of 23 students of the Naval Academy Prep School who volunteered to set up, staff and close the Rhode Island shelter in Middletown.Photo: Sara Smith, American Red Cross

By Sara Smith

Early in the afternoon just one day after a blizzard socked the Northeast, four young men in Navy uniforms have formed a human chain. They’re carefully tossing boxes into a Red Cross trailer parked outside Gaudet Middle school in Middletown, R.I. Adrian Chinnery, Jared Hachmeister, Brody Samaha and Paul Weatherford, all candidates and students at the nearby Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS), joke about the weight of a bag filled with Styrofoam containers as they toss it down the line, while also reminding each other to watch their footing on the snow-covered pavement.

Through a special partnership with the American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter, 23 candidates from NAPS volunteered their time, skills and muscle to help set up, staff and close the shelter in Middletown. Shelter manager Carmela Greer considers them an irreplaceable asset, noting, “I couldn’t have done this without them. It was literally like having the Navy come in and assist with a big emergency.” She was struck by the candidates’ professionalism and compassion, both on vivid display at the shelter as some sat with elderly residents through the night, offering conversation and a distraction from the fierce weather. Other candidates played games with young children whose families’ homes had lost power. “They helped serve meals, comfort residents and anything we asked of them. They were so great,” Greer gushed. “I would be in traction doing all this if it wasn’t for them.” Their assistance was certainly needed; the Gaudet Middle School shelter in Middletown served as many as 344 local residents during the storm, eclipsing the population of the eight other R.I. shelters opened in response to the February blizzard. Families, elderly and residents with special needs were kept warm, comfortable and well fed as they waited for power and heat to be restored.

Adrian Chinnery, a student from NAPS packing up the shelter at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, RI
Photo: Sara Smith, American Red Cross

Placing the last box of supplies into the Red Cross trailer, the four candidates talk about how great it was to be able to help with the response to the storm. As they catch a ride back to NAPS, Carmela appreciatively warns them that they may be called upon again. All four smile, laugh and accept the challenge.

Shelters Open in Rhode Island After Blizzard

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Effective immediately, Governor Lincoln D. Chafee has granted limited access for travel for those individuals who do not currently have heat, electricity or who require immediate life safety needs. Other non-emergency travel is still subject to the statewide traffic restriction at this time.

Shelters are open in several locations to provide a safe, warm place to stay, said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman. Shelters are in the following locations:

  • Jamestown: Melrose Elementary School
  • Middletown: Gaudet Middle School
  • Tiverton: Tiverton Middle School
  • Wakefield: South Kingstown High School
  • Warwick: Warwick Vets High School
  • Westerly: Westerly Senior Center

Shipman said shelters will have basic supplies, but residents can make their visit more comfortable by bringing some personal items:

  • Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, or air mattresses
  • Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.
  • Folding chairs, lawn chairs or cots
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Quiet games, books and favorite toys
  • Important papers
  • Prescription medications

Additional shelters may open as needs and travel conditions evolve. Remember that, while service animals are permitted at shelters, pets are not.

Visit www.redcross.org for shelter locations and information on preparing for cold weather.

American Red Cross Winter Storm Information Resources

Here’s a handy consolidation of Red Cross links to information that will help you weather the storm.

Additional outdoor safety info:

o    Before you take on any strenuous work in cold temperatures—such as shoveling snow—consider your physical condition, the weather and the nature of the task. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated while working, and avoid overexertion.

o    Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

o   Seek medical attention immediately if you have symptoms of hypothermia, including confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Also seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of frostbite: these include numbness; flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration; and waxy-feeling skin.