My name is Katherine Kneen and I am a current volunteer for the American Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Regional Chapter. I work in the communications department and spend my time writing pieces for our blog, sending press releases to local media outlets, posting and monitoring our social media sites, and doing whatever else is needed. I am originally from Maumee, Ohio which is a suburb of Toledo, and when I thought of the Red Cross, I only thought of blood donations. It wasn’t until my senior year of college at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, that I really was able to see the additional work that is being done at the American Red Cross.
I began my internship with the American Red Cross this January and my first few weeks were sort of a culture shock to me. I was completely unaware of what the American Red Cross does on a daily basis in the Southeast Michigan Region and even more unaware that they respond to 4-7 fires in the region daily. I didn’t know that the Red Cross responded to house fires, or gave food, clothing and shelter to those individuals who may have been affected. It may sound silly, but being from a small suburb of Toledo, it was forced into my head for years growing up, that American Red Cross deals with blood and that’s it. I don’t remember the American Red Cross having such a major impact like they do here in the Southeastern Michigan Region. I was able to really dive head first into the culture of the American Red Cross and see all the amazing things they do.
On a monthly basis, I post a video on the blog and social media sites that is part of the “Red Cross Stories” series. These videos were made by people directly affected by a fire, natural disaster, serious health concern; they saved a life by performing CPR learned from a class taken through the American Red Cross or even a Holocaust survivor who is reunited with a family member almost 70 years after the end of World War II. Those are the stories that really show people how the efforts of the American Red Cross have really saved and changed people’s lives. I had no idea the impact that the organization I get the pleasure to work at, has had in the lives of millions of individuals across the country. It was truly inspiring and moving to watch each person say “Thank You”. It is those types of images and stories that make you want to change the world and help anyone who needs it.
I have learned that the American Red Cross is more than just blood drives, but a saving grace for so many people. The volunteers who get up in the middle of the night to respond to a house fire are truly amazing and committed individuals, those citizens who are able to save a life using CPR they learned in a Red Cross Class, or taking the First Aid information learned and applying it to a real life experience. These volunteers offer their time, love, first aid and CPR knowledge, support, and dedication to not just the organization but to those individuals who need help and assistance in a time of need. It is that type of dedication that allows for the American Red Cross to be successful in saving lives and helping individuals rebuild their lives. I feel fortunate that I have been given the opportunity to become a part of this amazing organization.
I was given such a great opportunity with the American Red Cross and now, I want to hear about yours! If you’re interested in submitting your story about your experience as a Red Cross volunteer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Volunteer Story Series