Monday, May 30, 2016

Profile: Bob Reggio, Veteran and Service to the Armed Forces Volunteer

This Memorial Day weekend we caught up with long time Red Cross volunteer and veteran Bob Reggio to talk about his work with Service to the Armed Forces.


How long have you been with the Red Cross and when did you become Service to the Armed Forces Volunteer?

Fourteen years with the Red Cross and close to  four years with Service to the Armed Forces (SAF).

What  are your primary duties as an SAF volunteer?

I'm a case worker, following up on outcomes involving requests for emergency leaves or emergency messages. I contact the original caller making the request for a leave or for a message, and addressing problems that may exist.

What do you find most surprising in your work?

The impact difficult situations can have on me.  Also the genuine and deep appreciation so many people have for what we are doing. Recently, a service father told me he always took the Red Cross for granted but no more. I am proud to be a part of that. I guess I am surprised too at how powerful the impact of SAF can be.
       
What would you like people to know about our SAF programs?
 
The impact our work has. The variety of ways in which we offer assistance and support to the members of our Armed Forces.

To be an SAF volunteer what characteristics do you think you need?  Do you think being a veteran has helped you in this work? 

As a Case Worker, I’d say that empathy is key. Sensitivity to the problems people are facing for which SAF has been called. The ability to articulate an awareness of the problem being faced and the recognition that people are different and that they face these situations in ways that may differ from your way.  An understanding that family situations and relationships can be quite complex.

Although my service was many years ago, I think being a veteran helps. Sometimes just saying it to the families with whom you are working seems to provide a sense of reassurance and connection.

To learn more about the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces and to get involved, please visit www.redcross.org/SAF 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In Case You Missed It - May 23

Red Crossers installing free smoke alarms in the Bronx. (Photo: Vivian Moy)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 144 adults and 54 children following 48 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Monday, May 16, 2016

In Case You Missed It - May 16

Red Cross Volunteer Steven Thorne supporting FDNY open-houses to the public.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 62 adults and 30 children following 36 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tzu Chi Honors Greater New York Red Cross

by Stan Frank, American Red Cross

Mr. George Chang, CEO and Executive Director for the
Northeast Region of Tzu Chi, presented the award to Uikki-Onosai O’Bryant, Red Cross 
Disaster Program Manager, Manhattan.

On April 24, the Greater New York Red Cross Chapter was honored with a plaque presented by Mr. George Chang, CEO and Executive Director of the Northeast Region of Tzu Chi, to Uikki-Onosai O’Bryant, Disaster Program Manager, Manhattan. The plaque was in appreciation for our community efforts with the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign in which Red Cross and Tzu Chi volunteers installed more than 1,066 smoke/carbon monoxide alarms in 400 homes and apartments in Flushing, Queens during the past year.

Upon presentation of the plaque Mr. Chang said, “We are honored for the opportunity to have worked in collaboration with you and look forward to further developing our partnership to benefit our communities”.

The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, which is one of our most active partners in New York City, is a nonprofit, non-governmental humanitarian organization that operates out of nine regional areas in the United States. Founded in Taiwan in 1966, Tzu Chi has more than 10 million volunteers in more than 50 countries, and more than 100,000 volunteers in the U.S. The Tzu Chi Northeast Region’s Flushing Office recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The American Red Cross worked closely with Tzu Chi in the wake of 9/11, on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and following Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“We couldn’t ask for more in a partner,” said Uikki-Onosai. “Tzu Chi is not as well known in the U.S. as the Red Cross, but they are well known and highly respected worldwide as one of the world’s top humanitarian organizations. After 9/11 the Blue Angels, as their volunteers are called, were invaluable in helping us provide emergency services to disaster victims in New York City. They were great to work with installing smoke alarms in the Queens campaign. We are very fortunate to have them as partners.”
The plaque was presented in April at Flushing High School.

Congratulations to Tzu Chi on their 25th Anniversary in New York! We look forward to many more years of working together to prevent disasters and provide relief and compassion wherever and whenever it is needed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In Case You Missed It May 9

Red Cross volunteer, mom and teacher Lori Ann Pizzarelli with fellow Red Crosser Mike Deleon. (Photo: Vivian Moy)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 93 adults and 31 children following 30 local disasters. Here are some highlights from last week and a preview of upcoming activities (see below).

Last Week in Review

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
  • Calling all golf lovers! Barclays is looking for support at the PGA tour playoffs this summer from August 23-28 in Farmingdale, LI. Signing up gets you full admission to the tournament for you and a guest. Learn more about this great opportunity. Don't forget to select American Red Cross as your affiliation when you register!
  • May 12, 16, 18: Red Cross blood drive: 1 to 7pm: 520 West 49th Street, Manhattan. Schedule an appointment to donate today.
  • May 14: The Citizen Preparedness Corps (CPC) is looking for more trainers and is holding presenter training sessions on May 14. If you are an interested Red Cross volunteer, please email olga.wallace@redcross.org.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Arturo Guzman

Red Cross Salutes Teachers

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when everyone should stop to thank our educators for all they do to build strong communities. The American Red Cross in Greater New York is proud to count many wonderful teachers among our dedicated volunteers. This week, we want to spotlight their amazing commitment, compassion and talent. 


Arturo Guzman
Arturo was a teacher for over 30 years. He started as a nursery school teacher, then taught kindergarten, grades 6-7-8, and then High School students. He started to volunteer with the Red Cross over 30 years ago, after a colleague left to be an instructor with the Red Cross in Health & Safety. He saw this as an opportunity to join the Red Cross. His first volunteer role was as an instructor in teaching Health & Safety classes, too. Now, he wears a lot of hats. “I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what is going on – anywhere the Red Cross is responding – and whenever something happen, I try to respond,” he said.

Arturo is the volunteer partner to Josh Lockwood, CEO of the Greater NY Region. He lectures and teaches classes, including how to drive an ERV (emergency response vehicle). In addition, Arturo also mentioned that whenever Anastasia Hannah (Disaster Program Manager) needs help in the Bronx, he tries to drop everything to help her, too.

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher? 
A: I was inspired to be a teacher by a teacher – a drama teacher. My mom was also a great influence on my decision to be a teacher. But, I was greatly swayed by his experience with my own teachers – both good and bad. I always wanted to be one of those people who can change and influence people to think outside the box.

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: There is an absolute intrinsic value when you see a kid’s eyes light up because they got it. Teachers do so much more than teach subjects. They teach students about socialization, appreciation, the ability to get along with others and work with others, to give back when you have. These are messages that are so crucial and often are left to teachers, in many cases, to influence students to grasp what they are trying to teach.

If there is one message I always shared with my students it was to start a change in your own life at home. Then give back to the community.

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: I think teachers and volunteer both want to give back to the community.  They want to instill in people that they are an important part of the community. It took me a long time to explain to students that volunteers don’t get paid in money, they get paid in something more intrinsic. Educators strive to get students to be good citizens and at the Red Cross, we do the same thing.





Friday, May 6, 2016

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Tara Graham-Turner


It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when everyone should stop to thank our educators for all they do to build strong communities. The American Red Cross in Greater New York is proud to count many wonderful teachers among our dedicated volunteers. This week, we want to spotlight their amazing commitment, compassion and talent. 


Tara Graham-Turner
Tara has been a teacher for 13 years. She decided to volunteer with the American Red Cross Metro New York North chapter after Superstorm Sandy. Tara is a Disaster Action Team (DAT) responder, a member of a shelter team, and also helps with administrative tasks like entering data into the client assistance system (CAS 2.0).

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher? 
A: I met my best friend, Kim Reed, in middle school. She invited me to see her mother's kindergarten classroom. The minute I stepped into Mrs. Reed’s room I knew I wanted to teach.

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be? 
A: Whatever grade you teach make sure that you leave room for the social emotional needs of your kids. A child is going to struggle to attend to a math lesson if they are upset over something that happened on the playground.

Q: What made you decide to volunteer with the Red Cross? 
My family and I stayed in a shelter during Hurricane Sandy. We were treated with unconditional love and kindness. After our stay I felt passionate about becoming a volunteer.

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common? 
A: Teachers and Red Cross volunteers want what’s best for the people they are working with. As a teacher I get to know my students and move them along academically. I see to their needs emotionally. As a volunteer you get to be out in the community when the community needs you most. Teachers and a volunteers lend an ear and support to people in need. A student may need instructional support. A client needs support with next steps. Both roles, teacher and volunteering need patience and compassion.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer with the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer 

Read more teacher profiles at: http://changinglivesstorybook.blogspot.com/

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