Friday, August 22, 2014

Yankee Fans Step Up to the Plate for the Red Cross

A total of 70 people, including Red Crossers from Greater NY and even out of town, took advantage of the opportunity to purchase reduced-cost premium tickets to the August 20 Yankees vs. Astros game, with a portion of the proceeds going to support the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross.

Additionally, the first 50 game attendees received a Red Cross t-shirt and all attendees were automatically entered into a raffle to win four complimentary tickets (valued at $1,200) to a Yankees game held before Derek Jeter's retirement. 

“We thank all those who bought tickets supporting the Red Cross mission of helping those in need,” said John Miller, CEO of the Long Island Red Cross, who attended the game. “I’m proud to say that Long Island Red Crossers were well represented at game, wearing their red, white and blue!”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Internship with the Greater NY Red Cross

By Conrad Cantor

I was looking forward to this internship with the Community Recovery section within the Sandy Long Term Recovery team at the American Red Cross. I already had some experience within the emergency management field at my previous internship in Washington, DC, and wanted to learn more about the recovery aspect of the disaster cycle.

Although my colleagues smothered me with acronyms and strange-sounding terms, I quickly picked up the lingo and understood a basic conversation between my colleagues. I helped publish newsletters on post-Sandy community resources and even got certified in Adult First Aid/CPR/AED. Sitting in on a few meetings with FEMA and volunteer organization officials made me realize how lengthy the recovery process is, especially with a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy.

Perhaps my biggest project at the Red Cross was the transition docs, a series of reports on the five boroughs, Long Island, and Metro New York North. For each of these reports, I helped compile Sandy damage metrics, neighborhood demographics, and general background information on Sandy-affected areas. It helped me further understand the toll Sandy took on New Yorkers’ lives.

I am glad that I was exposed to the nonprofit section of emergency management and disaster relief. It was a humbling experience and I received the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated and mission-oriented people in this field. I will definitely contribute my time and talents to any future volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross. I am proud to carry this experience forward and I look forward to a lifelong career in the emergency management and public health fields.

Conrad is
pursuing an MA in public administration at Baruch College's School of Public Affairs. He holds a BA in political science from Pace University.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Case You Missed it – Aug. 18

Photo: Ronnie Rigos / @rgrigos
In the last week the Red Cross provided emergency relief in the form of shelter, food, clothing, health services and/or emotional support to 128 New Yorkers impacted by 50 disasters across our region. These numbers do not include the hundreds of people helped after last week’s Long Island floods. Here are some highlights from the prior week.

Last Week in Review

  • Last week, record-setting rainfall inundated communities on Long Island and Red Cross volunteers sprang into action to help hundreds of people affected by the severe flooding. Red Cross teams from across the region—Long Island, New York City, and Metro New York North—distributed flood clean-up supplies, blankets and beverages, conducted damage assessment and worked with families to determine whether further emergency assistance was needed. Read about the response in more detail here.
  • August 14 was the anniversary of the Northeast Blackout. Editorial Manager Anita Salzberg commemorated the occasion by asking "Where Were You During the Blackout of 2003?"
  • With help from the American Red Cross, volunteers from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other organizations are working to rebuild Long Island homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy, and are making their own temporary home on a Long Island college campus as they do the work.
  • Wonderful story of how a Yonkers police captain used infant CPR to save the life of a baby and will now attend her wedding 20 years later. CPR can not only save a life, but it can also build life-long relationships. See video report from NBC NY here.
  • Several interns finished their summer internships with us and shared what their experience was like here, here and here. Thank you for all your hard work ladies!
  • Sadly, last week two prominent celebrities passed away: Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. Many may not know that Lauren Bacall began her modeling career in 1943 with this iconic Harper's Bazaar cover to ramp up blood donations to support US military hospitals overseas during WWII.

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

    Where Were You During Blackout 2003?

    By Agatha Kereere

    Anita Salzberg, American Red Cross Greater NY editorial manager, was home with her husband in their Queens, N.Y., apartment on Thursday, August 14, 2003, when a major outage knocked out power to millions in the northeast U.S. and Canada.

    "It was late-afternoon and sunny," Salzberg said. "The air conditioner abruptly cut off and our clocks stopped working. This was about two years after 9/11 so my first thought was—'Terrorism?' I got one of our small transistor radios out of a cabinet, and, within a minute, I knew this was 'just' a blackout."

    Salzberg proceeded to collect all the batteries and flashlights in the apartment and dumped them onto the couple's dining room table. She said her husband looked at her with a combination of surprise and amusement. "He didn't know we had these supplies or how I'd thought of them," she said. "And I didn't think it was funny."

    Though Salzberg and others felt a sense of relief when the source of the blackout was revealed to have no links to terrorism, that didn't make the situation any less serious. According to news reports, roughly 50 million people were affected by the loss of power.

    Technology and social media had yet to make the strides of today; there was no Facebook status to assure loved ones of a person's wellbeing or tweets to provide updates on the situation. Many people weren't sure how to respond to the outage, but perhaps some, like Salzberg, were able to rely on past experiences to dictate how to proceed.

    "I remembered the blackout back in 1977 and used that to help me in this situation," Salzberg said. "Having the supplies on hand was instinctive; I just knew what we'd need if the power went down."

    Blackout 2003 was 11 years ago today. However, more than a decade later, many New Yorkers still aren't prepared for this kind of emergency. Are you?

    Learn Red Cross tips for successfully coping with a power outage.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    Creating Community: What I learned during my time at the Red Cross

    By Caroline Hroncich 

    On a hot Monday in August I found myself standing on a street in the Bronx wearing a bright yellow and red reflective vest with two American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers. They were assisting a woman who had lost her apartment of 15 years in a fire. She had just returned from the hospital, and, for someone who had just lost her home, she was surprisingly calm.

    While I and the other DAT members were speaking with her, a young boy passed by, dribbling a basketball. “I’m glad you’re okay!” he yelled as he waved in our direction. The woman smiled and waved backed. I thought at that moment that this experience, although small, wholly summed up my time interning with the Red Cross. 

    Before this summer, other than donating at the occasional blood drive, I had not interacted with the Red Cross. I was somewhat familiar with disaster relief, but had never quite taken that step to volunteer. So when I received an internship offer from the Communications Department of the Greater New York Red Cross Region, I eagerly accepted. What I learned about their work was much greater than I could have expected.

    Interning with Communications, part of my job was to speak to with families who were helped by Red Cross volunteers in order to write their stories. I quickly learned that it doesn’t get easier listening to people tell the story of what may very well be the one of the worst days of their lives. Although all of these people came from different backgrounds and had suffered disasters ranging from fires to floods.

    I realized they all had one thing in common: hope. There was a certain smile that appeared on someone’s face when he or she talked about that one special Red Cross caseworker or volunteer who had helped them through their difficult time.

    The Red Cross creates a community for those who have experienced disasters; it creates a place where they can turn for reassurance that their hard time will end. It provides them with resources to help them effectively recover, and a case worker to help ensure that they do.  

    So as I stood on that corner, watching this woman surrounded by her children and neighbors, I realized that community is what helps people truly recover from disasters. It’s the love and kindness of the people around you. By providing people with a place to turn, the Red Cross creates a community of resources and support, while simultaneously helping people preserve their own communities.

    I was happy that this woman and her children would have a place to stay only a few blocks away from her neighborhood, so she could return and see the people she cared about the most. As the Red Cross van pulled away from the Bronx building, I was satisfied to know that we’d helped make her life just a little bit easier. Sometimes all you need is a simple “glad you’re okay!” to help you through the day; but for those times when you need a little bit more, it’s reassuring to know that the Red Cross is there to help.

    Monday, August 11, 2014


    In the last week the Red Cross provided emergency relief in the form of shelter, food, clothing, health services and/or emotional support to 279 New Yorkers impacted by 46 disasters in our region. Here are some highlights from the last week.


    • Over the weekend, Red Cross volunteers helped 35 people after a three-alarm fire on Saratoga Avenue in Yonkers broke out late Saturday evening. In coordination with Yonkers OEM, a shelter was set up at the Peter Chema Community Center. Volunteers worked all night to make sure all affected had support and a safe place to sleep. See pictures

    • On August 9, a number of Red Cross volunteers spent Saturday on Staten Island participating in a Superstorm Sandy rebuild. The rebuild took place with our partner, Tunnel to Towers, that received a Red Cross grant to rebuild homes damaged by Sandy. See photos.
    • Red Cross volunteers from Metro New York North partnered with members of our FDNY Disaster Assistance Response Team for an ERV (Emergency Response Vehicle) Road Test on Aug. 9.
    • The Visiting Nurse Service of New York will be hosting four Disaster Distress Response Programs in the Greater New York area this August. The programs are funded by the American Red Cross, Read our web story to find out more about the upcoming programs.
    • On Aug. 4, the Red Cross assisted residents displaced by a vacate on Kings Highway in Brooklyn. Red Cross registered 28 families for possible assistance, and provided emergency housing to three adults. 
    • Over 100 people attended the Train the Trainer preparedness workshop on August 6. The event was part of the Governor's Preparedness initiative to train 20,000 New Yorkers by March, 2015. See photos.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    My Experience as a Red Cross Summer Intern

    by Emily Seyle

    Having a passion for human rights, I was drawn to the idea of an internship with the Youth Services department at the American Red Cross Greater NY Region. As a senior pursuing a dual degree in economics and human rights at UConn, I have been learning about the amazing work of the American Red Cross for as long as I can remember.

    Despite my relevant coursework however, I was truly naïve about the level of commitment by both staff and volunteers. Within minutes of walking through the door on my first day, it immediately became clear that the love for the work of the Red Cross runs deep throughout the region and organization as a whole.

    Many of my responsibilities consisted of developing methods to engage students throughout the region as they are an integral part of present and future Red Cross efforts. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with student volunteers; it helped me understand the strength of the Red Cross. The accomplishments of these students is incredible. I felt inspired that the Red Cross works to not only inspire but to also empower its volunteers of all ages. A student once told me that volunteering for the Red Cross created opportunities they had never thought possible. As I write this post on my last day as a Youth Services Intern, I believe this same statement to be true for me as well.

    The greatest impact this internship had on me was a result of my amazing supervisors, Amanda Crabbe and Trent Shafer. Amanda and Trent trusted me to take on projects and make them my own. I loved that I was constantly challenged to explore new avenues for completing tasks that served to mature my skillsets. Being able to contribute and develop my ideas without fear of rejection was the most important part of my internship because it allowed me to gain real work experience.

    I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that my time as Communications and Social Media Intern for Youth Services is by far the best work experience I’ve ever had. As I go on to complete my final semester (and thus begin the daunting search for a career), I know that my internship with the American Red Cross provided me not only with invaluable skills and work experience but also a new place to call home.