Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"I really enjoy the mix of office and field work."

Lana Mullen, a freelance book illustrator, made her first “16 minute walk down 11th Avenue” to Chapter headquarters to attend a one-day volunteer Reserve Institute training in 2008 and quickly realized that she wanted to play a very active role as Red Cross volunteer.

To sort out what that role would be Lana embarked on what she calls “Red Cross 101,” taking as many volunteer classes as she could: Mass Care, Psychological First Aid, Public Speaking—one class per week. “Taking classes, meeting other volunteers, staff and instructors has been a great way to become more familiar with the NY Chapter and with all the opportunities available,” she said.

While bulking up her Red Cross resume, Lana also trained to become a Volunteer Intake Specialist, learning how to conduct interviews with new volunteers and to manage data on the organization’s My Red Cross Web site. She put this training to work two days a week in the Chapter’s People Resource Unit (PRU), where she and volunteer colleague Lesley Stewart also developed detailed training manuals and procedures for administrating critical portions of the volunteer recruitment and placement process.

But Lana wanted to have direct contact with the people helped every day by the Red Cross. So, in September 2009, she began training as a responder. “During my training, I kept up my work in PRU, generally doing a Response training shift one full day a week, one full day in PRU, then one half-day in PRU and then an 8-hour shift in Response,” says Lana. “That made for some long Red Cross days.” Earlier this month, she became certified as a Level 4 (full) responder.

“I really enjoy the mix of office and field work,” Lana said. “It's great to talk with our volunteers and coach them through the process of finding a position within the Chapter that they find rewarding.” She added that she also appreciates being on the scene of a disaster and knowing that through the work of the Red Cross, she can be of assistance to her neighbors. “I am grateful for all the opportunities to contribute to my community that the Chapter provides,” she said.

Lana V. Mullen, Manhattan

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