Tuesday, May 31, 2016

In Case You Missed It - May 31

Little ones helped Red Crossers write thank you letters to veterans for Memorial Day at the Intrepid Museum. (Photo: Brett Whysel)
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 201 adults and 61 children following 37 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 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/

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Elaine Biller

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. 

Elaine Biller
Elaine received the 2016 Community Preparedness Award. 
Elaine began her teaching career with the Red Cross, as a 16 year old Red Cross trained lifeguard and swim instructor. She then taught swimming at a residential camp for developmentally disabled children and adults. What started as a summer job, led to an amazing and richly rewarding career that continues over 30 years later. Elaine says, “Thank Goodness I look and feel younger than I am!”

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher?
A: Being a teacher is a calling. I cannot imagine doing anything but teaching. It is very rewarding to be so connected to children. As a High School teacher for Sciences and Special Education, I am involved in helping all children achieve their potential. Many of my students could not graduate without intervention so helping a student earn a diploma and enter either a college or go on to a career is a privilege. 

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: Teachers change lives – that is a fact that can be undervalued in our country. If you are reading this, thank a teacher. Like all professions, some excel more than others, some teachers will teach better than others, but it is an honorable profession that makes lasting differences in the lives of others.

Q: What made you decide to volunteer with the Red Cross?
A: I wrote a blog post about what made me decide to join the Red Cross. The Red Cross has always been in my life. I learned to swim with the Red Cross, became a water safety instructor through the Red Cross, [I] started my career because of these certifications. When September 11 happened, I went to Ground Zero. I basically grew up in Tower 2 [at the World Trade Center] as my father worked there. I was drawn to a non-Red Cross citizen Bulk Distribution site on the West Side Highway. At the time I was a marathon runner. When the police needed batteries up at Ground Zero, the site had them but no way to bring them to the forefront as officers could not leave their posts. I volunteered to run them up. I did this several times. Through the devastation I could not comprehend what happened to the towers. The only stand out for me, the only sign of something I could recognize as familiar and comforting on scene was the Red Cross on the trucks, which I later learned to be ERV’s (Emergency Response Vehicles). It was then I made the decision to volunteer. I did not formally volunteer until my children were older (they were learning to swim with the Red Cross), but the seed had been planted that day.

Q: Which Red Cross service activities do you participate in?
A: LOL, this is the Red Cross... as a volunteer you learn to say YES! We are here for the commitment so when asked, you do it. If you don't know how, you learn it! You join, and participate in as many events, trainings, and meetings as you can. I currently serve as the Long Island Lead for Citizen Preparedness, Disaster Instructor, Disaster Action Team, Shelter Manager, Disaster Assessment Team, Local Mass Care Disaster Operations Center, ERV Team/Driver/Instructor, Logistics, Bulk Distribution, Public Affairs, Media Relations, and have been seen emptying a garbage can or two!

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: I love this question! I was working as a Bulk Distribution Manger in Mastic Beach during Super Storm Sandy. A representative from the Governor’s office was on site for a hand-off a tractor trailer of supplies from Albany to the Red Cross for distribution. The National Guard was on scene, 100+ volunteers and clients, mental health professionals, the media... it was like a little city! In it, everyone was working in small groups, on different projects, handling different tasks. I was directing the National Guardsman where to offload supplies, keeping groups working, client services meeting the needs of clients, when the Governor’s Appointee asked me, “What do you do for a living?” The National Guardsman laughed and said, “I can tell you... she’s a teacher! No one but the military or a teacher can get people this organized and moving!” To this day, that makes me laugh!

Being a teacher requires you to think quickly, find the strengths in others, help people work cooperatively and in an organized manner. It asks you to be patient and empathetic, and to multi-task! You have to be able to communicate your needs, follow objectives and work toward a goal. Being a teacher helps to reflect on whether or not you are being productive, if everyone on your team understands the goal we are working toward, and how to make quick changes if we are not. You have to be able to speak with others, listen and laugh! Most importantly, you have to want to help others. 

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 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Reflections of a Seasoned Disaster Responder

By Stan Frank, American Red Cross


"To victims there is no such thing as a small disaster." That's Phil Cogan's mantra as a Red Cross Volunteer.

Phil joined the American Red Cross Greater New York Chapter in 2014 as Lead Disaster Responder and Public Affairs Team Member. As a volunteer with comprehensive hands-on experience in every aspect of disaster response, he has been an indispensable member of the Greater New York Chapter.

A California native, Phil earned a B.A. in Communications from UCLA where he was General Manager and News Director of the campus radio station. While at UCLA he also worked in the newsroom of KNX-CBS News Radio which later led to subsequent employment at several West Coast radio and TV stations.

After graduating from UCLA, Phil went on to earn a Master’s degree in Communications from the University of Washington. During college breaks, he honed his skills in crisis communications while working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on numerous U.S. disasters. Subsequently, Phil served with FEMA for 23 years, the last five of which as Deputy Director for Public Affairs, while simultaneously working as Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Navy. He also applied his crisis management expertise at the U.S. Export/Import Bank and Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.

After the 9-11 attacks in 2001, Phil rejoined FEMA where he served as Public Affairs Lead for Urban Search and Rescue Operations at Ground Zero. In that position he developed and implemented media plans and worked closely with national and international print, broadcast and still photo news media and the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to cover the renewal work being done at Ground Zero.

Asked what he thinks new responders should keep in mind and what seasoned responders already know, Phil said:

“When a major disaster such as a hurricane, flood or multi-alarm fire strikes, we all know the tragedy it represents for hundreds and perhaps thousands of helpless residents. But major disasters do not occur every day. What does occur every day…in fact 7 to 10 times daily in the New York area…are ‘smaller’ events such as home fires that are just as tragic to its victims. A ‘small’ home fire can still put residents out onto the street; it can still disrupt their lives; it can still harm or kill their pets; it can still traumatize them and their children. To victims, there is no such thing as a ‘small’ disaster. All disasters are major disasters.”

To sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer and make a difference in someone’s life, visit: www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer

My First “Ride-Along”

By Stan Frank, American Red Cross

Although I have been volunteering with the Red Cross for five months, I didn’t quite know what to expect when I was invited for my first “Ride-Along”, especially since I was advised to wear long pants and sturdy boots…but I would soon find out. I chose to go out on a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift on a Tuesday morning.

I arrived early at the staging area on the second floor of the New York Chapter Offices and was greeted by Harry Davila, Response Manager, who introduced me to the two seasoned responders with whom I would “ride along” that day, Jean Cappello and Donna Bascom. Jean has been a volunteer responder for about ten years and Donna has more than three-years experience. They often work as a team one or two days a week as responders who help residents after local disasters.


Donna Bascom and Jean Cappello are seasoned responders who often work as a team. 
They keep the Emergency Communications Center advised of their findings at the scene.

After being outfitted with a “Go-Bag”, a Red Cross vest, jacket and helmet, Jean reviewed a PowerPoint presentation with me on the responsibilities of a Response Team and the do’s and don’ts for responders. Then we waited.

At 11 a.m. we got a call from the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) of a fire in a residential neighborhood of Queens. The ECC had verified the incident and assigned it an Incident Number, which would be used in all reports and communications.

Jean, Donna and I immediately grabbed our gear and went to the basement parking area where we selected a Red Cross van and headed out to Queens. The van had been pre-loaded with basic supplies such as Red Cross blankets, clean-up kits, water and snacks. Guided by our GPS system, Jean drove while Donna alerted the ECC we were on our way. Meanwhile, the ECC informed us that the fire had been elevated to a two-alarm fire.

Because of heavy traffic in Manhattan, it took us about 50 minutes to reach the fire scene in Queens. When we arrived in the middle-class residential neighborhood, the scene was chaotic. We saw about a dozen fire engines and half-a-dozen police cars, all with their red lights flashing. Residents of the burned buildings and neighbors were lined up on one side of the street. You could smell smoke in the air. Firemen and police officers were everywhere. By this time, the fire had been extinguished and the Fire Battalion Chief was inspecting the damage. Meanwhile, Jean and Donna kept in communication with the ECC and began filling out the necessary paperwork.


At first glance the house where the fire began appeared to have little damage.

Three 2-story houses had been affected by the fire. The house on the right side only suffered minor smoke damage. At first glance, the middle house where the fire began and the adjacent house on its left appeared to have minimal damage, but when the Battalion Chief gave us the OK to enter and assess the damage, it was much worse than it appeared. The inside and rear of both houses had been completely destroyed and were totally uninhabitable. Water on the first floor was an inch deep and ceilings and walls were either gone or barely standing. Clothing and personal items were strewn everywhere.


Donna assessed the damage and entered it into her iPad.

The inside and rear of both houses had been completely destroyed and were totally uninhabitable.

We were told by neighbors that six or seven members of an extended family lived in the middle house where the fire began. Jean and Donna tried several times to speak with the family to get more information and offer assistance if needed but they did not want to speak with us. Jean did, however, leave a sticker on the front door with the Red Cross phone number and the case number if the family decided to ask for help.


Six or seven members of an extended family lived in the house where the fire began.

We were able to speak with the owner of the adjacent house who said she did not need housing assistance. She was given a Client Assistance Card (CAC), which the responders are able to load with money for food and/or clothing purchases, depending on the number of people in the displaced family. We also provided information on seeing a Client Services caseworker at the Red Cross New York Headquarters. Our caseworkers help displaced residents make connections with the different NYC agencies such as the NYC Housing Authority.

After spending about three hours at the fire scene, we returned to the New York Chapter staging area to wait for the next call.

My “Ride-Along” proved to be an eye opening experience. It showed me what an invaluable service our volunteer responders provide to victims of fires or other incidents 5 to 20 times every day.

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, sign up to become a Red Cross Volunteer. Visit: www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Debora Bausenwein

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. 

Debora Bausenwein
Debora has been a teacher for 28 years and first got involved with the Red Cross in high school, when she joined her Red Cross Club. Currently, Debora is a volunteer with the Metro New York North Chapter and serves on the Disaster Action Team and as as a Mass Care - Shelter Manager and Feeding Lead for Sullivan County during disasters. She is a member of the Mass Care Leadership Team and also works closely with the Biomedical Services team, arranging, sponsoring, and working at local blood drives. Deb represents the Red Cross at many community events, where she hands out preparedness material. Recently, she has helped with Home Fire Preparedness installations of free smoke detectors.

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher?
A: I always thought I would be a teacher. In 6th grade I thought I'd be a math teacher. In 9th grade I thought I'd be a music teacher. When my son was diagnosed with a disability, I wanted to learn more about what his education would be like. So, I went into elementary and special education.

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: To be a good teacher, you have to care about your students like they are one of your own. You have to be gentle yet firm, always consistent with all of them, say what you mean and mean what you say. They biggest thing is don't be afraid to let them know you care about each one of them.

Q: What made you decide to volunteer with the Red Cross?
A: I was introduced to Red Cross in high school. I joined the Red Cross Club in the early 1970s. Later, the Red Cross helped my family get in touch with my sister serving in Italy to let her know my father passes away. When I had the opportunity to start a club at school, I met with the local Red Cross leader, Betty Popovich, and began working with her as the advisor to the club and getting instructor training. I wanted to help the community and teach the middle school students the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community.

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: The common characteristics are caring about people, having compassion, being empathetic, supportive, helpful, organized, and concern for individuals, groups, and the community.

To learn more about volunteering with the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer 

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


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Visit From the President of the Swedish Red Cross

By Caroline Hroncich and Peter Belfiore
American Red Cross

As part of a recent visit to the United States, Anna Carlstedt, President of the Swedish Red Cross used the trip as an opportunity to connect with her American Red Cross colleagues in New York and Washington D.C. During her time in New York, she was fortunate enough to witness the Empire State Building lighting for Red Cross Month, and we were fortunate enough to get a chance to speak with her and learn a few things about the Swedish Red Cross.



What type of role does the Red Cross play in supporting the refugees entering Sweden?
During the autumn there came several thousands of refugees each week to our main central [train] stations. We received them together with the police and the migration authorities so they felt safe when they saw our symbol coming off the train after an extremely difficult journey. They were relieved to see not only the police and the migration authorities but also the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement. We provided first aid water and food, together with other organizations, psych-social support and a lot of information because what we realized was that a lot of refugees after this very difficult journey coming from war in Syria, very often they were afraid of authorities, afraid to even go through the procedure of seeking asylum and we could comfort them and say, "you don't need to be afraid of the authorities in Sweden. They're going to help you out and you can feel safe."
What are some things that you would say connect Red Cross volunteers around the world?
I came back from Syria three weeks ago and when I met Red Cross volunteers there. They said even though they are working in very difficult conditions, they always feel that they can make a difference for another human being. No matter how difficult it may be, it’s never hopeless. Perhaps we cannot always help everybody, but everybody can do something. The pride a volunteer takes in helping another human being and feeling that you’re part of something global, that is very beautiful.


What are some of your impressions of the American Red Cross in Greater New York?


I’m incredibly impressed by the number of volunteers, the staff, and the emergency response and blood donation programs. I was also very impressed by what the Red Cross of Greater New York is doing every day to respond to local emergencies. It’s all part of the Red Cross Movement! Around the world, the Red Cross has the same goals, and this kind of exchange is very important for our organization.


What will it mean for you to see the Empire State Building lit up for the Red Cross movement?
I think it’s a very symbolic gesture. It’s recognition of all that the Red Cross is doing. I’m very grateful and very proud the community recognizes the Red Cross in this way. It’s also very humbling. The Empire State Building is a symbol of the world and it will really mean something.


Do you have a message from Sweden to the American Red Cross of Greater New York volunteers?

Thank you for all of the great work you are doing. Being here in New York, I really feel that we are all one Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.






In Case You Missed It - May 2

Eight members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) head to Houston, TX
to support the Red Cross response to historic flooding.
Over the last 7 days, the Greater New York Red Cross provided emergency assistance to 136 adults and 57 children following 55 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

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Jean Cappello


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. 

Jean F. Cappello
Jean began her teaching career in 1967 in Santiago de Chile. She taught in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before returning to the states to teach junior high school. After obtaining her Masters and Ph.D., Jean taught Latin American Literature at Rutgers University and at Fordham University.

Jean first came to volunteer with the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, about 10 years ago. She originally intended to be a responder, but after Red Cross staff saw her lengthy experience as an educator, they convinced her to be an instructor, teaching CPR. After four years, Jean became an individual responder. Currently, she is on a small committee that is rewriting the manual to change how new responders are trained when they join the organization. 

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher?
A: From the time I was a kid, I loved teaching. I had wonderful teachers -- Mrs. Wiley, in particular, helped to draw back the curtain on how to read.  I worked as a volunteer at the first Head Start program where I grew up. When we moved to Chile, I didn’t speak Spanish, but there were bilingual schools, so it was a plus to be a native English speaker. I hadn’t trained yet to be a teacher, but I received a lot of on-the-job training, which was marvelous.

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: One characteristic that that we are always in training, always learning. Training is so important for new volunteers. Often, if they don’t have good experience training, they may drop out.

As teachers, we are very interested in the experience of others. For example, at first you may have become a history teacher because you love history. But after a few years, what keeps you motivated is how to inspire students. To work with the Red Cross, you have to be engaged with clients – whether teaching CPR or in the field after a disaster – to think about what the Red Cross can do to make this situation better. We really have to see things through the eyes of others.

For me, one of the most engaging things [both as a teacher and as a Red Cross volunteer] is that you meet all kinds of people. Whether you work as a responder or a CPR instructor we meet folks from all backgrounds. I ask why they came to the Red Cross and I hear all kinds of answers from job requirements to new grandchildren.

Some people want to work with the Red Cross because their family was helped by Red Cross during a disaster.  Others see it as a resume building opportunity. There are 1000s of reasons. It’s fascinating work, and gives you such an enhanced view of the society we are living with.  It really gets you out in the wider community.

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

Read all of our teacher profiles at: http://changinglivesstorybook.blogspot.com/

Monday, May 2, 2016

Red Cross Salutes Teachers: Lori-Ann Pizzarelli

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.

Lori-Ann Pizzarelli
Lori-Ann (left) with fellow Red Crosser Mike DeLeon.
Lori is an elementary school art teacher and a volunteer with the American Red Cross on Long Island. She has worked as a teacher for 11 years in the Syosset Central School District. At the Red Cross, Lori is the lead volunteer for the Long Island Home Fire Campaign, and also serves as a volunteer with the #GetAlarmedNYC program, as a presenter with The Pillowcase Project, as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) responder, and as a photographer at events. She is also certified to drive an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV)!

Q: What inspired you to be a teacher?
A: I always had a passion for art, my undergraduate degree was interior design, but I felt something was missing. My best friend told me I would be great working with children, so, with a toddler at home, I went back for my Masters in Art Education. My life has changed so much as a teacher. It is so rewarding!

Q: If you wanted to share one thing about teaching with us what would it be?
A: Making a connection with a student and changing their perspective, makes them see things in a different way. I love it when a student says “look what I did!” :) Its making a difference that is so rewarding.

Q: What made you decide to volunteer with the Red Cross?
A: My brother (Joe Spaccarelli) quit his job after 27 years to work with Red Cross. I wanted to help him with his mission. I saw his passion and jumped right in!

Q: What characteristics do you think a teacher and a Red Cross volunteer have in common?
A: Both care so much about helping others and give selflessly. Both also take the time to learn their role and do it efficiently. I am taking classes with Red Cross all the time. You never stop learning. I enjoyed my experience with the Red Cross so much, I recruited three teachers at my school to become Red Cross volunteers, too! We always just want to help.

To learn how to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/gnyvolunteer


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