AmeriCorps VISTA for American Red Cross of Greater Chicago

This is my first blog entry and I thought I would take the time to introduce myself and explain my role at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. My name is Victoria Budynsky and this is my third week here. I am an AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). In short, it is a domestic Peace Corps. VISTA, which stands for Volunteers In Service To America, is one of the three AmeriCorps programs.

VISTAs are requested by nonprofit organizations that have missions that help to eliminate or alleviate poverty in the United States. The CNCS gives each VISTA a living stipend and other benefits so that he or she can work for free for the nonprofit organization for a year. VISTAs are brought in to help the organization build capacity, meaning that the VISTA does work that will benefit the organization long after he or she has left.

I am a People Resources VISTA here. I will have a variety of projects this year but I will mainly be focusing on training volunteers. I will be certified as an instructor in CPR/ First Aid, Community Disaster Education and Disaster Relief. The next step for me right now is to get trained in all of those areas and then gain some experience in responding to disasters myself.

I have learned so much about the American Red Cross and my year of service has only just begun. Last week I went out on three disaster response calls and also answered phone calls for the national American Red Cross help hotline. This year I will share some of my experiences and things I learn working for such a great organization!

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