“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”–Martin Luther King Jr.
The Red Cross is more than a humanitarian organization; it’s a humanitarian organization supported by YOU! And many of you who contribute their time and energies to help us meet our vision of preparing communities for unanticipated disasters, ensuring access to lifesaving blood, supporting all members of our armed services and so much more. Hence, we fully support any form of event which acknowledges and celebrates all volunteers, including the National Volunteer Week from April 21- April 27 this year.
This week celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things to improve communities across the world. Being an organization which carries out its services majorly through the work of selfless volunteers, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago could not be more excited about this recognition. To highlight the work our strong group of volunteers do, we interviewed Brianna Niemi, one of our devoted AmeriCorps. The AmeriCorps program helps the Red Cross achieve its mission by paying special attention to the neighborhoods and communities that need services the most, yet are least likely to be able to afford them.
Originally from Wisconsin with a Bachelors degree and certification in Social Work, Brianna always wanted to be part of a strong volunteer program like the PeaceCorps and decided to apply for the AmeriCorps program at the Chicago Red Cross. One of her favorite memories was from when she was deployed and was amazed to see the work done by volunteers who came from around the nation. But she was most moved by the family who she helped a day before Thanksgiving whose house was devastated by a terrible fire. That moment, Brianna realized the full impact of the fire felt by the family who were preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday before the fatal incident. But the family was very grateful and thankful of the help provided by the Red Cross and Brianna felt very proud of the work she is able to do along with the rest of the volunteers.
Brianna hopes to continue her passion to help people by enriching her experience with a Master degree in Social Work. To future volunteers, Brianna signs off by saying that the Red Cross is a remarkable organization to work for and contribute to. She is always amazed to see the enthusiasm of the Red Cross volunteers who are also sometimes retirees who come out and help distressed family whose homes have been destroyed. She also cites an example of a student volunteer who also has a full time job, but helps out the Red Cross by responding to fires in the middle of the night! These are the volunteers who carry forward the Red Cross services and touch the lives of countless people.
The Chicago Red Cross salutes these volunteers during the National Volunteer Week and beyond. We are grateful for all that they do. If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life by volunteering, then please visit http://rdcrss.org/14HNAC2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 729-6222.
–Written by Amisha Sud