Tanya Toribio: Delivering Volunteers to Those in Need after a Home Fire

Tanya Toribio is a disaster program specialist with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. In that role, Tanya works closely with volunteer services to ensure that the organization has the volunteer workforce to respond to home fires.

Born in Florida and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada by Mexican parents, while attending college in Reno, a friend who was a disaster program manager for the Red Cross encouraged Tanya to become a volunteer with the organization, “I grew up volunteering…so I always enjoyed helping people. And then when I did my first [disaster action team] DAT call…I was hooked. I was like, wow! this is such a great feeling.”

Tanya helps a person to sign up for a free smoke alarm installation

After college, Tanya joined AmeriCorps for a year, helping advance the mission of the Red Cross by teaching disaster preparedness to underserved communities in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During her time with AmeriCorps, Tanya deployed to North Carolina to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Florence. In North Carolina, she worked with displaced residents in the shelters and make sure people were aware of resources available to them. She tells me the story about a family that she met at one of the shelters and that only spoke Spanish and how relieved they were when Tanya was able to let them know about the long-term assistance that was available to them, including resources that they could access through FEMA. Tanya was able to connect them with representative of that organization that spoke Spanish, and that was able to continue assisting them with the recovery process.

Tanya is first generation Mexican American, and she sees Hispanic Heritage Month as an opportunity to highlight the different contributions Latinos have made to the country, particularly the many cultures that they represent, adding to the diversity of the United States.

You can find more information about volunteering with the American Red Cross here. To sign up for an appointment for a free smoke alarm installation at your home, visit www.getasmokealarm.org.

Written by Isis Chaverri, Regional Marketing & Communications Manager

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