From Volunteer to Board of Director for the Red Cross of Northwest Illinois

From Volunteer to Board of Director for the Red Cross of Northwest Illinois

The Red Cross of Northwest Illinois recently announced newly appointed Board of Directors and amongst the appointees is our very own volunteer turned Board member, Yuri Averette.

Yuri’s calling to volunteering started over 17 years ago when he imparted services at his church, harvest centers, and the local prison. Then, an IT project led him to sign on as a volunteer with the Red Cross and as the adage says, the rest is history. In Yuri’s case, however, history is just starting to be written and he sees this appointment as a fresh chapter to a life dedicated to service.

“When people ask me why I volunteer, my answer is simple—I show up because my faith calls me to do so and as a society, we have a wealth of intellectual and humanitarian resources within us and we need to put them to use—share our talents widely,” explained Yuri. “And frankly, I volunteer because being human means stepping up and lending a helping hand.”

Yuri in Calumet City volunteering at a Multi-Agency Resource Center.

Giving back to our communities and the world is something many of us have a desire to do, whether that’s expressed through the jobs we work or finding a passion we have. And for many, volunteering seems like a dream or almost luxury if only ‘one had more time’. But volunteering opportunities come in many shapes and sizes — and scope!

“We are so grateful and humbled to count on the talent of so many volunteers at the Red Cross. And for those who are looking to take an even more active role in a nonprofit organization like the Red Cross, joining the board of directors for a local organization could be a good fit,” stated Leslie Luther, Executive Director for the Red Cross of Northwest Illinois. “We are incredibly lucky and excited to welcome Yuri in his new role and look forward to his continued impact and inspiration for others to ‘step up’ to give time and talent at the Red Cross.”

Making a difference can take many different shapes. Compassion and comfort in the wake of a disaster and quite possibly during the worst moments of someone’s life, is a treasure. And for the Red Cross volunteers like Yuri who step up makes a world of difference and we couldn’t carry out the mission of the Red Cross without our selfless and compassionate volunteers.

“As a Board member, I’m excited and looking forward to bringing on more volunteers which in and of itself is philanthropy,” stated Yuri. “There are so many ways to make an impact at the Red Cross. It doesn’t always mean being front line to a disaster – that’s how I started. Working behind the scenes on a project lead me to ask more questions and quickly connect with the volunteer work. I count myself lucky to have the opportunity to make an impact in a different manner.”

Yuri and fellow volunteer David Boyle installing free smoke alarms during the 2022 Sound the Alarm event in Rochelle, IL.

The Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes, and our volunteers are always ready to help those in need, but did you know that there many other volunteer roles? As Yuri explained, his journey with the Red Cross started with an IT project. Whether you have a full-time job or other familial commitments, there are many ways to integrate community involvement into your schedule, based on where you have the most room to give your time and talents. Because time and talent make a difference in people’s lives.

To sign up to be a volunteer, visit

Written by Illinois Communications Manager Connie Esparza

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