The Red Cross: Importance of Volunteering essay

The Red Cross is a world famous volunteer organization the main aim of which to help all people in emergencies. The foundation of the Red Cross work is voluntary help. Volunteers are people who are ready to spend their time and efforts helping people who desperately need it. The Red Cross Red Crescent does not only help victims or earthquake or suffering from famine children in Africa, it helps in emergency everybody who needs it because human life is the greatest value and it should be in no way neglected. At the same time this organization learns people to work in a group, to be a real team and to act quickly in critical situations. In our world in most cases we can observe spiritual degradation: the mass media propagates violence and sexual abuse, people start forgetting about sympathy and tolerance. The Red Cross was created to encourage people to help each other, to appreciate individual and social values and be ready to solve problems which refer to the whole humanity.

Strategy 2010 presumes realization of the seven main principle of this organization, which are: independence, voluntary service, humanity, impartiality, universality, neutrality and unity. “The International Federation has embarked on a consistent and inspirational approach to promoting humanitarian values and the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement” (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 2007).These seven principles should be the core principles for every Local, Regional and National Society of the Red Cross. These principles do not presume only medical help, in the first line stands appreciation and reconstruction of truly humanitarian values. Volunteers should feel the responsibility that lies on their shoulders while spreading these principles among people.

Over the past years the number of volunteers have dramatically increased. Volunteers provide any kind of service in order to help people in emergencies. The bright example can be Hurricane Katrina in state Michigan and volunteers’ quick response to this disaster. About 180 people volunteered during this time. In the period of four month about 150 people had a course of disaster volunteer training. “Their four days of instruction included orientation to the American Red Cross, introduction to disaster, mass care, family services, shelter operations, emergency response vehicle training and first aid/CPR” (Serving Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties). Volunteers actively helped in the affected areas. After the hurricane volunteers of the Red Cross worked with 65 families providing them with emergency help, financial assistance, mental counseling, interviews, etc. People who lost their homes were placed into motels or taken to their relatives.

When the fire broke out at Muskegon’s Hickory Village and 20 senior people were left without shelter Red Cross volunteers reacted immediately and evacuated these people in the midnight. Senior citizens were provided with food, necessary medicaments, clothing and shelter. Six victims were placed at a Red Cross temporary shelter.

It is necessary to note that volunteers are recruited only for critical situations and disasters such as hurricane or fire. Local and regional Red Cross volunteers work every day preparing for possible emergency situations. They are participating in the area emergency drills. In October in Muskegon County was held one of such drills ”“ volunteers had to react on the possible terrorist attack. “Over 20 Red Cross volunteers provided the feeding of more than 200 disaster drill participants. Then in the spring of 2006, trained Red Cross volunteers responded to a Newaygo County train crash and chemical spill exercise” (Serving Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties). Everybody who longs to become a volunteer should remember that it is not a game but a hard work. Volunteers should be ready to react in any kind of disaster and for this purpose they need so many trainings and drills.

Red Cross volunteers are not occupied only with emergency help. They also provide comfort for the families of the United States Armed Forces members. “Red Cross volunteer s and staff assist hundreds of local families that have a member in the active duty military, be they from a guard unit, the local Marine Reserve unit, or active duty in any of the branches of service anywhere in the world” (American Red Cross). The Red Cross provides an emergency communication between troops who in Iraq or Afghanistan and their families. After the death of three men serving in Iraq volunteers supported their families: they organized funerals, provided mental health counseling and attended visits to families.

In accordance with statistics number of volunteers in 2006 in, for example, Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties, made 2 206 who worked 103,832 hours. Among these volunteers only 770 were adult volunteers and it is remarkable that the rest made young people.  At the same time this year counted 3,780 First Aid Participants, 5,633 CPR Participants, 1,765 Water Safety Participants, 1,263 Demonstration Participants, 1,408 Health Service Participants, 644 Education Participants and 314 Youth Courses Participants ( cited in American Red Cross, St. Joseph County Chapter).

It is a common fact that the Red Cross helps victims of disasters but few people now that in most cases Red Cross volunteers help victims of small family fires. For example, in St. Joseph County Chapter there were 97 single family fires in 2006-2007 and only four multi-unit fires. As a result of these fires 132 families were assisted.

The Red Cross is one of the biggest in the world blood suppliers. This organization supplies with donors the most far away located places and regions of the country. The Red Cross is an international organization and it has a great network of services. Red Cross volunteers help international refugees with medical supplement, shelter, food and clothing. For example, in accordance with a Refugee Resettlement Program in the St. Joe County Chapter 49 families which suffered from overseas conflicts are under the protection of Local Red Cross Organization which supplies them with all necessary services. “The St. Joseph County Chapter is a ”˜pilot’ chapter for increasing our local capacity to educate the public on International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions, and American Red Cross work in eradicating diseases, such as malaria and measles” (American Red Cross, St. Joseph County Chapter).Every local and regional part of the Red Cross provides a so-called “lifesaving training”. Volunteers come through such special saving techniques like Life Guarding, CPR, First Aid and some others. In St. Joe County this training course counted more than 10,000 volunteers.

To sum up, the Red Cross is an international organization with helps people in emergencies. Every years thousands of volunteers all over the world become members of this organization. Volunteers do not only help people in extreme situations, they have long lasting trainings, such as lifesaving training. Red Cross volunteers make a great contribution to the whole humankind because every day they save lives of thousands of people.

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