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Why We Give to the Red Cross

By Anthem Foundation

At Anthem, we partner with thousands of national and local nonprofit organizations, and are proud and inspired by all that our company, our Foundation, our partners and our associates do to give back. We are particularly committed to ensuring that we impact and strengthen communities where we live, work and serve.

Disasters and emergencies can strike at any moment. So when it comes to disaster relief efforts, we believe that the best approach is a proactive one. That’s why Anthem Foundation is a proud member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) at the million dollar level.  Anthem Foundation, along with our fellow ADGP members, helps provide a reliable funding base for disaster relief services. These funds enable the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster at home and around the world, regardless of cost. Because of our up-front investment, the Red Cross is on the ground and taking action right now.

“The moment I explained to one of our local Anthem associates what it means to be a part of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, I realized that our company is truly making a difference.”

-Morgan Coleman, Program Manager, Anthem Foundation & Social Responsibility

After this year’s earthquakes in Nepal, we learned that Anthem has several associates who are from Nepal, or who have loved ones still living there. So although the disaster seemed far away, it hit close to home for many.  The Red Cross is part of our year-round Associate Giving Program, so we were able to quickly establish a workplace collection for Nepal relief efforts.  The response was an incredible avenue for associates who were looking for a way to help. In just a few weeks, associate donations paired with our Foundation’s match surpassed $30,000.

Through our ADGP membership, Anthem Foundation is in a unique position to enable immediate response – and that is incredibly important to our company. Anthem associates often express to us how pleased they are that their company invests in the safety and well-being of communities, and feel a sense of pride when they see us so visibly aligned with the work of the Red Cross.  They appreciate the opportunity to contribute themselves – both financially, as well as through their time and talents. From organized blood drives at office locations across the country to emergency preparedness trainings to disaster kit builds, our associates help their communities year-round through the Red Cross.  It has inspired a deep sense of community and camaraderie, and gives them a reason to feel good knowing they are working for a company that cares about the same things they do.

The Red Cross is entrenched in every aspect of disaster response – so there’s no better organization for us to partner with – whether it’s supporting a group of individuals who have been touched by a disaster, or thousands across the globe. What we can accomplish together is truly inspiring.

For more information about Anthem Foundation’s corporate responsibility, visit www.anthem.foundation or http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com

Red Cross Provides Help in Saipan Following Devastating Typhoon Soudelor


On Sunday, August 2, Typhoon Soudelor struck Saipan (part of the US Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands) causing the worst devastation the island has seen in years. Preliminary reports suggest over 800 homes are damaged and power may not be fully restored to the islands for four weeks or longer.

The American Red Cross has an office on Saipan and volunteers have been providing help around the clock. As of Aug. 7, here’s a quick snapshot of Red Cross efforts:

  • Mobilized a team of 41 people currently on the island to provide support with sheltering, feeding, logistics and damage assessments. Dozens of additional workers are either en route to the island or on standby to travel.
  • Served more than 5,600 meals in government-operated shelters where nearly 600 people have sought refuge.
  • Shipped more than 600 rice cookers to Saipan which are en route now.
  • Received more than 2,000 calls and visits from people seeking help – that’s nearly 5 percent of the total population of Saipan.
  • Created a relief plan to get financial assistance and critical relief supplies to thousands of people in the hardest hit areas. These supplies, currently being mobilized, include bags of rice, canned meat, hygiene products, flashlights, butane stoves, cleaning supplies and tarps.

saipan2“I have seen multiple primary power poles down; I have seen cars flipped over the road; I have seen lots of torn roofs,” John Hirsh, executive director of the American Red Cross in Saipan, told Pacific Daily News. Damage was “extensive” across the island and there had been significant damage to public infrastructure, he said.

To aid in the relief efforts, several highly trained Red Cross volunteers from the mainland United States are on the ground or en route to assist. Volunteers from Illinois, Nebraska, New York, and elsewhere are giving their time and talents to help get the devastated communities of Saipan back on their feet.

HOW TO HELP People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. We respond to nearly 70,000 other disasters every year, from home fires to hurricanes and more. Learn more about how Disaster Relief donations have helped people affected by previous disasters including home fires.

VIDEO: New York Volunteer, Alex Resnick, talks about his deployment to Saipan

Dakota Bradley Named Ambassador for Red Cross Fire Mission

After losing his childhood home in a house fire at the age of 15, singer/songwriter Dakota Bradley has a personal connection to those who know all too well what the fire takes from people.  Growing up in St. Louis, MO, Bradley moved to Nashville, TN at the age of 16 after his family lost everything in a house fire. This life-changing experience is the inspiration behind Bradley’s passion to partner with the American Red Cross and to serve as an Ambassador for our home fire campaign to reduce fire deaths and injuries by 25%.

“Losing my home in a fire was devastating. I am honored to partner with the American Red Cross in hopes to prevent similar tragedies, as well as a way to help fire victims,” says Bradley.

To kick off the yearlong giving campaign, Bradley will donate $0.50 to the American Red Cross for every digital purchase of “Name On It” sold between now and September 30, 2015. You can download his new single by visiting iTunes.  Your gift to Home Fire Relief enables the Red Cross to provide critical services to people impacted by home fires along with the lifesaving tools and information to support home fire prevention efforts.

International Youth Day: Carolyn’s Powerful Survival Story

August 12 is International Youth Day! And the American Red Cross is celebrating our young partners like Carolyn Strzalka, President of the Red Cross Club at the University of Michigan. Carolyn is a blood recipient, a donor and a Red Cross volunteer.

Here’s Carolyn’s Inspiring Story:

Carolyn Strzalka, Red Cross Club PresidentIn high school I was an active student. I volunteered regularly at a local animal shelter and organized local food donation drives in addition to working hard on my studies. As varsity soccer captain, I ate healthy and exercised, making sure to take care of my health. So when I turned 18 and started experiencing sharp abdominal pains I knew something was not right.

When my doctor told me that I needed to have my gall bladder removed two days before moving into my college dorm I was nervous I would miss out on all the welcome week activities. As a stubborn 18 year old, I adamantly told him that after my cholecystectomy I would be going off to college. He explained to me the surgery was an out-patient surgery and I should be recovered enough to partake in any non-strenuous activities. But the day after I moved into my dorm room I knew something was not right. After not being able to keep any food down and almost fainting walking back to my dorm room I called my mom and asked her to take me to the hospital.

In the emergency room, the physicians told my parents that there was a very low chance that I would survive. I had been internally bleeding into my stomach for 3 days and my red blood cell levels were at a third of what they should have been. He suggested I receive two blood transfusions, but cautioned my parents that it may already be too late. Fortunately, the blood transfusions saved my life.

I am beyond thankful for the blood donors whose donations have allowed me to be alive today. These donors have a special place in my heart because I have type O negative blood and can only receive blood from other type O negative people.

After this experience I wanted to give back to blood donors who helped save lives like mine. However, after receiving a blood transfusion you are not able to donate blood for a year. So I began volunteering at blood drives to let people know how much their donation meant to people like me. While volunteering I got to hear inspiring stories about why other people donated blood, including stories from people who donate blood every 56 days. After experiencing the need for blood donations first hand, I now am inspired to donate every 56 days as well.

How to Get Involved

Join Carolyn by choosing to make a difference in your community this summer with the Red Cross, either through blood donation, taking a babysitting class or volunteering. You can find more ways to get involved at RedCrossYouth.org. #ChooseYourDay

Generation Y and IHL: Why Should Millennials Care?

Post by  Jessica Lach, IHL Youth Education Intern. Originally posted on the Humanity in War blog.

DeathtoStock_SlowDown2Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are said to be full of complexities and firsts. Born in 1994, I consider myself a true millennial because I check most of the required boxes: I had Internet access during my formative years and social media as I grew into adulthood, and I learned all about the economy by watching the effects of the 2008 Global Economic Recession. Most importantly, me and my generation have been overexposed to media more so than any other generation preceding us. Despite all the information we are regularly thrown, we sometimes have skewed perspectives, especially when it comes to putting International Humanitarian Law into context.

A New Way of Getting and Processing Information

Millennials are the first generation to collectively form a true companionship with something lacking a living pulse — in other words, our smartphones have become a part of our daily lives and regular communications. Not only are our smartphones an extension of ourselves, but they are how we see the world we are living in. I know I am not the only one guilty of checking my social media news feeds before I even get out of bed in the morning. After all, about “six-in-ten online Millennials (61%) report getting [political] news on Facebook in a given week, a much larger percentage than turn to any other news source, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. From the comfort of bed, I can become fully aware of what the weather is like, how political situations across the world are panning out, and, most importantly, what a Kardashian sister ordered from Starbucks. New technological apps have simply become parts of our daily routines. Having progressed from Myspace home pages and then Facebook timelines, to Twitter feeds and Instagram posts, we Millennials have now found ourselves getting a look at daily life from 10-second Snapchat stories. From Snapchat, members of Generation Y have learned about the Greek referendum and other world events through the eyes of people much like ourselves. Furthermore, we are a generation that relaxes to the welcome screen of Netflix and opening chime of Xbox.

A Skewed Version of Reality, Including Rules of War

DeathtoStock_Wired10However, with the movies and video games which we regularly expose ourselves to through these and other services, a lot of what we see is not entirely accurate when it comes to properly portraying the rules of war. Common dystopian novels and movies, like The Hunger Games and Batman, regularly show scenes of destruction to civilian compounds and even the use of child soldiers, both of which are prohibited under IHL. Popular video games also tend to portray a world of warfare that skews the reality of what a wartime conflict is like and the real protections that are in place. I facilitated a Raid Cross activity once, during which my team and I hosted an open discussion about what the rules of war include. Throughout this discussion, many students tried to tell us that it was okay to take items off of deceased soldiers since this action is permitted in the popular video game Call of Duty.

Before I learned about IHL, I never really thought that rules of war existed, especially since modern media rarely displays them. Although I know fiction is merely fiction, when something is regularly portrayed, it can be easy to apply it to real life. For example, regularly watching movies like The Hunger Games may lead young people to believe that children carrying and firing weaponry is normal, whereas it is prohibited under IHL. The Call of Duty instance above is another example.



Why Understanding IHL Protections Is Critical

Though Millennials are a generation of information seekers and seem to always be plugged in, the result is that we can easily skew information and not fully understand the true implications of what we are exposed to in the media. When prompted with the question of “Why should Millennials care about IHL?”, the answer is simple: we are exposed to wartime conflicts more so than any other generation before us was from the media, meaning it is important that we understand the protections granted under IHL. It is imperative that we understand that what we see in the media is not always legal, not only because the rules of war are important but also because they may be vital to the strangers we see gracing our Snapchat stories an ocean away. As Millennials, we watch snippets about life on the frontlines on our Facebook timelines and then sit down and relax to Game of Thrones, all while forgetting that there are rules of war that, in effect, help shape the conflicts of our day. Though we are a generation known for our overexposure, we are also one of great conviction- a similar conviction that was found in the creation of the Geneva Conventions decades ago.

North Carolina Volunteer Helps Burn Victim in Haiti

The Triangle region of the American Red Cross has more than 1,400 volunteers across 53 counties in North Carolina. In 2010, Alex Alexis was the only volunteer in North Carolina who was deployed to Haiti following the deadly earthquake. As a registered nurse and a Haitian, Alexis helped many who were hurt including Eriek Louis, a victim of the earthquake. As can be seen in this story, he was “on a bus near a gas station when the earthquake hit. The fuel pumps exploded, engulfing the bus in flames.”

With burns on 80 percent of his body, Alexis helped change Louis’s bandages and take care of him. One day, when Alexis came to help Louis but he was gone. A month later, Alexis was watching the news when he saw Louis appear on the screen. Louis was one of three Haitians transported to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill for further treatment.

You can read more WNCN’s website or watch the video below of their story and friendship. The Red Cross is still helping people in Haiti, more than five years after the quake. You can find more information about our work in Haiti by visiting our website.

Calling All Babysitters!

My first American Red Cross experience came at 11 years old when I enrolled in a Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course. Eager to earn a little extra spending money, I had plans to start caring for children in my neighborhood and knew I needed to prepare myself for whatever my charges might literally and figuratively throw at me.

The decision to become a babysitter ended up a great one, as it led to years of gainful summer and weekend employment and began me on my journey to a life-long partnership with the Red Cross.

25 years later, the Red Cross continues to offer babysitting courses to students ages 11 and older. The courses, available mainly online, provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly care for infants and children and to manage their own babysitting businesses.

The Babysitting Basics online course takes approximately 4 hours to complete and includes videos, interactive games, and downloadable resources covering basic caregiving skills (holding, carrying, diapering, feeding, bathing, etc.), what to do in emergency situations, how to play with children, how to interact with parents, and how to build a babysitting business. The course is designed for children between the ages of 11-15.

For those 16 and up, the Red Cross offers the online-only Advanced Child Care Training. This training features the latest in learning techniques – simulation learning – for an engaging format that students of this generation prefer.

My almost 9-year-old son, while still a little young for babysitting, loves to look out for his younger sister, cousins, and friends. I plan to enroll him in an online Red Cross babysitting course in a couple of years, knowing that along with learning how to care for younger children, he’ll learn how to deal with emergencies, the basics of building a business, and how to work with adults in a professional manner. Sounds like a pretty good introduction to real life responsibility!

Whether your future babysitter wants the Babysitting Basics course or the Advanced Child Care Training course for older, it is guaranteed to be a fun and educational course.

Summer Safety Myths, Busted! (New Podcast)


Check Out Education Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Barton Report on BlogTalkRadio


The Barton Report from the American Red Cross has summer safety on our minds. In this episode, don’t miss:

  • Quiz with our intern, Sam, on heat and severe weather safety.
  • Stories from Meghan, a Red Cross volunteer, on her personal Red Cross experience and deploying to wildfires.
  • Interview with a Scientific Advisory Council expert on first aid and swimming myths vs. facts.

If you’ve ever wondered if children’s arm floaties are safe, or what safe havens aren’t really safe during a storm, stick in an earbud and tune in!

Listen here if the above player doesn’t work for you.

Special thanks to Audionautix for providing music clips.

Pizza Guy Delivers! Recognized for Saving Stranger’s Life

Post by Patricia Billinger, originally published on Colorado Stories.

Google “pizza delivery guy CPR” and you’ll come across dozens of news articles from all over the country about Anson Lemmer, a 19-year-old who saved a stranger’s life using the CPR skills he first learned through Red Cross babysitter training when he was just turning into a teenager.

His all-American look, humble hero’s mien and unforgettable quote – “I left a pizza boy and returned a pizza man” – have endeared him to the world and thrust him into the spotlight. He’s a fantastic kid with a unique story.


Anson Lemmer (R) used CPR skills he learned in a Red Cross
Babysitter class to save a man’s life.

But what’s most unusual about Anson’s story is that it got told at all.

Why? First of all, Anson’s story is unique because we found out and got a chance to thank him.

The Lifesaver Award

On July 17, the Red Cross presented Anson with a Red Cross Lifesaver Award for using his CPR skills to save a life. We present a handful of the awards every year, and it’s one of the favorite aspects of my job. Just like Anson, nearly all of the recipients are humble and say they were just doing what their training taught them to do. In fact, an untold number of the everyday heroes who perform CPR never receive recognition of any kind because no one alerts us or the media to the lifesaving work they performed.

On the same day we presented Anson with an award, we traveled 168 miles away to recognize a Kremmling man with a Lifesaver Award for pulling a man out of a lake and reviving him using CPR. The story made the local news, but didn’t sky rocket to national attention like Anson’s tale.

todd nelson

The Red Cross honored Todd Nelson on the same day as Anson.
Todd saved a man’s life by using lifeguarding skills he learned 
decades ago through a Red Cross training.

Call to Get Trained

Reason #2 Anson’s story is unique: Not enough everyday people recognize the importance of knowing CPR and First Aid, and so they don’t get trained. When an emergency strikes, bystanders often call 911 but otherwise might not know how to help. Some people make a valiant attempt to help, guided by 911 operators and/or what they’ve watched on TV. Others, unfortunately, fall prey to the “bystander” effect and assume that someone else will do something about the emergency.

Cardiac arrest strikes more than 500,000 people every year in the United States. On June 30, 2015, the Institute of Medicine released a report outlining recommendations for increasing cardiac arrest survival rates. One of the key recommendations was educating and training the general public in how to recognize and respond to cardiac emergencies.

In my six years with the Red Cross, I’ve met about a dozen everyday heroes like Anson. Each story is different…

…But what they each share in common is that these heroes got trained and used their training – sometimes decades later! – to take action and save a life. As so many of the heroes have told me:

“When you take the training, you hope you’ll never have to use it.”

“ I never thought I would use it.”

“I thought I would never remember what to do. And then it all came back to me.”

You never know when an emergency will strike. It could be at work, at home, at the park, on the highway.

We need more Ansons out there.  And we can have them!

YOU could be the next Anson. You could end up saving the life of someone you love dearly – or the life of a total stranger. You might not achieve fame and fortune, but if you could save a life…wouldn’t it be worth it?

Read more about Anson’s and Todd’s heroic stories here: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Two-Locals-Honored-for-Using-CPR-to-Save-Lives . If you’re inspired, we hope you will sign up for a CPR class near you or take one online today at www.redcross.org/classes.

“Life Changing” Work in Nepal

by Anne Reynolds

Anne was deployed as part of a joint American Red Cross/Danish Emergency Relief Unit to help support distribution of cash and relief items following the earthquake in Nepal. 

Nepal has always been a place that I wanted to visit, but until now I had never made the trip. Like most Red Crossers, when I saw the devastation following the earthquakes, I felt the strong desire to help. Thankfully, I have the great privilege to make that desire reality as an American Red Cross International Disaster Services Roster Member.

(Pictured: Anne with some of the recipients of Red Cross distributions.)

I deployed to Nepal on June 21, and after a few days in Kathmandu, I headed out to the Makwanpur District. Makwanpur is located just 1.5 hours from the border with India, and encompasses very diverse topography. The area ranges in altitude from just over 500 feet above sea level to over 8,000 feet above sea level. There are a number of rivers running through the district and the roads in and around the area can be quite treacherous. Inevitably there is always a section of the winding, narrow, switch-back road that has experienced at least a small landslide. The blind curves cause the drivers to honk constantly, and we are always on alert. No Sunday driving here!

The district headquarters, Hetauda, is a small but bustling city, and I have been working primarily from the Nepal Red Cross Chapter headquarters here. The local Red Cross staff is simply amazing! Our goal is to reach 2,000 households with full NFRI kits, cash and hygiene kits. In the 15 days I have been here, we have managed to meet with the local government officials for all the areas where distributions will occur, coordinate and agree on beneficiary lists, conduct a 10 percent audit to ensure we are reaching the most impacted areas, secure distribution sites, conduct distribution training for 25 local staff, and successfully complete two distributions in which 380 beneficiaries were served. Beneficiaries have been so happy to receive items, and we have experienced no negative responses. The staff is proud of their accomplishments, and they are feeling confident about their ability to establish distribution sites and conduct distributions. This week, we are moving to a municipality known as Thaha, and will provide items and cash to over 1,500 more households. The local staff has really got the system down, and we are confident we can reach over 300 beneficiaries per day.

My experience in Makwanpur has been truly exceptional. I have been fully embraced by my Nepal Red Cross family, and they have shown me nothing but kindness, generosity and appreciation since the day I arrived.  I had always heard about the kindness of the Nepali people, and I can now say firsthand it is so very true. I feel like I have really been “living” here in Nepal, not just visiting. The work has been hard, the days tiring, but I have enjoyed great friendship, and Nepalese food, daily. I have replaced my daily coffee routine with my new favorite – milk tea! It is a special blend made here in town, and my friends here ask me all day long if I want more. I must admit, I say yes probably too often.

Words cannot accurately describe the special place Nepal and my new family in Makwanpur will forever hold in my heart. This has not been just a mission for me, but rather a life-changing experience for which I will be eternally grateful.