A version of this post originally appeared on the Western New York chapter‘s blog. By Grace Carnall, Communications Intern
You’ve heard money doesn’t equal happiness. But have you taken the risk to test this theory? Daniel Lopez did. Daniel left Puerto Rico to seek out new beginnings with only seven dollars in his pocket, headed to Buffalo, New York.
Not long before leaving Puerto Rico, Daniel had the opportunity to accept a managerial position at his father’s accounting firm and earn a higher salary. Instead, he decided that, at age 50, it was time to make a change and leave for the United States.
Once in Buffalo, Daniel was directed to a rescue mission that provided him with meals. To show his gratitude, he volunteered to serve breakfast every morning. He also volunteered to help teach young children English at the library. As he served the community, Daniel had a revelation – he had a passion for helping people. Fortunately, this led to Daniel’s introduction to the American Red Cross.
Free Smoke Alarms and Free Advice: The Home Fire Campaign
With the help of volunteers like Daniel, the Red Cross is reducing the number of injuries and death from home fires.
In Buffalo, several companies and organizations partner together every week for an outreach program that targets an at-risk neighborhood. A Red Cross volunteer advises residents on reducing the risk of a home fire. The effort includes free smoke alarms that are installed personally by a Red Cross volunteer.
Daniel explained, “Maybe they don’t need smoke alarms, but we are telling the community that the American Red Cross is there for them.”
Red Cross Volunteer: “Working for a Difference”
In the short months that Daniel has been an AmeriCorps volunteer working with the Red Cross, his zest for teaching and ability to speak fluently in Spanish and English have impacted hundreds of people.
“We are not working for a profit,” Daniel stated. “We are working for a difference.” With a sincere disposition, Daniel admitted that this is the happiest he has ever been.
It is never too early or too late to start a new journey in your life. Find opportunities to volunteer with the Red Cross on redcross.org to see what difference you can make.