What’s on your New Year’s resolution list? A new year is an opportunity to start with a fresh slate; to tackle unachieved goals, new experiences and life-changing decisions. Kicking off 2021 should be no different, especially after finishing up a year as challenging as the last one.
If you are still considering what to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions, here are five reasons why you should resolve to volunteer, with some perspective by Kallie Bunnell, Red Cross volunteer from the Utah/Nevada Region:
#1 You get a chance to give back.
“I began volunteering with the Red Cross at the beginning of 2020 because I felt something was missing in my life. I wanted to take part in something meaningful for people who needed it the most. Red Cross volunteers are some of the first people there after a disaster providing care for all human basic needs, such as shelter, food, supplies, medical assistance, and counseling. As a member of the Disaster Action Team within the Red Cross, I get to be part of the frontlines both in my community and on deployments to other states during an emergency.”
#2 You can gain professional experience.
“I am going into nursing school and I had the opportunity to shadow the nurses in the disaster health services team with the Red Cross. We aided many of the evacuees to receive necessary medical supplies, such as wheelchairs, walkers, blood pressure cuffs, glucometers, etc. We also worked with local pharmacies to get the evacuees medications that they left home in the event of the evacuation. It was a very rewarding experience to help provide essential supplies to those in need while learning how the Red Cross works.”
#3 Volunteering helps strengthen a community.
“One of the most rewarding parts of disaster relief is taking the opportunity to talk to the evacuees. I had a very impactful experience while talking to one evacuee from Lake Charles, Louisiana. There was an older man sitting by himself on the couch, so I decided to sit down with him (six feet away of course). He told me that his nickname was ‘Butch’ and that people called him by that name all his life. When I asked him about his family, Butch told me that his wife had died just five months prior to the hurricanes. He relayed story after story of his life with his beautiful wife and all the good they did. He showed me pictures of his house that was completely destroyed.
“I asked him if he was worried about not having a home to go back to, and he said that all he cared about was that his daughter and grandchildren were with him. I remember him telling me something along the lines of ‘As long as they’re with me, I would live anywhere!’ This experience meant so much to me because it reminded me what matters most in this life!”
#4 Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.
“When I received the Red Cross email about deployment for [Hurricanes Sally, Laura and Marco], I felt a deep sense of urgency to step up to volunteer in place of someone who could potentially be in danger.
“It was cool to play a role in the efforts to prevent the spread of [COVID-19] between both the evacuees and the volunteers. In the time I was there, there were no known cases of COVID-19 contracted by evacuees or volunteers. It was very impressive and helped me to feel a lot safer while I was there!”
#5 Volunteering helps you find purpose.
“I would say that no matter who you are, you have the power to impact the lives around you through service. I have learned that service is using the gifts you already possess to improve others’ current circumstances. As a young woman in today’s society, it is so empowering to me to be involved with humanitarian efforts because it is the most influential and powerful thing you can do. If you want to make a real difference in the world, volunteer for the Red Cross!”
Our volunteers represent more than 90% of our workforce and are the backbone to our lifesaving mission. Kick off your year with confidence by resolving to volunteer with us! Learn more and get started at redcross.org/volunteertoday.