I believe that in troubling times, we are often overwhelmed by the support of others and can’t always figure out the best ways to say thank you. I find myself very blessed and happy that through volunteering with the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, I found my own way of being able to say thanks by giving back.
I started volunteering with the Red Cross Public Affairs Team in August of 2010 after I heard about the group from a local public relations professional. I was finishing up an internship I had started before graduating from college and was preparing to enter the job search. I knew that the job search would be a long one in the current economy, so I wanted to remain relevant in the public relations world. I was considering searching for a temporary internship, or some volunteer work, when I was notified of the Public Affairs group. I immediately knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.
My connections with the Red Cross are not unlike many other people in that they have been there for me and my family. I had a pretty rough childhood while I was growing up, as my dad often made trips to emergency rooms and hospitals. I remember a few summers when I spent more time in hospitals than I did with friends. Unfortunately, these medical conditions continued for many years. I especially remember trips to the emergency room during my emotionally draining senior year of college. Due to the conditions my dad was being treated for, he often needed to receive blood. When I was younger, I never really took time to think about where the blood he received was coming from, but when I got older, I was very aware. I started to give blood as often as I could as a way to give back for those who had donated their blood to my dad. I know if it hadn’t been for the donors of the blood my dad received, he wouldn’t be here with me today.
The Red Cross also changed my sister’s life when she was hired by the organization. For the first time ever, she was actually talking about having a career and enjoying her work. I remember how happy she was to find a job she actually wanted after being between jobs and searching for so long. It was due to this new eagerness and enthusiasm that she has decided to start taking college level courses again, after dropping out of college many years back.
I knew that while giving blood is truly great, I could do more to give back. What I never expected from volunteering was that I would actually get so much out of it. As a recent college graduate, it was an amazing feeling to be in a room with people who have been balancing out their professional careers and still attending meetings and committing to helping the Red Cross. I knew that this sense of giving back, despite having a demanding schedule, was a goal I wanted for my future.
Now that I’ve secured my first job in my field, I still intend to continue my involvement with the Red Cross for many years to come. Hopefully I can one day inspire a young volunteer the way that many have inspired me. Learn about volunteer opportunities here.
Thanks to volunteer Steven Nyeste for this post.