Retired librarian and grandmother Barbara Via volunteers with the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Chapter as a receptionist. Receptionists are often the first face someone sees when they come to the Red Cross looking for help or volunteering their time and it is important to provide them with a friendly and welcoming environment as they are assisted.
“Barbara is a great asset to our team at the front desk because of her adaptability,” said Sheelah Aulet, Volunteer and Youth Associate. “She’s a very efficient and dependable volunteer. She’s always sharing her ideas and helping us create a more efficient front desk experience.”
Barbara also volunteers with blood services where she helps make donors feel comfortable and appreciated from registration to the refreshments. Volunteers like Barbara ensure that donors are cared for throughout their donation experience and often bring back repeat donors.
“One of the things I’ve enjoyed is learning about the Red Cross and what it accomplishes and the breadth of its services,” said Via. “When you accomplish things during your volunteer shifts you feel like you’ve given back and done something useful with your time.”
Drawn to the Red Cross by its reputation, Barbara was looking to give back to her community and help others. When she first arrived in October, she was surprised by how much of the Red Cross was made up of volunteers donating their time to help those who had been affected by disasters.
“Something people should know about volunteering is that time commitments can be flexible,” said Via. “I can do a shift at the Red Cross and still have plenty of time to paint, knit, read and spend time with my family.”