FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jay Bonafede
Phone: (716) 878-2372
Cell: (716) 435-7468
On Friday, September 14, the White House will welcome over 100 American Red Cross volunteers, employees and partners from across the country. With the overarching theme of “Red Cross: Building Resilient Communities,” the event will include panel discussions and presentations about how the Red Cross is working to help communities build the physical, psychological, social and economic capacity to withstand, quickly adapt and successfully recover from emergencies of any kind.
NYS Disaster Mental Health Chief Tara Hughes, a Red Cross volunteer from Amherst, NY, will be a member of the panel entitled, “Building Resilient Communities by Empowering Individuals to Take Action and Strengthen Community Capacity.” Specifically, Hughes will be discussing the mental health effects of disaster. A professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, Hughes has been a Red Cross volunteer for over a decade and led the organization’s efforts to lend support to families following the crash of Flight 3407 in February of 2009. In addition, Hughes will discuss her time in Slave Lake, Canada in March of 2012, where she worked with the Canadian Red Cross to build a disaster mental health program as the one year anniversary of devastating wildfires that destroyed over 400 homes and both apartment complexes in the town of 7,000 people.
Also as part of the day-long program, the White House will honor nine volunteers and employees as “Champions of Change.” These extraordinary individuals have devoted their time and effort to the Red Cross across the country and will have the opportunity to share their stories with Administration officials and Red Cross members around the globe. The Champions of Change program was created to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
“President Obama knows how important the American Red Cross is to not only providing humanitarian relief but also building resilient communities,” said Jon Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President. “The American Red Cross Champions of Change we are honoring are a reflection of the generosity and compassion deeply rooted in our national identity.”
Watch the events live at whitehouse.gov/live and learn more at WhiteHouse.gov/Champions. The live stream event will include the Champions of Change event at 1:30pm EDT Friday, September 14th. People around the country can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WHRedCross.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.