Keishla Berríos is always ready to help. The youth volunteer from the Puerto Rican region became involved with the American Red Cross in 2002 through the encouragement of her high school teacher, and Berríos has enjoyed helping others ever since.
Berríos has served in various capacities for the past 12 years, from fundraising events to administrative roles. During times of disaster, she has served as a communications volunteer with the Emergency Operations Center in San Juan. She knows that the role of the Red Cross in Puerto Rico is an important one and that the need for its services is great.
“I have seen many families affected by fires and floods,” explained Berríos. “I know how important it is for families to be prepared because anyone can be a victim of a disaster.”
With this conviction in mind, she stays involved with the community outreach disaster and emergency preparedness program, teaches hands-only CPR courses and has been instrumental in a children’s disaster education program called the Pillowcase Project. Berríos enjoys being with children and teaching them the importance of emergency preparedness, so the Pillowcase Project holds a special place in her heart.
In 2011, she was in charge of the photo exhibit for the Puerto Rican Chapter’s 118th anniversary. At the exhibit, a little boy approached her and asked about a photo that showed ladies dressed in white. Berríos explained the ladies were nurses from the founding days of the Red Cross and served as volunteers during the war. The boy thanked Berríos before he walked away, not for answering his question, but “for being a great woman like the ones in the picture.”
Berríos is happy to see how the youth in Puerto Rico are learning about the Red Cross and the importance of volunteering.
“Children can make the difference,” said Berríos. “Volunteering helps you grow as a person and makes us more aware of other people and the challenges that they may be experiencing.”