Give a Day. Get a Disney Day., the program providing a free day's pass to a Disney Park in exchange for a day of volunteering, was a resounding success at the American Red Cross.
Volunteers flocked to their local Red Cross to earn a Disney Day. Nearly 7,000 volunteers, many of them new to the organization, served as donor center greeters, sorted pamphlets and stuffed bags destined for military families.
Red Cross volunteers also cleaned manikins, made thank you calls, painted walls, represented the Red Cross at community events, assisted with disaster shelter drills, supported Haiti earthquake fundraising, and much, much more.
More than a quarter of Red Cross chapters and Blood Services regions participated in the 10-week program which began January 1, 2010. Involvement mirrors the nationwide span of Red Cross service delivery—Disney passes were documented from Red Cross units in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
The Charleston, S.C. Region Experience
Special family-oriented programs at the Charleston, S.C. Region provided Disney passes for 728 volunteers, more than any other participating Red Cross unit.
Director of Volunteer and Youth Services Lisa Miller-Wills engaged hundreds of volunteers of all ages with a card program, Brightening the Dark Days of Winter for Our Local Service Men and Women. A chapter volunteer provided free space at which card preparers could meet and work. Over 2,000 cards were made by the project's end.
The chapter also turned to the measles program for family-friendly volunteer opportunities. A template was developed, and from that volunteers created a measles presentation and then presented it to a local library or school. In one case, an entire school saw the presentation and bought measles pins.
Miller-Wills has several heart warming stories from the effort. She talks about people coming from two and three hours away to volunteer, and of having more than 100 people sign up every weekend while the program was going on. Her favorite memory is the father who volunteered for the very first time in his life, because his kids wanted to help and they couldn't volunteer without an adult.
While at the chapter, every volunteer received information about disaster preparedness and how to become a registered volunteer. Miller-Wills and other chapter staff are following up, inviting new volunteers to help with other service delivery and fundraising events, and keeping them informed of Red Cross activities through the chapter e-newsletter.