Growing up in Lima, Peru, Dayana Hankins remembers encountering Peruvian Red Cross volunteers in hospitals. She always thought that Red Cross volunteers were nurses because they were usually women dressed in traditional white coats.
Now, as a volunteer for two Monterey Bay Area Chapter departments, Dayana sees the variety of rewarding opportunities available for people of all ages and nationalities.
Dayana, 31, is a trilingual graduate student studying International Conflict Resolution at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). She joined the Red Cross earlier this year after learning about the Red Cross Club at MIIS and attending an International Humanitarian Law workshop, where she discovered the importance of the Red Cross’ work in this field.
Dayana, who was a French teacher in her native Peru, also spent several years in Anchorage, Alaska, working as a Spanish-English interpreter to help the Latino Community gain access to medical and legal resources.
As an intern with the International Services Department, Dayana works on the Restoring Family Links program, an outreach program for the refugee community in Monterey County, which informs local communities about the free services offered by the Red Cross.
“It’s really important for me to help people trace, and restore contact with, their family members abroad who went missing after an armed conflict or disaster,” Dayana said.
Dayana also volunteers for the Disaster Services Department as a Preparedness trainer, where she teaches the Spanish-speaking community how to prepare for and respond to an emergency or disaster.
“I’m helping people gain access to services, be prepared in case of an emergency, and take care of themselves and their families,” she said. “I like showing them that the Red Cross cares about the life of every human being regardless of nationality, gender, culture, religion, or legal status. We are there whenever they need us!”
Dayana urges people interested in assisting with humanitarian aid to look into volunteering with the Red Cross.
“I think volunteering at the Red Cross is rewarding work and you will never find yourself bored,” she said. “There is always something to do and someone to help.”