Strengthening a community to make it a better and safer place to live is a core mission of the Red Cross and working with kids is a great place to start.
With that in mind, volunteer Yvonne Smith, a Washington regional nurse lead, spent an afternoon with 10 young girls in Edmonds, Washington. All were Girl Scout Browines who were earning their philanthropy badges. Yvonne saw a great opportunity: “They are young girls today, but they are the community leaders of tomorrow. I had personal experience to share to help them understand how community service can play out when a disaster strikes.”
Yvonne took a chapter from her deployment in Hurricane Irene. She recounted an event that unfolded unexpectedly as an example of how organizations and volunteers work together to help a community in crisis. She recalled the day a high school football coach brought his team to clean up a neighborhood playground. This provided a central place for the community to reconnect and access help. The Red Cross joined in, handing out cleanup supplies to residents, setting up a first aid station, distributing drinking water and providing emotional support.
“We were so grateful to the team for the hard work they had put in, and it was also a chance for us to talk to them about how they were personally affected by the disaster,” Yvonne explained. She noted that philanthropy comes in many forms, often spontaneous and unexpected.
In helping the young girls earn their philanthropy badges, Yvonne pointed out the parallels in organizational missions. “Helping people in crisis is an invaluable community service and helping people is central to the Red Cross and the Girl Scouts,” Yvonne said.