Volunteering with Red Cross a Family Tradition

Chesire Lively and Jackie Norris

Cheshire Lively (left) and her daughter, Jackie Norris, point to their respective Donut Dolly deployment locations on a world globe at the Red Cross office in Denver in the 1960s, shortly after Jackie signed up to serve as a Donut Dolly.

Three generations of women volunteer with the American Red Cross.

In this Denver, Colorado family, mothers pass down a tradition of volunteering for the American Red Cross like other moms pass down family recipes. Cheshire Lively served as a Red Cross Donut Dolly during WWII. Her daughter, Jackie Norris, followed in her footsteps and served overseas as a Donut Dolly during the Vietnam War. She later returned to the Red Cross to serve as a leadership volunteer at the Mile High Red Cross Chapter in Denver where she continues to serve as a leadership volunteer today.

Now, Elizabeth Norris, 31, has joined the family tradition and marks the third generation of women in her family to volunteer for the Red Cross. Reflecting changing times, Elizabeth is not a Donut Dolly – instead, she’s one of the founders of a new Red Cross professional group called Behind The Red that aims, in part, to recruit the next generation of Red Cross volunteer leadership.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever stopped to think, ‘should we do this?’” Jackie Norris said of the women’s tradition of dedicated volunteerism. “We just kind of assume we should.”

Jackie says her mother’s volunteer work helped to spark her own lifelong commitment to volunteerism and professional engagement with nonprofit causes, but she says she didn’t pressure her own daughter to become involved with the Red Cross. “Just because I did it didn’t mean she had to be interested in it; It was better, from my perspective, for her to come to it on her own,” Jackie said.

In this case, each mother gave a valuable gift to her daughter by modeling volunteerism and selflessness – and in return, each daughter gave her mother a wonderful gift in return: continuing the tradition of making the world a better place for the next generation.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES The Red Cross depends on volunteers to carry out its humanitarian mission. There are many different opportunities for someone who wants to become a Red Cross volunteer. Disaster volunteers help people during emergencies. Volunteer blood donors give of themselves to help others. Being prepared is the first step to making sure you and your loved ones stay safe in an emergency. You can also turn to the Red Cross to learn first aid, CPR, swimming and other health and safety skills. Or, become one of the people who volunteer to teach those courses.

Perhaps you’re interested in helping veterans, members of the military and their families. The Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces provides a 24-hour, 365-day link between members of the military and their families, sending emergency messages to deployed service members. SAF volunteers offer assistance to patients in military and veterans’ hospitals and work through Red Cross chapters to educate military families about programs to help and support them.

If you like helping people, the Red Cross is the place for you. For information on the many different volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, visit the Volunteering section of our web site.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES The Red Cross depends on volunteers to carry out its humanitarian mission. There are many different opportunities for someone who wants to become a Red Cross volunteer. Disaster volunteers help people during emergencies. Volunteer blood donors give of themselves to help others. Being prepared is the first step to making sure you and your loved ones stay safe in an emergency. You can also turn to the Red Cross to learn first aid, CPR, swimming and other health and safety skills. Or, become one of the people who volunteer to teach those courses.

Perhaps you’re interested in helping veterans, members of the military and their families. The Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces provides a 24-hour, 365-day link between members of the military and their families, sending emergency messages to deployed service members. SAF volunteers offer assistance to patients in military and veterans’ hospitals and work through Red Cross chapters to educate military families about programs to help and support them.

If you like helping people, the Red Cross is the place for you. For information on the many different volunteer opportunities with the Red Cross, visit the Volunteering section of our web site.

Tags: Volunteer.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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