Leticia Olivera has always made time for volunteer work. Even as her children were growing up, she balanced motherhood, a job and made sure there was still time left to give back to her community. Leticia’s examples both as a mother and community role model clearly shaped her children: Her daughter Debby’s work supports cancer communities, and her daughter Barbara is a staff member at the American Red Cross.
When Leticia moved to a different part of Los Angeles, she wanted to find a volunteer opportunity closer to her new home, but with so many groups needing support Leticia could not decide which organization to join; until her daughter Barbara, the Senior Disaster Program Manager for the Greater Los Angeles Region suggested the Red Cross. It took a little convincing as Leticia did not want to encroach on her daughter’s professional life, but with over two dozen volunteer specialties available throughout the area, Leticia joined the Red Cross with her daughter’s blessing and a clear conscious.
Initially, Leticia supported the Red Cross by answering incoming calls from the public – fielding questions about blood donations, disaster support, Sound the Alarm home fire safety events and the many other services provided. This position offered Leticia a broad introduction and understanding of how the Red Cross supported the LA region. Over time, she became aware of the Blood Donation Ambassador opportunity and enjoyed the idea of the variety it offered – working with different people at various blood drives and donation centers near her home.
Blood Donation Ambassadors are the first people blood and platelet donors meet when they arrive at their donation appointment. Ambassadors prove critical to the donation experience, ensuring every donor feels welcomed, informed, supported and appreciated during their visit. Leticia greets each donor when they arrive, answers questions and makes sure donors receive blood sugar boosting snacks and beverages when their donations are complete. She also offers to schedule a donor’s next donation appointment before they leave.
“Everyone has their own motivation for donating blood and platelets” Leticia shared, “Whatever their reasons – if it’s to help someone with cancer or other serious illness, all donors are special to me. Blood and platelet donations are another way for people to volunteer their time and give back to their community”.
Leticia continues to give generously back to her community – both as a Red Cross volunteer and as an influence on her daughters; two woman who carry on the community supporting tradition modeled by their mother.