By Noreen Walton, American Red Cross volunteer
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term “poster child” as “a child who has a disease and is pictured in posters to solicit funds for combating the disease; a person having a public image that is identified with something (such as a cause).” True to that definition, San Bernardino County January 2022 Volunteer of the Month Robin Pedersen has proudly served as a poster child for the American Red Cross most of her life.
“When I was four years old, my parents found out I wasn’t producing enough white blood cells to fight off infections,” Robin said. “The doctors said I needed gamma globulins, made by white blood cells, to get better. But none of the hospitals had gamma globulins. My parents contacted the Red Cross and the Red Cross provided a two-year supply to our local hospital.” Robin’s treatment was successful and the Red Cross featured her as one of their “poster children,” an honor she still treasures.
After a thirty-year career as head custodian at an elementary school, Robin began her second career as a Red Cross volunteer, the day after she retired. She credits the work she did supporting mild-to-moderate handicapped students and supervising the site’s custodial staff as good preparation for her work with the Red Cross. “Like many Red Cross volunteers, I am willing to serve and willing to show up, night or day. I believe that the people I’m volunteering with all have the same compassion I have, and I am proud to serve with them.”
In the six years she has volunteered with Red Cross, Robin has held a variety of positions including Disability Integration Team Member, Disaster Action Team (DAT) Supervisor, Sheltering Team Member and Sheltering Supervisor. She sees that variety as a good reason to become a Red Cross volunteer. “The many positions that are available to you, and the satisfaction that comes with being a Red Cross worker, are so worth the time you put in!”
From a four-year-old girl whose life was permanently and positively changed by the Red Cross, to a volunteer who enthusiastically supports the Red Cross mission, Robin Pedersen epitomizes the slogan on the poster she was featured in as a little girl: “Join Red Cross…on the job when you need it most.”
To learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.