By Katelyn Chu
Behind every blood drive, emergency relief effort and CPR course are compassionate and dedicated Red Cross volunteers. In fact, over 90% of the Red Cross workforce are volunteers, and we would like to take this holiday season to recognize the efforts of three of our hardworking members.
Maryam has been a Red Cross volunteer for over 10 years, starting in 2009 when her husband was stationed overseas. A native of Iran, she originally worked as a nurse, but after coming to the U.S. as a young adult, she pursued a degree in psychology at the University of Maryland. Maryam currently works with our Service to the Armed Forces team - as a patient ambassador. Plus, in the past few months, she also served as a translator to help support Afghan refugees - since her native language is Farsi.
Additionally, she has worked with many veterans who have access and functional needs, highlighting those moments as incredibly impactful.
She shared that these opportunities have taught her patience, to never give up on anything, to always think positive and to not be afraid to be different.
On why she continues to volunteer, Maryam states that she’s found joy and fulfillment in her services, and believes that Red Cross work is essential, as it provides important humanitarian help.
“My personal beliefs line up with the Red Cross services and I truly believe there is no discrimination as to race, religious beliefs, or political opinions in the Red Cross organization,” Maryam said. “We are simply serving people in need of help no matter who they are.”
Brian currently volunteers on the Board of Directors with our National Capital Area Chapter, and he serves as the chairman of the communications and community outreach committee. He also serves as a member of the Disaster Preparedness Summit and Philanthropy committees. His volunteer work is in addition to his role as Vice President for Growth at Changeis, Inc. Brian’s first experience with the Red Cross came while he was serving in the Navy; and he shared that he’s been glad to have the opportunity to pay it back.
“Military and civilian, government and commercial, professionals and volunteers – we just need to pay attention, and when we see them, thank them,” Brian said.
On why he continues to volunteer with the Red Cross, Brian shared that the organization’s global impact is what has kept him motivated to keep contributing more.
“I’ve volunteered for many organizations, and donated to a lot of causes, but none of those organizations have the universal, global mission of the Red Cross,” Brian said. “The sight of the Red Cross brings a smile, and sense of relief to those suffering a crisis and that’s pretty important!”
Taneesha is a student at the University of Virginia who started with the Red Cross in June 2020.
“Despite the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, I wanted to serve my community in some form,” Taneesha said. “I found the Red Cross as the perfect opportunity to make a positive impact in my community, even in the virtual format.”
While Taneesha’s only been with the Red Cross for a little over one year, she’s created an important impact as a member of the new volunteer screening team and as an engagement and recognition specialist, working to onboard and train prospective volunteers. Additionally, she also serves as a crucial part of the leadership team with our National Capital & Greater Chesapeake’s volunteer services team. There, she sends weekly emails with surveys, performance statistics, fun facts, and reminders of team responsibilities. She also recognizes fellow volunteers in monthly spotlights.
On why she enjoys volunteering with the Red Cross, Taneesha stated that the organization aligns with her personal beliefs and values.
“By working with the Red Cross, I am enabled to be actively engaged in my community while gaining invaluable developmental skills and ultimately strengthening the foundation of the organization,” Taneesha said.
The Red Cross is greatly appreciative of every volunteer—including Maryam, Brian and Taneesha. If you are interested in joining our team and volunteering with the Red Cross, please visit redcross.org/volunteer.