From Natural Disasters to Disaster Relief

By National Red Cross Corps Member, Brenda Rodriguez

 

I studied natural disasters for five years: their origin, how they function, their magnitude and the copious lives they can affect— which depended on their potency. I understood the more technical side of disasters and the many problems that have amassed with their prevalence. I enjoyed learning how the Earth functioned and how we could remain protected, should a natural disaster strike. For many years, I maintained that mindset of wanting to help people affected by emergencies and natural disasters. However, my humanitarian efforts were not limited to California or the United States. I wanted to help the entire world. I did not know where to begin but, I started by donating my time to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day. While looking for other ways to volunteer, I came across the American Red Cross website. It drew me in, quicker than the speed of light. So, even though the deadline had passed, I decided to apply for the summer internship program at the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. My thinking was that they might extend the deadline. And, to my good fortune, they did!

 

I commenced with the internship at the Canoga Park office, in Territory 1. There, I contacted individuals for appointments for the Home Fire Campaign in both English and Spanish, visited areas in search of base camps for Home Fire Campaign events, and even gave my first Prepare U presentation! There was never a dull moment in the office and I grew to really like my supervisors. In fact, I liked it so much that I did not mind driving 40 miles from Gardena to Canoga Park, every single day. When my internship ended, it was a bit devastating because I wanted to delve deeper into the American Red Cross.

 

As a result of this passion, and in an effort to pursue more humanitarian work, I applied for the National Red Cross Corps (NRCC) – particularly to help with preparedness education. I was accepted and I am now working in the Preparedness Education (PE) Department with an utterly magnificent team called the PETs. Since I began my term with the NRCC, I have gone on numerous Disaster Action Team calls, educated individuals and families at Home Fire Campaign events, designed flyers for PE outreach efforts,  and have given several preparedness education presentations to diverse audiences throughout L.A. I have even gone on to train new presenters in the PE department— in both English and Spanish— and, I have helped new volunteers train and transition into volunteering at the Red Cross.  My time with the NRCC has been great. Now, I am looking forward to another four months with my amazing team and, a lifetime of volunteering with the American Red Cross!

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