Red Cross volunteer Carolyn Dilqule told a version of this story on our “Close to the Vest: Stories from Red Cross Volunteers” livestream event. Full video below.
When the COVID-19 outbreak hit Los Angeles, I knew that I had to do something. It’s who I am; I am a humanitarian.
So, when I heard about Project Wellness from Nikki Davis, the Senior Director of Community & Volunteer Services, I knew I had found what I needed to do.
I called more than 500 of our wonderful and dedicated volunteers with the simple ask to hear about how they were doing and managing during the “Safer At Home” order.
Each conversation started with: “I am calling on behalf of our Regional CEO Jarrett Barrios of the American Red Cross, and he wants you to know you are in our heart and on our mind. We never forget about our wonderful and dedicated volunteers.”
Whether direct conversations, voicemail, text messages or emails, it was the most rewarding task to share stories and hear how thye were spending time painting, cooking, building social media contacts, taking online classes, studying for SATs, choosing a college or university for the fall, searching for jobs and learning new musical instruments.
I actually was able to give one person a job lead and another person a free place to learn how to play the guitar.
I spoke words of comfort to the family of one of our youth volunteers, who had an aunt in another state on a ventilator because of the virus. I promised to pray for her aunt in my personal prayer time before going to bed, and I kept that promise. I also spoke with some of the parents of our youth volunteers, who were touched by our thoughtfulness that we were taking time to check in on them.
It has been a great four weeks of getting to touch the lives of our volunteers in such a simple, yet meaningful way during one of the most difficult and unusual time of our lives.
I remember, I went into “family mode” and told many of them: “I LOVE YOU!” No matter what method of conversation I use to communicate with my family and friends, I never fail to say those three important words. I believe we should start to say them to everyone we hold conversations with. It may be the last words they hear; it may be the words that save their life.
So, to all of the American Red Cross, I just want to say, “I LOVE YOU!”