Red Cross in the NY Times, and a chance to convey our story

As a follower of the news (a result of my being a political science major in my life outside the Red Cross), I was very happy to see one of the morning blogs in Monday’s New York Times online talk about the role of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in response to the recent disasters in Myanmar, China and tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia.

A recent Red Cross news release on the situation in Myanmar that was quoted in the article stated:

Local volunteers –- fluent in the local language, culture, and landscape –- can often be overlooked and considered dispensable. Time and time again, however, they are the ones on the front lines, saving lives, preventing diseases, and rebuilding communities after the wake of tragedy.

These incidents show one of the greatest strengths of every Red Cross society: diverse cadres of volunteers responding to help their fellow women and men in times of need. Youth and young adults are critical components of any local volunteer corps, and one of the ways the Red Cross responds to a nation’s communities is by reflecting its communities as much as possible.

This is also one of the best times possible for youth to engage their communities in responding to these disasters, whether in the form of raising funds for the International Response Fund that helps us respond to these and future disasters or cultivating awareness of disasters at home like the tornadoes or single-family home fires. Whether it’s through raising funds or responding to disasters at home and abroad, youth and young adults have a critical role to play in carrying out the Red Cross message of hope, comfort and volunteerism.

Justin Lam
Secretary, National Youth Council
Washington, DC

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