Amazing benefits from volunteering

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It is a little past 1 AM on the West Coast and I am at home for the weekend in the Bay Area. Tomorrow, I will drive for 5+ hours back to Los Angeles and resume normal college life. For now, I am sitting here in my old room where I grew up and looking around.

I haven’t written a blog entry for some time and was trying to come up with something fun, engaging and novel. Just when I thought I would call it a night – maybe it was the emotional live Jason Mraz album I am listening to – I started really looking around at the stuff on my walls. There is the normal stuff like a calendar from 3 years ago, a concert poster (anyone, Stroke 9?), a red giant foam finger with my high school (BHS, GO PANTHERS!) on it, but there are some things you wouldn’t find in most teenagers (or former teenagers) rooms.

Hanging from the walls are certificates of appreciation from my local Red Cross Chapter, picture frames from National Convention, and a ton of name tags. (As an aside, I am into photography and thought it would be fun to spice up the post with visual aids) It is really the name tags that caught my interest. I pulled them off the wall and started glancing through them. They really got me thinking about what kinds of things I have been fortunate to get out of my Red Cross experiences over the past 8 years.

Volunteering with the American Red Cross has taken me all over the country and allowed me to meet some of the most interesting people I have ever run across. But tonight I am thinking of the things the organization has given me that aren’t so easy to see as a name tag. To put it bluntly, the Red Cross has given me a set of ridiculous skills. I believe that every Red Cross volunteer has a set of these skills. Some of them are practical, some entertaining, and some useless if not for the Red Cross. They might vary by region, chapter, state, time zone, but they exist everywhere. I did a little brainstorming and this is what I have come up with. These ridiculous skills include but are not limited to:
      the ability to pull or a create an ice breaker game from thin air
      the ability to create a skit in under 3 minutes or less about anything
      the ability to sit in a giant circle without being asked
      the ability to gift wrap items that others thought impossible
      the ability to get out of way too much class in high school
      and the ability to recite lines from CPR training videos

Now I could wrap this entry up with a heartfelt ending line but I really feeling like leaving it open. I want to know some of the random, ridiculous skills you have picked up while volunteering. Leave a comment. If you do, I will give you a million warm fuzzies (another ability I picked up and perfected while with the Red Cross).

Pat West, California

Comments

2 Responses to “Amazing benefits from volunteering”
  1. Bianca says:

    Seeing this picture and reading the description of your room immediately made me burst out laughing due to the fact that I have the exact same thing in my room back at home in addition to a drawer full of Red Cross apparel and accessories. I thought about bringing the “shrine”, as my friends nicknamed it, to my college dorm room but figured it would be safer waiting at home for me.

    Some ridiculous skills I have acquired through the Red Cross include and are not limited to:

    - the ability to to wash, scrub, and dry a car, truck, motorcycle, or wheelchair (yes we once had to wash a wheelchair at a car wash) in record breaking time)
    - the ability to ask strangers for money
    - the ability to make picture slideshows in minutes
    - the ability to get small children to stop crying (this took lots of practice)
    - the ability to turn my hands into dancing preparedness puppets

    Great post Pat =)

  2. seungjun says:

    Pat, I totally agree about the last two… People don’t believe me when I say I missed about 20 days of 2nd semester last year! And the CPR and First Aid video… oh yes. It’s fresh as I just taught First Aid at LDC today! I’ll try to post an entry about it sometime.