Amazing benefits from volunteering
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