5 things I Learned By Volunteering With Red Cross
-“Do you get paid?”
This is without doubt the most annoying question that volunteer is always asked. The answer is NO! Volunteers do it for free! (Don’t get nasty!)
“Wherever a man turns he can find someone who needs him.” Albert Schweitzer
Six years passed since I fist step in the Red Cross. Years full of joy, and learning, years of new friendships.
To be clear, even my good friends couldn't understand why I spent my days, giving my time, to volunteer, and I’m sure there are ones that still don’t. The most important thing is that I do.
So, I wanted to share with you some things I learned that helped me be a better person, and grow a little more when I needed it the most.
1. Red Cross is not just a place for people in need to get food and clothes.
People in Serbia tend to associate the Red Cross with the flour and milk.
I guess this picture is the fault of the War, as a result the Red Cross is not seen as an organization that has much more to offer. But it does! So much more!
I had an opportunity to educate others about the issues that affect the lives of people around me, and mine included. Maybe then, I did not know how to appreciate it, but I do now.
I was given the advantage to learn things that my peers did not know, and I understood a little more the world we live in.
So, No. Red Cross is not a help center.
It gives you a chance to mature, to learn how you can help others and yourself in process.
2. It’s okay to be different!
It doesn't matter if you have met the person a minute ago, or you know her your whole life, you will still act as you know each other for a very long time!
This is some kind of unspoken rule for volunteers in Red Cross.
Through the years I've met more than few hundred volunteers, and in my municipality was around sixty of us.
Sixty in core different people, individuals. Emo, rockers,’have no idea who I am’, folklores, later came the hipsters. Incomparable with each other. Diverse in age, nationality and education.
But one thing is the same, the goal.
I used to spend hours with people I've just met, having fun. And I can ensure you that probably if we all met outside the Red Cross, we would never be friends, or even talk to each other. But as volunteers it’s a totally another story.
Fist thing that volunteering in Red Cross teaches you is EQUALITY.
3. Team work rocks!
As much as we want to change the world, it’s not easy to do it by ourselves.
“We talk a lot about hope, helping, and teamwork. Our whole message is that we are more powerful together.” Victoria Osteen
This is where you use your sense of equality.
As we all know it, teamwork is sometimes exhausting, making you want to pull the hair out of your head, and someone else's. But it also makes you more understanding of others.
You develop better communication skills, while discovering yourself.
I was in the team that was taking part in one of First Aid competition. Made my experience more encouraging.
It was a disaster, day by day training, and still not being good enough. Until you understand that you are not a single person in one team. You are the team. Deeply depending on each other.
That’s the best part? Seeing how much you can do with someone else’s help.
“As you move outside of your comfort zone, what was once the unknown and frighting becomes your new normal.” Robin S. Sharma
You learn how to make your ego smaller for a greater good of others, and a bigger goal.
4. You need to know first aid!
How many time have you fallen, break your arm, or cut yourself? Or how many times have you seen someone being hurt, and you didn't know what to do?
“Cultivate a habit of caution.” Safety saying, circa early 1900s.
We are scared to help other people ’cause we have no clue how. We can’t help ourselves sometimes.
How many of you put your head up when you have a nosebleed?
I’m afraid of the answers.
There are so many things that we do wrong way, ending up just doing more damage.
Nearly 1.3 million people on year basis dies in road crashes.
To know when not to move, how to treat an insect bite, or even snake bite, to be able to stop your nose bleed, or make yourself better after you think your going to faint. This, and a lot more.
I learned all of this as a volunteer in Red Cross.
5. PEOPLE MATTER. World is in disaster!
It’s much easier just to close eyes in front of everything that is happening.
On a daily basis, we can hear news about attacks that are tearing us as a human race. It makes my heart stop.
No, volunteering in Red Cross did not teach me to go and demonstrate for something, it taught me NOT TO HATE.
Other nationality, other skin tone, language, beliefs. Diverse cultures and customs.
Everybody is just human. Everybody deserves to be helped.
HUMANITY, IMPARTIALITY, NEUTRALITY, INDEPENDENCE, VOLUNTARY SERVICE, UNITY, UNIVERSALITY — 7 Fundamental Principles of Red Cross