PUBLISHED: 4:08 PM on Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A call to community
American Red Cross of Southeast Alaska
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Riverbend Elementary commons, the American Red Cross will hold an informational meeting on how you can get involved as a volunteer and with your community.

When disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there to provide for the immediate needs of those affected and those who are first responders. Volunteers offer a face-to-face response to families that have suffered a fire or other natural disaster; our first responders are provided with food and beverage to allow them to continue in their work. But it's so much more than offering a family a safe place to stay, food and clothing, its also the emotional encouragement, compassion and understanding that you as a volunteer can offer to a family as they pick up the pieces and put their life back together.

  Linda Wahl
At 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the Riverbend Elementary commons we will hold the first of three must have classes for disaster volunteers: Knowing Our Mission, Turning Your Compassion into Action.

On Oct. 20-21, at DZ Middle school we will be holding a class on client casework and shelter operations and simulations. Both classes will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

These classes are absolutely free and provide you with the training and information you need to assist another in times of crisis. You will also join the thousands of Red Cross volunteers across the nation who lead this organization in compassion and have chosen to take action.

As a volunteer, I cannot think of anything more rewarding than knowing that I have helped a family in need and have a found a smile of hope upon their face in a dark hour. There is truth found in the statement, "Give out of your own need." Everyone has the need to know that they will be safe, fed and clothed after a disaster. We all have the need to know that there is someone supporting and offering us encouragement through a difficult time, and we all have a need to feel apart of something more than just ourselves. As a volunteer with Red Cross, I realize that I am also a volunteer to my community.

All you need to volunteer is to want to volunteer. You may be a housewife with three children or a banker; maybe you're a nurse or mental health clinician; or maybe a car salesman or schoolteacher. Whatever your occupation, who ever you are, we need you.

In the words of Winston Churchill, " We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself, the means of inspiration and survival. "

To enroll in these free classes or to find out more information you may call the offices of your American Red Cross at 463-5713.

Linda Wahl is a Red Crossvolunteer and Juneau resident.