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Volunteers make up the majority of the workforce of the Red Cross, helping people after disasters. Courtesy photoVolunteers make up the majority of the workforce of the Red Cross, helping people after disasters. Courtesy photo

Special to the News-Times

As the time for making New Year’s resolutions grows closer, the American Red Cross, Texas Gulf Coast Region, asks you resolve to make a difference and support your community by becoming a volunteer in 2024.

“We’re seeing both the frequency and intensity of disasters increase due to extreme weather,” said Shawn Schulze, Interim CEO. “Across the country, the Red Cross is responding to nearly twice as many large disasters as we did a decade ago to help people. This uptick in responses means we need more volunteers. The need to help has never been greater.”

Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with the Texas Gulf Coast Region. You can help people here in your community or you can sign up to support disaster victims in other parts of the country.

Locally, 3,636 people volunteer with the Red Cross. In the last year, they responded to many disasters across the state. Our local volunteers are part of the almost 275,000 volunteers across the country whose support enables the Red Cross to provide relief and comfort for disaster victims, lifesaving blood products for patients, emergency support for military families and veterans, and much more. Please resolve to help by volunteering in 2024.

Some of our most needed disaster-related volunteer roles include:

•Disaster Action Team: Most of the 60,000 emergencies that the Red Cross responds to each year are smaller disasters like home fires and these are no less devastating to the families affected. As a Disaster Action Team volunteer, you can help comfort and support people in your community by meeting any immediate needs such as food, shelter, clothing or supplies and connecting them to long term recovery services. We supply all the training you need.

•Disaster Recovery Care: Casework volunteers provide support to people after disasters to help them get back on their feet. This can include providing referrals to other organizations, serving as an advocate, and issuing financial assistance through a special online system. Volunteers are needed to help both virtually and onsite after disasters.

•Disaster Mental Health: Disaster Mental Health volunteers provide mental health support to those impacted by a disaster. To be qualified, you must hold a master’s degree and a current, unencumbered license as a social worker, psychologist, professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, psychiatrist, school psychologist or school counselor. Current psychiatric nurses with state license as a registered nurse and at least two years’ experience in a psychiatric setting are also qualified, as are retired mental health professionals who were licensed and maintained a license or certification in good standing upon retirement.

Our volunteers are at the heart of our mission and represent 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with the Texas Gulf Coast Region.

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