New Partnership Grows from Ashes

Hand in Hand

By: Anna Hiatt

Edited by: Nancy Waddell

 

On December 31, 2015, a catastrophic apartment fire broke out in South Everett in an older, World War II era building. One person died and 15 were injured, but many more were left in need of help.

The Red Cross responded to the Casino Road fire, but so did another organization called Hand in Hand. Their mission is to help children in the foster care system and low-income families in the greater Snohomish County region. Since that night, the Red Cross and Hand in Hand have maintained contact and continued to partner on efforts to support the local community. Continue reading

Spokane Area Community Partners Join Forces to Support Red Cross Wildfire Response

credit union check - used on blog post

Wenatchee, WA, 10:30a.m., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of the Greater Spokane community, KXLY4 television, and the Spokane Federal Credit Union, a total of over $10,000 was raised for the Red Cross Washington Wildfires relief fund on Thursday, September 3, 2015, during an all-day telethon on KXLY4.

Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: Anne Isenhart

Anne I In 2013, Anne Isenhart was representing the Red Cross at an event in Bellingham when her husband called to tell her that their daughter was in the hospital after falling out of a second-story window. Anne didn’t want to abandon the newly trained volunteer at her side, but her manager, who happened to be at the event, insisted she go and take care of her family. Anne’s daughter was airlifted to Harborview in Seattle. While she recovered, Anne took a break from her role coordinating speakers, and her colleagues at the Red Cross gave her the time and support she needed. One even came to her house to look after her kids so Anne could rest for a few hours. Her colleagues’ help embodied the heart of the Red Cross mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering. “My family was a priority, and they understood that,” Anne says. “They took care of me. That’s what I love the most about being a Red Cross volunteer—it doesn’t stop when I walk out the door. They’re invested in me as a person.” For Anne, it’s a relief to work with an organization that understands that its employees and volunteers are only human—especially after a career in the airline industry, where there was no room for mistakes. She’s even able to bring one of her two small children with her when she comes to the office. As for that frightening day when her daughter was injured, Anne now uses the story in her preparedness presentations, encouraging people to keep toiletries and a change of clothes in their vehicles. “I was in a jean skirt and flip flops, and I didn’t have any extra clothes in my car. I didn’t know I was going to be staying the night in Seattle….You never know what the day holds.” Anne got started at the Red Cross after meeting Stacy Rice, formerly the Emergency Services director for the Mt. Baker chapter, during an aviation drill for an airline out of the Bellingham airport. Stacy and other Red Cross volunteers made a strong impression on Anne, and when she left the airline, she turned to the Red Cross as a way to stay engaged in her community. Four years later, Anne now serves as the preparedness lead for her chapter. She teaches the Pillowcase Project, a youth-based program that helps kids get out of the house in a hurry during an emergency. Through the Speaker’s Bureau, Anne teaches people how to give presentations on preparedness for organizations. She’s also working to expand preparedness programs into Spanish-speaking communities. One of her favorite events to work is the annual Real Heroes Celebration in Bellingham. This Red Cross fundraising event allows people in the community to nominate someone who’s done something extraordinary in the course of their daily lives, like a Birch Bay woman who performed CPR on a man who collapsed next to her in the supermarket. Anne says of the event, “I always walk away from it with that warm, fuzzy, goosebump feeling that there are people in the world who do really awesome things. This is how we see our classes and trainings and programs being put into action within the community.” Anne’s message for other volunteers is simple: “The Red Cross will take as much or as little as you’re willing to give. It might not seem like a lot to the volunteer, but it’s huge and so appreciated by other volunteers and staff.” Story by Tiffany Koenig

Broadening the Red Cross Blogosphere

Cody teaches local law students about the Restoring Family Links program.

Cody teaches local law students about the Restoring Family Links program.

Sarah presents the Red Cross' seven fundamental principles.

Sarah presents the Red Cross’ seven fundamental principles.

Check out these excellent posts written by Western Washington Red Crossers!

Cody Austin, International Services Coordinator and AmeriCorps, wrote about Contributing to Social Justice through our Restoring Family Links program.  Cody writes of his experiences helping Iraqi clients, “As a member of an organization committed to protecting humanitarian values and social justice, I consider it a great privilege to help Iraqi refugees obtain their due and restore their human dignity.” His compassion certainly exemplifies what it means to be a Red Crosser.

Sarah Rothman, International Services and Language Bank Manager, wrote about Clara Barton in honor of International Women’s Day.  She writes, “Throughout her entire life, Clara was a fearless leader in the humanitarian movement as well as the movement towards equality for women.” Sarah’s insight reminds us of the importance of our past and how it has affected our work today.

Both posts appear on the national Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links blog. The blog is dedicated to documenting the successes of the international program to reconnect family members separated by armed conflict and natural disaster.

Cody and Sarah’s posts serve as great reminders of the hard work Red Crossers do locally and all over the world to reconnect families and alleviate human suffering. Thank you for all you do!

Recruiting AmeriCorps Members for 2014-2015 service year

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2013 – 2014 AmeriCorps Team

Are you looking for an opportunity to make a real difference in the community? Do you want to gain new skills and experiences? Are you passionate about empowering people to prepare for and recover from disasters and emergencies?

The American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters is seeking 20 enthusiastic individuals to serve as full-time AmeriCorps Team members from September 1, 2014 through July 15, 2015 in the following positions:

Client Services Coordinator (4 positions-Bremerton/Olympia/Seattle/Tacoma)  The Client Services Coordinator position will be trained to assist disaster clients following Client Assistance guidelines and procedures and will also be responsible for supporting daily client casework activities. This position will coordinate with the Disaster Cycle Specialist to support other chapter client caseworkers. This position will also be required to attend related community partner meetings in support of chapter disaster response.

Community Preparedness Educator (3 positions-Bremerton/Seattle/Tacoma) The Community Preparedness Educator serves preparedness functions within the Disaster Cycle at the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. This position is primarily responsible for supporting our Safe in the Sound initiative by providing disaster education to traditionally underserved populations, community based organizations and neighborhood groups. This position engages in marketing and community outreach to enhance the impact of our programs and to help build collaborative partnerships.  Additionally, the member serves as the volunteer coordinator/trainer to support the preparedness volunteer team.

Disaster Cycle Training Coordinator and Volunteer Retention & Support (1 position-Olympia,) This position provides the pathway for new Disaster Volunteers to navigate through the Disaster Program initial intake and training process – the member will contact the volunteer, and answer any questions they may have regarding Group & Activity assignments, training, meetings, and simply what’s next. This position will also be required to attend related community partner meetings in support of chapter disaster response. Additionally this position will be responsible for preparing materials for classes, updating the training databases, coordinating with instructors and creating a training calendar based on the need for classes. This position will be assisting volunteers to help determine what training they may need and following up to ensure their success. This position will also be supporting program recruitment and retention. This position will also track and communicate volunteer needs, preferences, and assess suitable and appropriate placement.

Organizational and Neighborhood Preparedness Educator (1 position-Seattle) This position serves preparedness functions within the Disaster Cycle at the American Red Cross Western Washington Chapters. This position is primarily responsible for supporting our Safe in the Sound initiative by providing disaster education to organizations and neighborhood groups. This position engages in marketing and community outreach to enhance the impact of our programs and to help build collaborative partnerships. Additionally, the member serves as the volunteer coordinator to support the preparedness volunteer team.

Service to Armed Forces (SAF) Support (1 position-Tacoma) The Service to Armed Forces Department of the American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter provides compassionate assistance, referral service, and resource information to individuals and families of the Military 24/7. The member will facilitate outreach presentations, deployment briefings, and information fairs scheduled for active duty military members, their dependents, as well as their extended family members. The member will spend the majority of their service on outreach presentations, deployment briefings, and information fairs scheduled for active duty military members, their dependents, as well as their extended family members.

Volunteer Programs and Group Coordinator (2 positions-Seattle/Tacoma) The team member is primarily responsible for the coordination of the First Aid Station Team program.  The member’s duties will involve outreach to community events and coordination of applications and event schedule.  The member will coordinate and grow the existing opportunities for volunteer groups and short term opportunities and projects. This position will also be responsible for the annual Volunteer Recognition Week and the MLK Day of Service Project.

Volunteer Recruitment & Intake Coordinator (2 positions-Seattle/Tacoma) The member will be responsible for guiding volunteers through the intake process, processing inquires and applications, coordinating transfers, conducting interviews, and leading information sessions. The member will serve closely with the intake team to ensure we are delivering quality service to all new and continuing volunteers.  The member will also attend events and activities to help with volunteer recruitment efforts.

Volunteer Systems Specialist (1 position-Seattle) The team member is primarily responsible for overall coordination of the Red Cross’ Volunteer Management System, Volunteer Connection.  Volunteer Connection is a single organization-wide system which allows volunteer managers to track their volunteer’s training, activity, hours, and more.  The member will primarily serve as technical support for this system providing guidance and advice on integrating and utilizing the system.  The member will also be responsible for managing continued cleanup of the volunteer database.  The position will also serve to provide regional training support.

Youth Program Specialist (2 positions-Seattle) The AmeriCorps team member will support the continuing growth of the Red Cross youth program that empowers young people by enlightening them in ways to serve their community. The Youth Program is primarily responsible for marketing and teaching disaster preparedness and health/safety classes to youth in the community and to traditionally underserved populations.

BENEFITS:

  • Invaluable experience from a nationally and internationally-respected organization for school, a future job or new career
  • Extensive training
  • $5,550 AmeriCorps Education Award (upon successful completion of service term commitment and 1700 hours of service)
  • $1,155/month living stipend (before taxes)
  • Basic Health Insurance (member only and only if no other health insurance)
  • Subsidized childcare (if qualified)
  • Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)

REQUIREMENTS: 

  • Commit to serve full-time for 10 1/2 months (September 1, 2014 – July 15, 2015)
  • Successfully serve in the position, serve 40 hours a week and meet the 1700 minimum requirement for a full term of service
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Must be 17 years of age at the start date of service
  • Have a valid Driver’s License & clean driving record
  • Pass required criminal background checks

Members should also be comfortable working with a wide variety of people from all walks of life and backgrounds, and respect the Red Cross principles of neutrality and impartiality.

TO APPLY:

To apply online, click on https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/publicRequestSearch.do.

  1. Enter Project Type – AmeriCorps State/National
  2. Enter State – Washington
  3. Enter Program Name – Red Cross and click on the red x search button.
  4. Click on interested position(s)

Please also submit a resume and cover letter highlighting strengths & skills for each position to Nancy Watchie, AmeriCorps Team Coordinator at nancy.watchie@redcross.org.

PLEASE NOTE:  AmeriCorps team position offers are contingent upon AmeriCorps funding notification, to be announced by June 30, 2014. 

Why I help: Norm and Joyce Bottenberg

by volunteer journalist Deborah Griffith MacSwain

 It was love at first sight.  It was a Valentine’s Day weekend a few years ago, and Norm and Joyce Bottenberg had just gotten engaged.  They first met in 1983 at an American Red Cross Operational Management Training in Virginia. The Red Cross brought them together, and their activism with the organization cemented their lives.

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When Joyce thinks about that special weekend meeting with Norm, she fondly recollects that after the Red Cross training was over, they “exchanged mail a few times, then Norm came to Boston for a weekend [visit] in 1985.”  When he got off the plane, Joyce was waiting for him with a Valentine’s Day card and a book about Seattle (Norm’s city).  Norm recalled that when he got off the plane, he had a Valentine’s card and a book about Boston (Joyce’s city).

Imagine their surprise and delight when they found out they had picked the same Valentine’s card to give to each other!  Norm exclaimed, “It was a match made in heaven.”  Soon afterwards, they were married.  The Bottenberg’s strong marriage was matched by their dedication to the Red Cross.

Norm Bottenberg received a Certificate of Merit award, when he and a Red Crosser ran several blocks to give CPR to a collapsed person in distress.  The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given for using Red Cross training to help save a person’s life.  It is signed by the President of the United States.

At the time he received the award, Norm was manning a Red Cross First Aid station at an American Legion parade in Seattle.  Norm stated, “I like to get involved.  If the Red Cross needs someone and I have the skills, I will do it.”   His attitude reflects his actions.  For example, when Norm was 18 years old, he organized kids to take free Red Cross swim classes at a neighbor’s pool.  And later, he has taught and managed numerous Red Cross Health and Safety programs.

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Like must attract like, because his wife, Joyce Harvey Bottenberg, also received a Certificate of Merit.  In 1981, she performed life-saving CPR on a neighbor.  But much earlier than that, she had discovered that helping people was in her blood.  Her first acquaintance with the American Red Cross was when she was just three years old.  She said, “I remember walking with my dad to the Melrose Massachusetts Chapter, so he could sign First Aid certificates.”

Later on, Joyce worked with the Red Cross as a night caseworker, where she often took calls that required quick thinking. “I learned how to provide assistance over the phone, give referrals, and, in essence, become a trouble shooter for people in need,” she said.

Over the years, both Bottenbergs have served in volunteer and paid positions with the American Red Cross organization.  Both have received their 55-year pins.  They remarked that they continue to volunteer for the Seattle Red Cross chapter because … “we want to make a difference!”