A volunteer’s story: Home fires and my Red Cross

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Guest post by Maya Mokrzan, intern for The American Red Cross-Michigan Region

Like our volunteers on a mission, the American Red Cross entered my life at a time I needed it most. While finishing my junior year of college at Western Michigan University, I was in search for an internship that would apply the knowledge I gained over the past three years, and add real life experience to my college experience.

After a family friend sent out my resume to her friends and past coworkers in the Detroit area, I received my position with the Red Cross.  My first task, was to assist in planning a “Thank You” celebration for our volunteers who worked on the Home Fire Campaign, including a group from DTE Energy who had partnered with us to do installations in Detroit communities.

Meeting these folks was wonderful and I was able to get insight into what our volunteers do on a regular basis just because they wanted to and wanted to help the Red Cross. Our volunteers are one of the many reasons I loved my time working in the office and enjoyed the countless stories our volunteers had to share. In this internship position, I felt like part of the team. Attending board meetings, inputting my ideas and implementing them, and brainstorming on ideas on how we can better spread our mission across the state of Michigan.

My work for the Home Fire Campaign did not stop after the appreciation event. My favorite task, and a big pride moment for me personally, was designing a billboard that was displayed on I-75 south reminding all of those driving into our beautiful city, to be aware of home fire safety.

My experience with the Red Cross will be with me forever. Before I embarked on this now yearlong journey as an intern, I knew I believed in helping others for the common good, but the Red Cross strengthened my belief and I plan on continuing my volunteer experience with them post-graduation. It’s strange to think that an opportunity that came out of the blue, can change your life forever. But that is impact the American Red Cross not only had on me, but to the countless citizens it serves every day

What is the Home Fire Campaign? In an unprecedented, nationwide effort to combine new technology and innovation with old-fashioned neighbor-to-neighbor outreach, the Red Cross is saving lives, reducing injuries, and cutting down on needless losses, with a goal to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries in the United States by 25% within five years. To date, more than 200 lives have been saved through the Campaign, including three lives in Michigan.

Home fire safety awareness graphic