Thursday, September 01, 2005

How To Be A Small Ray Of Hope

So many tragedies swirl around us that it becomes incomprehensible, impossible to hold it all in the front of the mind. While the trauma and hell of Katrina's aftermath plays out down south, it's easy to forget the 953 who just died in a meaningless stampede on a bridge in Iraq; or the 1 year anniversary being marked in Russia of the cruel murders of the schoolchildren in Beslan.

If you are looking for a way to break through the sense of helplessness that so often comes with overwhelmingly bad news, the Red Cross is looking for volunteers for any numbers of positions, including those in Disaster Services. Their websites must be being hit pretty hard now, because they are slow, so be patient.

The word has come down for state employees in PA, at least: you can go, if you want. In a recently released memo it was stated:

"The Red Cross is currently offering a four hour training course in disaster relief by which participants will be certified as disaster relief volunteers for the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Red Cross is requiring a commitment from these participants to perform the disaster relief work for three weeks. Commonwealth employees who are certified by the Red Cross as a result of this training may be released if operationally feasible and may use civil leave for the disaster relief work."
I'm still chasing down further info, but by navigating the Red Cross website I put together this much, at least. Go here. Click on "Emergency & Safety" in the drop-down window on the upper left. Put in your zip code and the distance you are willing to travel (if you want to help down south, you will eventually be able to volunteer for national disasters once you have located a local agency that will train you). A list will come up, from which you can choose.

More on this as I learn more.

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