Now that I’ve gotten a chance to share my excitement regarding the Peace Corps opportunity, I wanted to also share some of the work I’ve been doing to prepare myself for that overseas experience.
As many of you know, both Alex (www.virtualwayfarer.com) and I travel at every opportunity. Alex Recently returned from a spectacular trip through South America, and Although I’ve been lax on traveling lately, we share an intense passion for travel and intercultural experience.
With our traveling background I feel prepared and ready to take on the challenge of traveling and living overseas for 2 or more years. In addition I feel like this will be the easiest part of the transition to my chosen career path.
Instead the difficulties I foresee are invested in the technical skills required to function in a NPO Charity organization with world wide ties. Recognizing this challenge, last November (the 4th), I began volunteering for the American Red Cross.
My introduction to the ARC was quick and painless, the first week I trained on the Fire Line to:
• Receive calls from clients, and internal or external emergency responders.
• Determine needs for disaster responses and dispatch appropriate teams.
• Alert other on-call personnel as needed for response (example: Disaster Public Information Officer).
• Provide referrals for callers seeking assistance not provided by the Red Cross.
• Enter needed documentation into appropriate computer databases
Then I began work training for a DAT team – Disaster Action Team:
Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers go on-call and respond to disasters within their community. The most common disaster these members respond to are residential fires, but volunteers also respond to tornadoes, floods, and other local disasters. Volunteers assist the victims by providing support and immediate needs like shelter, food, and clothing. Training is provided free of charge to interested volunteers.
I am still in training for DAT but will join one until my prospective deployment.
As my familiarity with the ARC’s protocol and needs in Arizona increased, I began to branch out and develop a firmer understanding of my goals and projects. I tapped my work at ASU in logistics, planning, and administration, and in January began to organize and develop a cohesive renovation plan for the chapter’s logistics resources.
This project has represented the most interesting challenge so far. I’ve begun categorizing, locating, and inventorying the ARC resources across the state of Arizona. As of February, another volunteer joined me, and together we have created a road map, as it were, of how logistics will be developed for our 900+ person organization.
To give you, the reader, and idea of the difficulty this project represents, imagine an organization with high volunteer turnover, and then add in information that is 2-6 years out dated on facilities, inventory, and planning. Add to that the rapid transition of those people trying to solve this logistics issue over the last 6 years, and the fractured projects and attempts to institute policies to control inventory and resources, and you have yourself quite a project, in just locating, sorting and consolidating the information required to continue.
The two of us are now assembling a clear, simple, organized plan that is easy to follow which will be instituted across the chapter and will provide a lasting effect and routine for the chapter to follow long after we two have parted ways. It is a fantastic project, based on the desire to better the ARC development here in Arizona, without a need for award or recognition.
Needless to say, I am enjoying myself thoroughly.