Goals, Objectives, and Mission
The American Red Cross was founded on values of integrity, respect for individuals, customer satisfactions, pursuit of excellence, and positive response to change and stewardship. With these important values in mind, the Red Cross’ mission is to, “provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.”[footnoteRef:1] Some other fundamental principles of the ARC are to prevent and alleviate human suffering, to do so without discrimination, and to provide relief without expecting any time of compensation. The Red Cross accomplishes this mission by working through local chapters, local Blood Service regions, division leadership teams, and its’ national headquarters located in Washington, D.C. I am an intern at the South-Central Kentucky chapter of the American Red Cross, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This office serve the communities of Allen, Barren Breckinridge, Butler, Edmonson, Grayson, Green, Hardin, Hart, Larue, Logan, Meade, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, Taylor and Warren counties. This chapter follows all of the goals, objectives, and missions of the national charter. [1: “Mission – Vision – Values.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. https://www.redcrossblood.org/info/midwest/mission-%E2%80%93-vision-%E2%80%93-values]
Activities and Services
On the national level, the American Red Cross provides a wide variety of services to aid people at home and abroad. The main programs of the ARC are disaster relief, supporting American’s military families, blood drives, health and safety services, and international services. The Red Cross responds to approximately 70,000 disasters in the U.S. every year, including house fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.[footnoteRef:2] The Red Cross provides a range of services to those affected by natural disasters, including shelter, food, water, health and mental [2: “What We Do | Emergency Management | Red Cross.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do.]
health services. The Red Cross is also dedicated to assisting military members, veterans, and their families, through various trainings, support to wounded warriors, and access to community resources. Another significant service from the Red Cross are their frequent blood drives, which supply a large amount of the country’s blood transfusions and blood products. The Red Cross is a leader in research and testing to protect the safety of the blood supply and conducts testing for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Additionally, the Red Cross provides a variety of health and safety services. The ARC conducts nationwide health and safety courses, including CPR, First Aid, and lifeguard training. They also help to facilitate training for babysitters, first responders, educators and people who want to be prepared in the event of an emergency. The Red Cross also has a prominent presence overseas, with over 13 million volunteers in 187 countries.[footnoteRef:3] The organization responds to natural disasters in foreign countries, helps to build safer communities, and delivers international aid. [3: “What We Do | Emergency Management | Red Cross.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do.]
At the South-Central Kentucky chapter, we provide a variety of services to meet the specific needs of people at the local level. The South-Central Kentucky chapter has a disaster action team (DAT), which responds to house and apartment fires. The DAT is a group of trained volunteers who respond to home fires, floods, and other disasters, who respond 24/7 to the immediate emergency needs of those affected. The South-Central Kentucky chapter alone responds to over 200 home fires each year. The organization is also a part of the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, which reaches out to the communities and encourages them to install and check smoke alarms and develop and practice a home escape plan. The chapter also conducts mobile blood drives and fixed donations at their office. In particular, the Bowling Green location serves veterans in the community by providing free food, information on financial aid, housing, and government aid. They provide CPR and First Aid courses as well. Some examples of community events that the South-Central Kentucky chapter has held the “Run for Red” fun run, last year’s 100th Birthday Celebration of the Kentucky Red Cross, the Red Cross Fun Run & Festival, and the American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training class.
In addition to numerous in-person classes, trainings, and programs, the American Red Cross offers online courses. These courses cover a wide variety of topics, including basic CPR, babysitting & childcare, swimming & water safety tips, and lifeguarding. Those who choose to take these courses can also take customized versions, such as CPR courses designed specifically for educators or health care providers. The online courses divided into several interactive modules that can be done in any order. Upon entering the program, the student is given two-year access to the course materials, so that they can take their time getting through the class and can come back to the course to refresh their skills on a subject. For the online babysitter course, you can choose from three different levels: babysitting basics, babysitter’s training, and advanced childcare.[footnoteRef:4] [4: “Babysitting Classes | Child Care Training.” Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/babysitting/babysitting-child-care-training]
Moreover, the Red Cross also has the option of completing your Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Nurse Assistant testing through combination of online coursework and in person lectures. Through lecture, DVDs, role-playing, and laboratory practice, students learn procedural skills such as vital signs, bathing, dressing and positioning. The Red Cross provides a CNA practice test for students to take before completing the actual exam. The Red Cross CNA certification program was created with input from educators, caregivers, and industry representatives from across the country, to present a high-quality course to the public. The ARC also approved to award online continuing education in the subjects mentioned, so those that have already been certified can renew their certifications upon expiration.[footnoteRef:5] [5: “Get Your Official CNA Certification.” Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cna/cna-training/cna-certification]
History of the American Red Cross
The original American Red Cross was established in Washington, D.C. in 1881 by Clara Barton, who became its first president. The first local chapter was established in 1881, at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville at Dansville, New York. Barton was inspired to begin the American Red cross after working with the International Red Cross during the Franco-Prussian War. She led the Red Cross for 23 years in conducting the organization’s first domestic and overseas disaster relief efforts, during the Spanish-American War. The organization then experience exponential growth during the First World War, in which it provided monetary donations and material to support Red Cross programs to help the American and Allied forces and civilian refugees. The Red Cross nurses also were vital help in combating the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918. During the Second World War, the Red Cross provided services once again to the U.S. military, Allies, and civilian war victims. The organization also assisted the U.S. military through the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf Wars.[footnoteRef:6] In present day, ARC has grown to include 650 chapters and 36 blood services regions. It also has approximately 500,000 Red Cross volunteers. The American Red Cross has since then expanded its scope to include civil defense services, CPR/AED training, HIV/AIDs education, and support in the wake of national disasters.[footnoteRef:7] [6: “Founder Clara Barton.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history/clara-barton.] [7: “What We Do | Emergency Management | Red Cross.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do.]
The first Kentucky chapter of the American Red Cross was founded in 1917.[footnoteRef:8] Today there are five chapters in the Kentucky region which include the Louisville, Western Kentucky, South-Central Kentucky, Bluegrass, and Eastern Kentucky chapters. According to the Executive Director of the American Red Cross South-Central Kentucky chapter, Jennifer Capps, the ARC was established in Bowling Green in July of 1917. Since its beginning, the American Red Cross has been a vital resource to Kentucky, America, and the entire world. [8: “About Us | Kentucky.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/local/kentucky/about.]
The President and Chief Executive Officer of the national American Red Cross is Gail McGovern. Other principal members of the executive team at the American Red Cross are Shaun Gilmore, chief transformation officer, and Cliff Holtz, chief operating officer. The Executive Director of the South Central Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross is Jennifer Capps. She is also my direct supervisor. Some other key officials are the officers of the Red Cross South Central Kentucky Chapter Board of Directors, the chair is Ron Kirby, the vice chair is Trent Ranburger, and the Secretary is Susan Turner. The ARC of South-Central Kentucky also has a substantial amount of board members, twenty-five, including prominent Bowling Green community members like Cyndi Crock of Crocker Law firm, and Shane Holine of WBKO-TV.[footnoteRef:9] [9: “South Central Kentucky Leadership & Board.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/local/kentucky/about/leadership-staff/south-central-kentucky.]
Relationships between American Red Cross Chapters
The American Red Cross of South-Central Kentucky maintains a strong relationship with other chapters in the Kentucky Region and with chapters in other states. For example, the Pillowcase project, which based in the Louisville chapter, is a project that the South-Central chapter collaborates with, along with the chapter from Southern Indiana. The pillowcase project is a preparedness education program for young children, which teaches them about personal and family readiness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. The Red Cross volunteers usually give 60-minute presentations in which they lead students through a “learn, practice, share” setup to educate them about disaster preparedness. Upon completion of the program, the students receive a pillowcase and are encouraged to build their own personal emergency supply kit.[footnoteRef:10] [10: “Pillowcase Project | Louisville Area Chapter.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 9, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/local/kentucky/disaster-services/pillowcase-project.]
Other examples of inter-chapter cooperation are through the Red Cross pet therapy program, the Ft. Knox Service Center, and the nursing home bingo program. The Red Cross pet therapy program is run by the Louisville area chapter of the Red Cross, but other Kentucky region chapters often send volunteers to come help there. This program is available at the Clark County service site located in Jeffersonville, Indiana and in the Ft. Knox location in Kentucky. The purpose of the pet therapy program is to provide companionship to the surrounding community by sharing dogs with residents and patients. Those who volunteer their pets for the program visit nursing homes, hospitals, wounded warrior recovery units, and other facilities. The Ft. Knox Service Center is also sponsored by the Louisville area Red Cross chapter, but boasts numerous programs that other Kentucky chapters may volunteer in. These include military casework, community programs like Helping Hands and Santa’s Workshop, medical facility roles at Ireland Army Hospital, and more. The nursing home bingo program is located in Franklin county but allows for many Kentucky chapter programs to come participate there. The volunteers provide Bingo and prizes to residents at the Golden Living Rehabilitation Center on the third Friday of each month.[footnoteRef:11] It is vital for Red Cross chapters has a great relationship with one another, to facilitate strong programs and expand their area of service. [11: “Our Opportunities | Louisville Area Chapter.” American Red Cross. Accessed March 10, 2018. http://www.redcross.org/local/kentucky/volunteer/opportunities.]
Relationships with other local organizations
The South-Central Kentucky chapter of the American Red Cross has developed a strong relationship with multiple organizations in the region. The chapter has partnered with organizations like Western Kentucky University, Americorps, local hospitals, the United Way of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The American Red Cross had collaborated with Western Kentucky University on many projects, including hosting several blood drives on their campus and a lifeguarding training course. The ARC has worked with local clinics and hospitals, like Graves Gilbert in Bowling Green, to host fun run fundraisers and other events to raise money for these facilities. The Red Cross and the United Way also have a very strong working relationship, as the United Way has bestowed the ARC with thousands of dollars in grant money. This is a great honor, as the ARC is recognized for its hard work in South-Central Kentucky and can use the money to further their life-saving programs.
The AmeriCorps and the Red Cross partner together on a national level, and several AmeriCorps fellows are placed within the local Red Cross chapter of South-Central Kentucky. The AmeriCorps is service-based national organization that engages in intensive community outreach in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups. They help the Red Cross achieve its’ mission by focusing on under-resourced communities providing crucial services that community members may not be able to afford.[footnoteRef:12] The AmeriCorps members are helping the Red Cross teach people about preparedness, including a special team who support our Service to the Armed Forces by teaching members of the military, their families and veterans about how to be ready for emergencies. They have also volunteered extensively in the Red Cross’ Pillowcase Project and Home Fire Campaign. [12: “What is AmeriCorps?” Corporation for National and Community Service. Accessed March 10, 2018. https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/join-americorps/what-americorps.]