Calling All Babysitters!

August 4, 2015

Posted on by Erin Ferris

My first American Red Cross experience came at 11 years old when I enrolled in a Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course. Eager to earn a little extra spending money, I had plans to start caring for children in my neighborhood and knew I needed to prepare myself for whatever my charges might literally and figuratively throw at me.

The decision to become a babysitter ended up a great one, as it led to years of gainful summer and weekend employment and began me on my journey to a life-long partnership with the Red Cross.

25 years later, the Red Cross continues to offer babysitting courses to students ages 11 and older. The courses, available mainly online, provide participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly care for infants and children and to manage their own babysitting businesses.

The Babysitting Basics online course takes approximately 4 hours to complete and includes videos, interactive games, and downloadable resources covering basic caregiving skills (holding, carrying, diapering, feeding, bathing, etc.), what to do in emergency situations, how to play with children, how to interact with parents, and how to build a babysitting business. The course is designed for children between the ages of 11-15.

For those 16 and up, the Red Cross offers the online-only Advanced Child Care Training. This training features the latest in learning techniques – simulation learning – for an engaging format that students of this generation prefer.

My almost 9-year-old son, while still a little young for babysitting, loves to look out for his younger sister, cousins, and friends. I plan to enroll him in an online Red Cross babysitting course in a couple of years, knowing that along with learning how to care for younger children, he’ll learn how to deal with emergencies, the basics of building a business, and how to work with adults in a professional manner. Sounds like a pretty good introduction to real life responsibility!

Whether your future babysitter wants the Babysitting Basics course or the Advanced Child Care Training course for older, it is guaranteed to be a fun and educational course.

– See more at:

Story Telling Tuesdays

August 4, 2015

MEET THOMAS HASKELL, An American Red Cross Volunteer:

Mr. Thomas Haskell was a vital part of our Life Safety and Asset Protection Team. This Branch of the Disaster Relief Volunteers had the responsibility of check in points, supply management, and daily location visits. From making sure he had constant interaction with local law enforcement and emergency teams, to assuring citizens were evacuated to shelters, Thomas and his colleagues made protecting the safety of clients and staff their number one priority. Listen as Thomas gives us his testimonial to his services:


“Life Changing” Work in Nepal

July 25, 2015

Posted on July 23rd, 2015 by Niki McMillan

by Anne Reynolds                                                                                                                                                                                Anne was deployed as part of a joint American Red Cross/Danish Emergency Relief Unit to help support distribution of cash and relief items following the earthquake in Nepal.

Nepal has always been a place that I wanted to visit, but until now I had never made the trip. Like most Red Crossers, when I saw the devastation following the earthquakes, I felt the strong desire to help. Thankfully, I have the great privilege to make that desire reality as an American Red Cross International Disaster Services Roster Member.

I deployed to Nepal on June 21, and after a few days in Kathmandu, I headed out to the Makwanpur District. Makwanpur is located just 1.5 hours from the border with India, and encompasses very diverse topography. The area ranges in altitude from just over 500 feet above sea level to over 8,000 feet above sea level. There are a number of rivers running through the district and the roads in and around the area can be quite treacherous. Inevitably there is always a section of the winding, narrow, switch-back road that has experienced at least a small landslide. The blind curves cause the drivers to honk constantly, and we are always on alert. No Sunday driving here!

The district headquarters, Hetauda, is a small but bustling city, and I have been working primarily from the Nepal Red Cross Chapter headquarters here. The local Red Cross staff is simply amazing! Our goal is to reach 2,000 households with full NFRI kits, cash and hygiene kits. In the 15 days I have been here, we have managed to meet with the local government officials for all the areas where distributions will occur, coordinate and agree on beneficiary lists, conduct a 10 percent audit to ensure we are reaching the most impacted areas, secure distribution sites, conduct distribution training for 25 local staff, and successfully complete two distributions in which 380 beneficiaries were served. Beneficiaries have been so happy to receive items, and we have experienced no negative responses. The staff is proud of their accomplishments, and they are feeling confident about their ability to establish distribution sites and conduct distributions. This week, we are moving to a municipality known as Thaha, and will provide items and cash to over 1,500 more households. The local staff has really got the system down, and we are confident we can reach over 300 beneficiaries per day.

My experience in Makwanpur has been truly exceptional. I have been fully embraced by my Nepal Red Cross family, and they have shown me nothing but kindness, generosity and appreciation since the day I arrived. I had always heard about the kindness of the Nepali people, and I can now say firsthand it is so very true. I feel like I have really been “living” here in Nepal, not just visiting. The work has been hard, the days tiring, but I have enjoyed great friendship, and Nepalese food, daily. I have replaced my daily coffee routine with my new favorite – milk tea! It is a special blend made here in town, and my friends here ask me all day long if I want more. I must admit, I say yes probably too often.

Words cannot accurately describe the special place Nepal and my new family in Makwanpur will forever hold in my heart. This has not been just a mission for me, but rather a life-changing experience for which I will be eternally grateful.

– See more at:

What To Do When a Severe Thunderstorm is Headed Your Way

July 14, 2015

Image result for red cross summer storm safety tips

A server thunderstorm warning has been issued for the Western Carolina Region. Don’t get caught in a summer storm without being prepared! The American Red Cross wants you to #stayinformeduringthestorm here are a few simple tips on how!

  • Listen to local weather forecasts to stay aware of the weather and put together an emergency preparedness kit
  • Learn about your community’s emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms
  • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors
  • Keep your trees and shrubbery trimmed, and remove damaged branches
  • Watch for signs that a storm is near such as darkening of skies, flashes of lightning, and increased winds
  • Postpone any outdoor activities
  • Do not take a bath or a shower or use plumbing
  • Protect your pets by ensuring that any outside buildings that they are housed in are protected in the same way as your home


  • Prepare to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash warning is issued
  • If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving waters can sweep you off your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road, and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children away from water

*If you can hear thunder you are close enough to be in danger of being struck by lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes and hurricanes. Many people struck by lightning are not in a location where it is raining.

Summer Heat Safety Tips

July 8, 2015

Heat Safety

“High temperatures, humidity, and hot indoor environments can quickly cause heat related emergencies! Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.”

In honor of Heat Safety Week the American Red Cross has some simple steps to help beat the heat:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Slow down, take frequent breaks and drink more water than usual–even if you’re not thirsty!
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If working outdoors, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household.
  • If you do not have air conditioning choose places you could go for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls)
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

Top 4th of July Safety Tips for Travel, Grilling, and Fireworks

July 1, 2015

Image result for red cross fireworks

This Fourth of July, many people will be traveling, firing up the backyard grill, or enjoying fireworks, and the American Red Cross offers a series of steps everyone can follow to safely enjoy the holiday weekend. Millions of people will be on the highways over the fourth of July weekend. The Red Cross offers 5 tips to stay safe while traveling

  1. Buckle seat belts, observe speed limitsImage result for red cross cars
  2. Do not drink and drive
  3. Pay full attention to the road–Avoid cell phone usage
  4. Use caution in work zones
  5. Clean the vehicles lights and windows to help the driver see, especially at night

The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. Here are 5 safety tips for people setting of fireworks at home

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a “dud”
  5. Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures, or flammables Image result for red cross fireworks


Every year people are injured while using charcoal or gas grills. In order to remain safe while cooking up treats for the backyard barbecue always supervise a grill when in use, never grill indoors or any enclosed area, ensure that everyone, including pets stay away from the grill, keep the grill out in the open away from anything that could catch fire, and use long-handled tools made especially for grilling to keep the chef safe.


“Everyone looks forward to having fun over the fourth of July, and the Red Cross wants to make sure people know how to stay safe while enjoying the holiday”

– Jennifer Franklin, Regional Communications Officer, Western North Carolina Region

Our Objective in all of our Humanitarian Work is to Alleviate Suffering of Those in Need

June 8, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of the American public, almost five and a half years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the          m7640078_HaitiChildrenAmerican Red Cross continues to make a difference in the lives of millions of Haitians who desperately needed help and humanitarian assistance.

With the fund, the American Red Cross has helped build and operate eight hospitals and clinics, stem a deadly cholera outbreak, provide clean water and sanitation, and move more than 100,000 people out of make-shift tents into safe and improved housing. When land was not available for new homes, the Red Cross provided a range of housing solutions including rental subsidies, repairs and retrofitting of existing structures, fulfilling our promise to ensure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. We also built and repaired schools, roadways and water distribution points vital to neighborhoods.

Despite the most challenging conditions, including changes in government, lack of land for housing, and civil unrest, our hardworking staff—90 percent of whom are Haitians—continue to work to meet the long-term needs of the Haitian people. While the pace of progress is never as fast as we would like, Haiti is better off today than it was five years ago.

The Red Cross is disappointed to see our work has been misrepresented in some media so please learn the facts about our recovery program in Haiti and to hear from those we have helped and continue to help, please visit We have also published 13 Facts about the Red Cross Response in Haiti which directly addresses the numerous inaccuracies in recent  media reports.

While the Red Cross has fulfilled our promise to make sure tens of thousands of Haitians are back in homes. There is still much         to do.

For 134 years, the American Red Cross has been there to help people in need; and we will still be there for the next disaster or emergency to help people here in the communities we serve and in other areas around the world.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Red Cross of the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina and the American Red Cross.


Angela A. Broome

Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region



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