By Ashley Peterson-DeLuca, American Red Cross Volunteer
When Jonathan Goldsmith reached out to volunteer with the Red Cross, he didn’t know what role he’d fill. A lawyer who had moved to Iowa from Las Vegas with his wife, then had a son, Goldsmith knew he wanted to be part of the community.
Over the last eight months, Goldsmith has settled into his volunteer position as a Regional Volunteer Relations Team Lead. His team is like a human resources department for volunteers, staffed by volunteers. They investigate and resolve complaints confidentially, keeping volunteer morale up.
“Although I don’t do HR as my career, I found my background as a lawyer really helpful,” he says. “Part of what I do for the Red Cross is an investigation, where we have to identify and weigh evidence. There are a lot of strict rules. I didn’t know if my skills would match with anything when I applied. But when they described this role to me, I knew it was a perfect fit.”
He’s done a lot of volunteer work in the past. However, with the Red Cross, he also appreciated that he could volunteer remotely during the pandemic and scale his hours to fit his schedule.
“The Red Cross was the first and only place I looked,” he says. “They really look out for volunteers’ needs, making it easy to log hours through the web interface or even having roles like mine to support them.”
Although he’s been volunteering remotely, his team was there for him when he needed it during the derecho last summer. The 100-plus mile-per-hour winds knocked out the power at his house for days. Because they were new in town, they didn’t have their usual support network of friends and family to turn to for someplace to stay or a fridge to store their baby’s milk.
“During our team meeting, which was only a day or two after the derecho, it was really nice to see how everyone was doing and talk about our challenges,” Jonathan says. “Everyone was going through the same thing. They turned into my support system.”
Goldsmith directly experienced what the Red Cross means to people affected by disaster.
“It showed me that we at the Red Cross—volunteers and employees—are building a community,” he says. “We make sure people know there is someone there for them.”
After his experience, Jonathan encourages others to join the Red Cross.
“Put in an application and see where you fit,” he says. “There is a position for everyone.”
If you’re not sure how you can help, the Red Cross can help find the right role for you. Start the process to become a volunteer here: redcross.org/volunteer.