Helping people is a team sport

Photo of attendees at the boot camp

The American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter office in San Jose was the site of a well-attended training “boot camp” on January 20 that introduced local members of Rotary International and other attendees to the many volunteer opportunities available through the American Red Cross. (Photo: Sasha Boyko)

For more photos of the day-long event, please go to this Flickr album.

Two of the world’s leading service organizations — the American Red Cross and Rotary International — joined forces on Sunday, January 20, for an all-day “Red Cross Training Boot Camp.” The session, held at the Silicon Valley Chapter in San Jose, was designed to provide Rotarians and other attendees with “Shelter Fundamentals” training and to expose them to the many Red Cross volunteer opportunities.

The day kicked of with a welcome from Ken Toren, the Executive Director for the Silicon Valley Chapter. “This is an opportunity for two powerhouse humanitarian organizations to get together,” he said. “Rotarians are always looking for new ways to serve the community, and the Red Cross always needs volunteers. The ‘Boot Camp’ is a way for both organizations to learn more about each other.”

Toren was followed by Ramesh Hariharan, Govenor-Elect of Rotary District 5170, who provided an overview and introduction to Rotary in general and the District in particular. Hariharan noted that Rotary International has more than 1.2 million members in more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries.

Photo of Red Cross people illustrating hands-only CPR

During one of the day’s sessions, Peg Geringer and Stuart Chessen of the American Red Cross demonstrated hands-only CPR. (Photo: Sasha Boyko)

Rotary District 5170 itself is comprised of 54 clubs and 4,000 members. Rotary offers a focus on community service with flexible membership options.

Rotarians were provided a wealth of information from Red Cross speakers. Jonathan Bernier, Volunteer Manager, described the Red Cross lines of service. Terry Unter, Silicon Valley Chapter Board Chair, offered insights into the organization’s Sound the Alarm Program and into the roles and mission of its Disaster Action Teams. Liz Dietz detailed Red Cross support to the military via its Service to Armed Forces line and described some of her personal experience as Disaster Health Care Manager for the Camp Fire recovery effort. Peg Geringer led a lively session on hands-only CPR with Rotarians actively practicing the techniques.

In addition to receiving the training program on “Shelter Fundamentals,” Rotarians were treated to a tour of Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) and to briefings on the Red Cross involvement in the Missing Maps Project and on the importance of our Blood Drives.

This was a great first step toward aligning two service-focused organizations with complementary resources for the betterment of the community.