Welcome Americorps Member: Caitlin Schenck

By Caitlin Schenck, Americorps Member 

My name is Caitlin Schenck Caitlin Schenckand I am a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay where I completed two bachelor’s degrees in three years’ time.  I received a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning, a B.A. in Political Science and my minor was Public Administration.  As the mother of a toddler, I was unable to become as involved as I would have liked to be during years at UWGB, I was able to gain some amazing work and volunteer experiences when my schedule allowed me to do so.  The last nine months of my college career I interned with the blood services department of the American Red Cross.  When the opportunity presented itself to me, I was really excited because the Red Cross is an organization I have held near and dear to my heart for years.

Originally, I come from a small town near Wisconsin Dells, Reedsburg.  I graduated high school in 2006 and moved to Madison almost immediately after.  In 2008, what has been referred to as the 2008 Midwest Flood happened where several states including my hometown had a flood that almost bankrupted the town’s economy.  Many of my close friends lost their homes and were forced to rebuild.  The Red Cross was the first organization in town after the first responders.  All of the roads were closed for a few weeks and so much traffic was rerouted I couldn’t make it back right away to help, and to this day, I am so thankful those volunteers in the community were there to help all of my loved ones when I couldn’t.  So when I was given the opportunity to become a part of the Red Cross team here in Green Bay, and given opportunities to volunteer as well, I jumped on board and I can happily say they’ve gained a lifer out of me.

In my time as an intern, I enjoyed the work I was doing, helping out at blood drives, but the chapter end of the Red Cross and disaster services was something I was much more interested in.  Then, I got a tip from a friend that there was a part time AmeriCorps position open in Green Bay working in Disaster Preparedness.  I applied, interviewed, and have become a member with AmeriCorps.  Once again, I have the opportunity to work with the Red Cross in Disaster Preparedness and I could not be more excited for this amazing experience!  Now, I will be reaching out to community members and performing preparedness presentations, recruiting new volunteers, and assisting in the Red Cross’ Pillowcase Project which is geared toward 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.  I just cannot express how excited I am to watch this next year unfold and to be able to be a part of the Red Cross family once again, gain new experiences, spread the word of the importance of preparedness and hopefully make an impact in the process.

Let’s give a warm welcome to Michelle Lippart!

DSC03950We are delighted Michelle Lippart has joined our team as a Major Gifts Officer! She will have her hands full as we are responding to disasters multiple times a week, supporting our military members stateside and abroad, training thousands and saving hundreds of lives with the gift of life!

Making friends in Jamaica

Making friends in Jamaica.

Ah, but she isn’t afraid of a challenge or to getting her hands dirty! Twice this past year, she traveled to remote areas of Jamaica and Panama to build water systems and even roads. Her passion for the volunteering brought her professional skills to us. As she says, “the non-profit world is close to my heart. So ‘why not’ make it my work too.”

While recently employed at Ripon College she raised $4 million dollars! She will focus on the greater Fox Valley philanthropic efforts and co-lead the Major Gifts Committee with Pat Exarhos. Her goals for the year include building relationships, generating partnerships and raising funds to support local initiatives and national disasters.

Michelle graduated from UW-Oshkosh and earned a master’s degree at Marian University. While she grew-up in Markesan she now resides in Neenah.

Building a dam in Panama

Michelle working hard at building a dam in Panama. How cool is that?!

Colorado Floods – One Year Later!

By Jody Weyers, Volunteer and Communications Director

It is hard to believe one year ago today, I was boarding a plane for Denver, CO to help tell the story of so many that were impacted by the devastating floods. Here’s a look back at the many faces who touched my life and the stories I wrote about during my deployment experience.

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at the YMCA, Boulder, Colorado. Esther Peter, of Boulder, Colorado, shares her heroic story with Dr. Kathy Palakow, Psy.D., LPC, Red Cross Mental Health Worker of Boulder, CO. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

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Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Monday, September 16, 2013. Red Cross shelter at Niwot High School, Niwot, Colorado. Donna Hitz, 81, of Lyons, Colorado, shares with Red Cross worker Jody Weyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, her experience of being airlifted by a helicopter from her property to safety. Her neighbors knocked on her door to alert her to the evacuation and the next thing she knew, a helicopter was landing in her pasture. Photo by Hector Emanuel/American Red Cross

Deployment – Day 1 

Colorado Floods – Telling our Story: Part 1

 

Click HERE to the American Red Cross one year update report.

Never Forget

We all remember where we were on this day 13 years ago. It is a day that will live in our hearts and minds forever. Thoughts of comfort and support go out to the many families that lost loved ones on this tragic day.

To look back, and to never forget, here is a story from Carl Ducharme, of Green Bay, who was deployed to Ground Zero as an American Red Cross volunteer. We thank Carl, and all the volunteers who gave of their heart and soul to help those in need.

September 11 1

The American Red Cross Releases the Blood App

You Hold the Power to Save Lives

Blood Donor App_Infographic_Top5Features

The American Red Cross is happy to introduce a first-of-its kind Blood Donor App that puts the power to save lives in the palm of your hand. Through the app, users can schedule appointments, track total donations, earn rewards and invite others to join them on a lifesaving team. The Blood Donor App is a great new way to help meet the constant need for blood.

The app has many exciting features including:

  • Find local blood drives and donation centers quickly and easily;
  • Convenient, easy appointment scheduling and rescheduling;
  • Receive appointment reminders;
  • Keep track of total blood donations;
  • Receive special blood shortage alert messages;
  • Claim rewards from participating retailers for donating blood or platelets;
  • Join or create a lifesaving team, recruit other blood donors and view rankings on the Blood Donor Teams Leaderboard;
  • Rate the blood donation experience;
  • Follow the user’s blood donation journey from donation through delivery, when available.

This new and exciting app is free and available for download on iPhone® and Android™ devices.

September is National Preparedness Month

1174629_10151849763080071_1492313273_nSeptember is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross urges families to develop an emergency plan to be ready for the next emergency or disaster.

Things can happen very quickly and sometimes there are only minutes to react. Planning ahead can help keep households safe. Having an emergency plan helps families be prepared for an emergency or large-scale disaster. You can visit the Preparedness section of redcross.org to learn what steps your family can take when emergencies strike.

RED CROSS APPS Several free Red Cross mobile apps offer help creating emergency plans. Use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create an emergency plan and then share it with loved ones. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for ‘American Red Cross’. A Family Disaster Plan Template is also available for download to help make or update the plan.

HOME FIRES The most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home. National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.

You should also install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.

READY RATING Businesses and schools face a number of emergencies that could disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness such as the flu. The program features a website,readyrating.org, that enables businesses and organizations to measure how ready they are to deal with emergencies – and then gives instant customized feedback on how to improve. A free, self-paced membership program, Ready Rating begins with a comprehensive assessment of whether a business or organization is prepared to handle a disaster. Members score themselves on how prepared they are and receive steps they can take to improve their readiness planning. The assessment covers items from hazard vulnerability to continuity of operations and employee readiness.

 

Don’t wait! Take action this month to prepare you, your family, community and workplace!

Back to School Reminder to Secure Your Devices and Protect Personal Information

It’s that time of year again – school is back in session and many children will take with them personal devices such as smart phones, laptops and tablets. These devices have become indispensable tools in education and communication but they also contain some risk if not used properly and securely. 1408547565377

Since these devices commonly have personal information on them, it is important to follow good safety practices to protect these devices. Please review these tips and share them with your family to promote the secure use of personal devices.

Back To School Tips for Device Owners:
  • Use password protection on all personal devices such as iPads, iPods, tablets, laptops, and smart phones.
  • Never leave your personal device unattended, especially in public areas.
  • Do not share passwords with friends that could give them access to your personal information and social network accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook).
  • Avoid saving or sending unflattering or personal pictures of yourself or someone else on your personal devices. Once on the internet, these will live on indefinitely.
  • If using someone else’s computer or personal device make sure you log off of all of your social networking accounts when finished and always respect their privacy as well.
  • Familiarize yourself with and enable applications for locating lost or stolen devices, like Apple Find My iPhone and Google Device Manager. If your personal device is stolen, report it to your local police department. Other apps, like LoJack and GadgetTrak, are also available on the third party market to assist with device location.
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