Along with doctors and nurses, the American Red Cross volunteers are closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and preparing to carry out lifesaving missions in the event of any possible disruptions, as well as supporting public health agencies to help communities prepare. Shiroi Mana had the honor of speaking to Ana.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Ana and I am a volunteer for the Red Cross in a small town in Spain. My role as a volunteer is to help inmigrant kids with their homework and help them improve their Spanish, but the local Red Cross does all sorts of charity work such as feeding the needy, helping inmigrants and the homeless find a job or psychological counseling for individuals in dysfunctional relationships.
What inspired you to become a volunteer?
Well, to be honest, I had a rough childhood myself: I grew up in a household where the parents had a dysfunctional relationship and plenty of emotional problems of their own, which ended up reflecting on the kids as we grew up. This experience made me grow into a deeply emotional person that can’t deal with human suffering or misery. I believe it is my duty to do as much good as I possibly can so other people don’t have to suffer.
What do you consider as your biggest accomplishment as a volunteer?
When the kids I tutor suddenly have a clarity moment that helps them understand a topic they were struggling with. Hearing them gasp and go ‘Ah, I think I understand now !’ might be one of the most rewarding moments of your work as a volunteer !
Do you have advice for readers who want to get started in your field?
Prepare yourself emotionally for the sad moments this field of work will eventually bring. When your superiors tell you ‘Under no circumstances let this child leave with their father’ or that a particular kid had to be sent back to their country because their parents don’t have any money to care for them on the daily… you are going to have to be emotionally strong.
How would you define a “real hero?
To me, a hero is anyone that can atune to the ‘dark side’ of this world and take action to change it. If you know there’s suffering out there but you are doing whatever you can to help, you are a hero too: I don’t care if it is feeding the stray cat across the street or babysitting your neighbors’ kid because she is a single mother and can’t pay for a babysitter.
To support Ana’s mission, please donate: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/
Written By ShiroiMana