My name is Tom Shaughnessy and I became a volunteer with the Red Cross in Alicante last November, as I have always wanted to help out people who are less fortunate than myself.
I wanted to join and work for a group which was working to help refugees fleeing from countries, such as Syria after watching a documentary on Salvados about Open Arms, a group of volunteers who raised funds in order to help rescue efforts in the Mediterranean, as they felt that not enough was being done by Europe to take action against their plight. The moment the main volunteer said that when the crew are checking a boat of up to fifty people, the first people to check are those who remain silent, was impacting.
For my first task, I joined Pedro at a local assembly in Torrevieja, where we presented a slide show about the Panic Button system to an audience of about two hundred pensioners from England. First of all, this was my first time speaking in front of such a large audience but I enjoyed being thrown in at the deep-end! And secondly, this experience gave me a feel-good factor after speaking with some of the group and realising how much our presence meant to them.
Since then, I have started an intensive Spanish course, which has meant that even though I have less time to physically go to the Red Cross office, I continue to volunteer online by translating documents from Spanish to English. The flexible nature of volunteering means that I work on these documents when I have the time, ask for more work when I’m available, and, the work gives me a chance to do something completely different, in general.
There are many ways you can help the Red Cross as a volunteer, and don’t worry, you will not be asked to do anything you don’t want to do. For more information please call Pedro on 678 501 586 or visit the Red Cross stand at the Health, Beauty and Lifestyle show. See pages 28 and 29 for more information.