I woke up one day in the earlier months of 2013 knowing I wanted to volunteer again. It’d been about two years that I volunteered with Read International and joined a bake sale at BCU (that was a lot of fun)!

And so I said I’d join the Red Cross, partly because I knew my mum’s been a member since forever, and also because I’d read (several times) of the various ways the Red Cross helps to make lives in difficult situations easier.

I guess the time wasn’t right then because a few things went south soon after (talk about the universe aligning to royally screw a person), and so I shelved the idea after I’d sent the first email asking for the procedures.

2014 rolled by, and with that, a deep desire to do things I’d never done before, get over as many fears I can get over (because I’m scared of a lot of things), and read very widely.

And then the urge to join the Red Cross came back, even stronger than before. I knew I’d go ahead with it this time, especially since I’d seen an accident recently and I felt hopeless because I couldn’t do anything to help.

And that’s how I picked up on the thread of emails from the year before, attended an interview with the lovely Hannah, and after a welcome session, guess who became the newest member of the British Red Cross, Kent and Gravesend area? Moi!

I must say, attending Monday meetings and training sessions have been a blessing. I’m grateful for the privilege to interact with the very lovely members of my team, for the space to ask the dumbest questions (and not feel silly or judged), and for the privilege to learn.

Here’s a video telling the story of the birth of Red Cross, pretty impressive to note that simple care/love/regard for the next man was at the heart of this massive body we have today, 160 years and still going strong!

A few bits and bobs about the Red Cross flags (and so far there are three). I took notes on our induction day

  • The flag with the cross is just the Swiss flag inverted and is the third most recognized trademark symbol in the world, next to McDonald’s and Coca Cola.
  • The Flag with the crescent is the Turkish flag inverted and was adopted because Islamic countries felt the movement was originally Christian (and it is not).
  • The flag with the star was adopted in 2005 because Israel, followers of the Star of David, refused to use either of the two already existing symbols.

With a 100 million members and currently in 189 countries (of the 208 recognized by the UN), we (yes o) are the largest humanitarian organization around today. Whoop!

From identifying and catering to various appearances of trauma and injury, to building my confidence, and the satisfaction that comes from knowing I can provide First Aid (I’d mention I’m now a certified First Aider but I’m much too modest for that), I’m grateful I yielded to the nudging to get up and sign up already!

A few photos off our training nights…

Learned how to fit neck braces safely and securely...

Learned how to fit neck braces safely and securely…

Bumped your head? Let me wrap it up for you!

Bumped your head? Let me wrap it up for you!

Sling day... Decent, safe, and secure enough to prevent further injury...

Sling day… Decent, safe, and secure enough to prevent further injury…

To be honest, there are some Monday nights I’d rather be curled up in bed, at the movies or some other fun activity (especially during the winter) but the time and money sacrificed to get to and from my meetings always leave me feeling satisfied, a little wiser than I was at the beginning of the day. Plus there’s always a hot cuppa something to take the bite off!

So, do you volunteer anywhere? Officially or unofficially? Share what it’s about in the comments section. What excites you about it?

And for the children of God reading who currently not volunteering anywhere, I’m greeting you o! Lol. I’m not judging o (God forbid) but I’d encourage you to give your time and energy to a cause you’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be the Red Cross (wherever you are obviously), but find something you’d be happy to commit to and inconvenience yourself for every now and then. Will you? Let me know when you do!

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  1. E' says:

    Chico, this post is for me.
    Been looking for where to volunteer. Thanks for an idea. Not the Reddie though but at least I have a few ideas…

    Thanks mama


  2. E' says:

    I feel like that last paragraph? Just put in my name. Lol


  3. JMAD says:

    I once volunteered with an NGO for abt 18mnts but I’m currently teaching JSS2 students in the Youth Church of my local church on sundays. Trust me it was scary the 1st sunday cos these young ppl knw plenty things ohhh. Imagine one asking me abt Tatoo during a class on giving… but I must say with each Sunday the classes become fun as I lean more on God’s strength.


    • @ Chijioke, I taught children (5-10) at church in Birmingham, learning curve of life! Tell me about kids knowing things, imagine what the ones here are like, with all the ‘liberties’ they’ve got! But it’s super rewarding, and something I’d pick up again in a heartbeat!


  4. Kalat says:

    First off, may I say your diet/lifestyle is working…looking good.

    Volunteering. Well my preferred arena is my local church, worked with the Teens Fellowship for some time in 2006-2007. The rewards were and still are priceless. Got to impact so many younger people that are coming into their own now. Some of them are in Uni, doing NYSC, working now and it always warms my heart to spend time catching up with them whenever we meet. Still try to drop in at the Fellowship now and then. Feel guilty ‘cos I know that’s where I should be spending whatever free time I have.

    Right now the only volunteering I do actively is work related ‘cos it fits into my crazy schedule. Handling some pro bono matters for people who would otherwise not have had legal representation.

    Come to think of it, one of them is a case I think you’ll be very interested in. Don’t know why I haven’t mentioned it. Will send you an email.

    The way I see it, so many people have had an impact on my life, it would be just wrong not to give back.

    Thanks for this piece. You have inspired me again today. God bless you.


  5. This is making me feel really guilty for not volunteering anywhere! Well done for giving up your time, it’s such a good thing to do!

    Hopefully I will make use of the opportunities at Uni to volunteer next year, as it would be something I could be really proud of, and it would look good on my CV!


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