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Brooklyn’s interest for Red Cross started when she was volunteering on an overseas school trip when people kept asking her group if she was from Red Cross. Unsure what they were referring to, and slightly intrigued, Brooklyn looked up the organisation upon her return to New Zealand and was quickly inspired.
“I thought it was cool that people thought we were the Red Cross so when I got back, I looked into Red Cross and I thought 'That’s pretty cool mission', so I signed up!,” says Brooklyn.
Brooklyn started out with New Zealand Red Cross as a refugee support volunteer – to her, it was important to have cultural connections and help others integrate into New Zealand. Our refugee support volunteers play an important role in helping former refugees settle in Aotearoa and pick up the Kiwi way of life. They are matched with a former refugee family and help them with daily tasks, such as enrolling at the doctor or the local school, meeting their neighbours, understanding bills, navigating their way around the city and so much more.
“I did a placement with a Burmese family. I still keep in contact with them, they were so lovely,” says Brooklyn.
Our disaster response teams are made up of highly committed, multi-skilled emergency response volunteers. They have a wide variety of professional backgrounds, providing essential support during and following a disaster.
“It’s everything I wanted to do in terms of giving back and I love it! Everyone has your back and everyone is keen for a yarn, and the people who have been on deployment tell you their stories, so you feel more prepared,” explains Brooklyn.
Her volunteering with DWST has also helped Brooklyn prepare in other areas of her life and she believes it has helped boost her confidence. In her team, everyone is always happy to answer questions and will always show how to complete a difficult task.
Being a DWST member has also helped Brooklyn become prepared for a disaster – an interest she has tried to pass on to her flatmates and family.
“There is no ‘mum’ [in a flat] so, you've got to take it on yourself and ask the questions, like ‘do we have emergency water’?'', says Brooklyn.
Brooklyn was inspired to do more volunteering, so she also started helping our Meals on Wheels service in Hamilton.
“I like that I’m giving back to a more vulnerable community than I’m currently in. It's pretty cool giving back to people who sometimes can't even leave their house, often you’re the only person they might see that day, which is heartbreaking,” shares Brooklyn.
“Many of the volunteers are elderly people themselves and they sometimes do a double-take when they see me because I am lot younger. I am often late, because I stay and chat to the people, as some of the don’t get much social interaction.”
Brooklyn is dedicated to giving back to her community and encourages others to join Red Cross to give back in order to keep New Zealand the way it is. When talking about her overall experience of being a Red Cross volunteer she says: “It's just so cool and welcoming. They train you up and back you, there's nothing you can't do if you ask, it’s such a supportive network, I would 10/10 recommend!”
We’re always looking for motivated and dedicated people like Brooklyn to join our Red Cross family to help those in need. You’ll gain awesome new skills, meet new people and be helping the community all at the same time. Check out our volunteer opportunities.