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What does being a Disaster and Welfare Support Team (DWST) volunteer involve?
Red Cross has 18 Disaster Welfare and Support Teams around New Zealand, which respond to emergencies across the country. Team members train regularly, covering everything from radio communication to ground-level rescue, so they’re prepared to help you and your family when it’s needed most. Volunteers are ready to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What inspired you to volunteer?
My father used to work for Red Cross and he inspired me to join the team and challenge myself. I started with the Dunedin team seven years ago. Since then, I've been a member of the Gore and Auckland teams. It began a big change in my life, putting me out of my comfort zone. I've been hooked ever since.
What is your favourite part about being a DWST member?
I have made lifelong friends from all over the country through the Red Cross teams. The shared experience of helping in a disaster forms incredible close bonds between teammates. I have teammates who, I am more than happy to say, I would trust with my life.
There have also been a lot of significant moments for me while volunteering with Red Cross. Being part of the Christchurch earthquake response will always be one of the greatest privileges of my life.
I've had hundreds of moments since then, far too many to count. Volunteering with Red Cross changed my life and without doubt has made me a better person.
Want to find out more?
If you’re interested in helping others, learning new skills and meeting new people, learn more about becoming a DWST member.