For this installment of Conversations with Red Cross Volunteers, we’d like to introduce you to Jacklyn Sullivan from Mahopac, New York. She has been serving the Hudson Valley Chapter this year with all preparedness activities and serving as a duty officer as a member of AmeriCorps.  Although, Jacklyn has been working virtually since the onset of COVID-19, she believes this experience has enriched her ability to deliver the Red Cross mission of alleviating human suffering.

“Its been a great way for me to learn more about our disaster action teams and now with everything  being virtual, I have had more involvement with the clients we assist as well, which can be challenging at times but it has been a great learning experience on how all people handle disasters they are affected by differently.”

She recently shared her experiences with Stephen Bogdan, Red Cross Content Creation Team member, and offered some inspiring advice as we continue to navigate through this difficult time for everyone.

How has your life changed with quarantine and how does it impact how you do the Red Cross mission?

“The biggest change this quarantine has had on my life is that it has taught me to be more flexible. When it comes to most things I do, I like to have it planned far out in advance and this quarantine has showed me that that is not always the case in life and being flexible and adaptable to unexpected changes is more productive than just hoping things will go back to normal. 

Being that I have only been with the Red Cross for 8 months and I was not far into my term before the quarantine started and felt like I was just starting to settle in. I wasn’t sure how working from home would impact my term and I was a little unsure if I would still have the experience I was hoping for. During this time working for home, I have had a lot of growth not only personal but with the Red Cross as well. Working from home and carrying out the Red Cross mission has made me realize even more how important personal connections are in what we do. I have been able to make strong connections with volunteers and employees I have never met and it has helped me become a more confident and trusting professional. Working remotely has helped me see the importance of clear and constant communication and I think some of the bonds I have created with volunteers might not have been created if we weren’t in this virtual environment since it is the only way we can connect. I have seen in different ways the dedication everyone in our region has for the jobs they do and being able to navigate through COVID-19 to continue to carry out the Red Cross mission and to continue to serve the communities we work in has been a very gratifying experience.”

Have you learned any new skills during Quarantine and or how do you keep busy?

“I’ve learned to do more things myself since being home like painting my room, cutting my hair (I wouldn’t say that is a skill I’ve mastered), and trying to cook new meals that I haven’t tried before. Just like working itself, this quarantine has given me the opportunity to be more creative with what I do and has opened my eyes to have more fun with what I do and not stress so much about minor inconveniences. I think all that we can do is try to make the best that we can out of this situation and to be there for the ones we care about as we all move through this together. I’m excited to continue the rest of my  AmeriCorps term with the Red Cross and continue to learn more about myself and those that I work with.”