Updated January 28, 2018
Gayle Labrana, a teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer, felt inspired to lend a hand after recent fires and an unprecedented mudslide devastated her hometown.
After her daughter was evacuated from her home during the Thomas Fire in early December, Gayle sought a way to give back to the community. She reached out to the Red Cross after watching a call for help on the local news.
“Seeing there was something I can do got me away from the TV and on my way to being part of the solution,” Gayle said during a break from a weekend-long training session in Santa Barbara.
Gayle jumped into volunteering wherever she was needed. Just days after becoming a volunteer, she helped at an evacuee shelter for three days. She then took training to become a Red Cross caseworker, an instrumental member of the recovery team, and Home Fire Campaign volunteer.
In just a few weeks, she has given over 40 hours of her time and is excited to get more involved.
“Meeting people from all aspects of life balances us all out [in this time of need],” she shares. “I am more thankful after this experience.”
Gayle is particularly interested in learning about community planning and preparedness.
“I feel protected and prepared to help out. As a community, we can endure anything that comes up.”
Over the last three weeks, the Pacific Coast Chapter has seen a tremendous outpouring of volunteer support. Nearly 300 new volunteers have participated in orientation, training and/or completed a shift.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact email@example.com.
Story and Photo by Jocelyn Hillard, Red Cross public affairs