Jennifer requires a special software program that speaks to her while she is navigating her computer and presents email in large enough font for her to read. Unfortunately, the Red Cross network was not compatible with the program so Jennifer and Red Cross staff member, Stefanie Hencheroff, started to think of alternative ways to accommodate her unique situation. They decided to utilize an external network that would allow Jennifer to use her program at the office. Stefanie and the Red Cross recognized the importance of accommodating Jennifer as much as she had accommodated the Red Cross with her volunteer work.
Once Jennifer’s program was up and running, she began working the reception desk at the peak of the Haiti response, which meant quickly getting used to a high volume of calls. Jennifer remembers this time as particularly moving: “I couldn’t believe how many people were calling the Red Cross to give”, said Jennifer. “By the end of the day I was overwhelmed and exhausted by the emotion of it.”
Luckily, Jennifer can rely on the support of her guide dog, Nixon, when she feels stressed. Nixon has become a popular member of the Red Cross staff and has even helped the occasional client. Jennifer remembers when a visibly upset woman came into the Red Cross HELP depot. “I asked her if she liked dogs and brought Nixon over so she could pet him”, said Jennifer. “It had a very soothing effect and she was able to calm down and relax.”
In addition to working at the Prince George Red Cross, Jennifer sits on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for Guide Dogs for the Blind Inc., and contributes to the Prince George community by advising on a number of city sub-committees how builders can better accommodate disabled persons in their designs. Jennifer feels that by working at the Red Cross she is contributing to her community and learning valuable skills that will benefit her career. In return, she thinks that the Red Cross has learned how adaptable one person can be.
Through flexibility and collaboration the Red Cross strives to support all its volunteers who mobilize for humanity each day.