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Disaster Management 101: University students helping B.C. wildfire evacuees

By Andrew Hopkins, Angela Hill and Alexandra Fraser

Two members of the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Red Cross Club are showing other young people how to turn their passion into action.

Daniel Jin, pictured rightStudents Jessilyn Wong and Daniel Jin volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management logistics team, arranging vehicles, supplying technology, and taking inventory of supplies that helped the Red Cross assist thousands of people forced from their homes by last summer’s B.C. wildfires. 

While they both have Red Cross training, there was also a lot of learning on the fly for Daniel and Jessilyn as they travelled to help in impacted communities.

“My Logistics Lead from Williams Lake told me what I needed to do . . . he guided me and told me I could call anytime I needed help, so that was quite reassuring,” Daniel said.

Daniel has always been inspired by the Red Cross’ seven fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality. When he heard the stories a friend brought back from a Red Cross deployment to Kamloops, B.C., Daniel knew it was time for him to put that inspiration to work as a volunteer.

Jessilyn WongThe experience provided Jessilyn with more than just the opportunity to give back.

“It’s allowed me to grow my independence and confidence, and I think it was a really good experience that everyone should do.”

Her passion started with fundraising for wildfire relief and recovery, which ignited a desire to help impacted communities on the front lines.

“It was the first time I had been away from home by myself,” said Jessilyn.

This National Volunteer Week, Daniel and Jessilyn are helping the Red Cross prepare for future disasters, and sharing their experiences with other University students. They hope they can inspire more Disaster Management volunteers with their stories.

The need for volunteers often increases in the summer, making Disaster Management a good fit for students balancing a busy school schedule over the rest of the year. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross, check out the opportunities here.   
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