From the Lebanese Red Cross to the Canadian Red Cross: one volunteer’s unusual life path

At 18, seeking adventure and adrenaline, Georges joined the Red Cross in his home country of Lebanon so that he could train to become a volunteer paramedic. He was fresh out of the course when he hit the ground running as an ambulance attendant.

His leadership and determination quickly drew notice, and barely a year and a half later, he becomes a mission lead for the Lebanese Red Cross. The work can be exhausting, with his shifts starting at 6 p.m. and ending the following morning at dawn, but Georges finds the work incredibly fulfilling and humanitarian.

Arriving in Quebec

After doing a student exchange at the Université de Montréal, Georges decides to move to Quebec. Once he is settled in Canada, the 22-year-old looks for a way to meet people, get involved in his new community, and give back like he had already done in Lebanon. It’s at this point that Georges gets involved with the Canadian Red Cross. Even though the organizations have the same name and share the same values, the Canadian Red Cross and the Lebanese Red Cross have vastly different issues and needs.

After doing a student exchange at the Université de Montréal, Georges decides to move to Quebec.In Canada, Georges uses his studies in psychology to bring comfort to numerous people affected by disasters. During the 2019 floods, Georges will travel the province to provide valuable assistance to many people in need. This will lead him to discover Beauce, Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Mansfield, Ste-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Rigaud, Pierrefonds, Sorel-Tracy, Fort-Coulonge and Gatineau.

SWB program

Now 24, Georges is still involved with the Canadian Red Cross as a supervisor with the SWB (Safety and Wellbeing) program, which strives to help communities build capacity and resiliency. Not only can emergencies create and amplify a range of problems that affect the wellbeing of families and communities, but they can also undermine the safeguards available in normal times, increase health risk factors, and complicate access to support structures and services.

Additionally, emotional reactions and stress management will vary from one person to another. That said, adequate support can help people who have been affected by disasters to overcome difficult experiences and strengthen their ability to cope with future disasters, including natural disasters and humanitarian crises. That’s why SWB volunteers and employees like Georges are so important.

Despite his young age, Georges has extensive experience with the Red Cross in both Lebanon and Canada. Whether he’s in North America or the Middle East, Georges lives by the same values of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. For him, being involved with the Red Cross not only inspires a feeling of accomplishment and pride, but it’s also a great way to make friends.

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