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In his words: one young volunteer shares why he got involved with Red Cross

Joshua Makarov was a university student when he decided to give back to his community by volunteering with the Canadian Red Cross - here's why:

Joshua Makarov pictured in a maskRed Cross Talks: What is your name?

My name is Joshua Makarov.

Red Cross Talks: Tell us about yourself.

I am a third-year student at UNB studying Economics. Originally from Dieppe, I moved down to Fredericton to pursue my education and have not looked back since. Right away, I got involved with the Red Cross and with jobs on campus. For example, I worked at the Student Union Building part time and was a Teacher’s Assistant in the Economics department. This past year I was elected as a Student Senator and have since been working hard to make the next year as pleasant for everyone as possible by advocating for my fellow students. During my off-time I go to the gym and play tons of chess online.

Red Cross Talks: Why did you join the Red Cross?

I joined the Red Cross because I wanted to get involved with a non-profit organization and spend some of that time helping others and being involved with the community. Specifically, I was introduced to the idea during the volunteer fair at UNB. The Red Cross is an international organization that offers aid to so many in various situations, including countries where I personally have family. I believe that offering my help in local disasters with the Red Cross is a step towards a healthier and more compassionate community.

Red Cross Talks: What led you to become an emergency management volunteer with the Red Cross?

It was the best option for a full-time student with sporadic availability. Also, in Fredericton, we are susceptible to floods during the springtime and many families are affected. For a city that has so much to offer, helping families during disasters is the least I can do.

Red Cross Talks: What was a moment that really stands out from your time volunteering?

Joshua Makarov standing beside a Canadian Red Cross carMy first week on call for the Personal Disaster Assistance Team (PDAT) stands out the most for me. It was right in the chaos of the pandemic and, on top of that, Fredericton suffered multiple house fires. The moment that stood out for me was helping out a young couple my age who had been denied at the border after flying in from a different province. The resources that I had available to me were instrumental in comforting and eventually flying them home safely. This really gave me a deeper understanding of what exactly the Red Cross is capable of.

Red Cross Talks: What do you think it takes to be a Red Cross volunteer?

To be a Red Cross volunteer it takes, above all else, empathy. The procedures and guidelines outlined are as helpful as they can get; however, as soon as you are faced with disaster, it is essential to be able to communicate with empathy and understanding. If you have a desire to really impact your community then join the Red Cross and you will discover endless opportunity to help in any capacity.

Red Cross Talks: What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

My favourite thing about volunteering is how selfless it is. Sometimes worrying about everything going on in my life and stressing about exams is too chaotic but during those times when I am volunteering all those things get put aside so I can help. People that receive my help are usually in extremely unfortunate situations and, through that, it teaches me how to appreciate life a bit more and to stop fretting about non-consequential things.

Red Cross Talks: If you could give advice to someone looking to volunteer what would it be?

Just go for it! The amount of time and training required is negligible compared to the satisfaction you will get from being able to be a part of the Red Cross. Check out the official Red Cross YouTube channel and read the testimonials on their website to get a more visual sense of what exactly volunteering with us is like. Give it a try and see for yourself just how fast you will enjoy every part of it!

If you're interested in joining as a volunteer, learn more at redcross.ca/volunteer.

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