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Debbie James – A Red Cross Volunteer Making a Difference

The James family were one of many households in Ottawa impacted by the Great Ice Storm of 1998.  They managed through the many chilly nights without power but realized they could have been more prepared. Debbie made the decision, when the time was right, to join the Canadian Red Cross. When learning how to be better prepared for disasters, she also trained to be a responder to help others. 
On September 21, 2018, when tornadoes tore through the Ottawa/Gatineau region, Debbie had volunteered with the Red Cross for 13 years. In that time, she had responded to over 100 individual emergencies and supported Canadians impacted by  large-scale disasters like the Alberta Floods and Fort McMurray Fires. 
 

How swim classes helped my son overcome his fear of water

When my youngest son, Kai, turned 2 years old I thought it was time to enroll him in swim classes. While checking the options available for him, I found the Red Cross Swim Preschool Program.  It looked very exciting as they use animal mascots for each level of the program and integrate songs and activities into the lessons to make it fun and engaging for kids.

Inflatable toys aren’t a substitute for supervision: A day at the beach takes a terrifying turn

At first glance, laying on an inflatable toy in shallow water seems pretty safe, after all, the water isn’t deep and there is a floating toy right there. Recently, a family’s trip to the beach in Nova Scotia proved to be a harrowing reminder of why this is not the case.

Reading, writing, arithmetic and water safety

When our daughter Ruby was six months old, we enrolled in Red Cross lessons at our local pool. Those first few lessons were tough, with a crying unhappy baby but we stuck with it. Very quickly Ruby started to gain confidence, and with that a love of the water. She is so proud of every level she completes and looks forward to spending time at the pool each week. This past winter Ruby started synchronized swimming, and those Red Cross swimming lessons helped her pick up the choreography and strokes more quickly.  Those basic swimming skills are the foundation of all water activities like diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding, skim boarding and more. 
 

An unexpected ending to a family kayaking trip

Swimming back to shore wasn’t exactly how the kayaking day trip was supposed to end. It was a warm, sunny day in July when Serge, his wife Carole and their youngest son, Xavier, decided to head out in their sea kayak to explore Skull Island, not too far from their cottage in southeastern New Brunswick. The water is usually relatively calm in the bay and warm, perfect for kayaking.
 

When confidence meets competence in the water

Ah August, when summer is in full bloom. It’s a beautiful time of year with hopefully plenty of sun and heat. It is also the time when you have to start thinking of autumn. For us, that means thinking of activities for our son, particularly swim lessons.
 

What does drowning sound and look like?

Do you imagine drowning to be splashy and loud, with arms flailing and screams for help, as perhaps seen in a movie? If you thought you could hear if a loved one was drowning, you would be sorely mistaken. The reality is that someone could be drowning a few feet away from you and you wouldn’t know it – because drowning is often silent.

The dedication of Sally St. Lewis, a Red Cross volunteer around the world for 60 years

Raised in the small Caribbean island of Dominica, West Indies, Sally St. Lewis was instilled with a sense of community through her parents, family and village; and Sally carried this in her travels across the world, and especially as a Red Cross volunteer for over 60 years.

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About The Blog

The purpose of this blog, quite simply, is to talk. This blog is an opportunity for Red Cross staff, volunteers, supporters and friends to share stories about what is happening in your community and the important work you are doing. It is a tool that will help keep all of us connected.

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