Revamped Red Cross brings promise to communities - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Revamped Red Cross brings promise to communities

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For over a century, volunteers with the American Red Cross have helped people in their darkest hours and new changes to the organization are aimed to bring in even more volunteers and help.

A new program, known as Volunteer Connection, is bringing promise to those working for the Red Cross.

Volunteer Connection is an online program that brings all aspects of the Red Cross together.

Before the program was created, interested volunteers would travel to the closest Red Cross chapter, fill out a six-page form, return it and then wait for the background check results before they could even begin helping those in need.

"When we would hand them the application, the turnover rate was so low," said Jodi Tolliver, Regional Partnership Manager Jodi Tolliver. "After they came in to get the application, we may never see them again."

The online program allows anyone interested to complete the application process from the comfort of their own home.

Prior to the introduction of Volunteer Connection, Red Cross chapters across the United States used different databases to house volunteer information. The new online program allows each chapter to use the same system, creating a way for people in Louisiana to help in a disaster similar to Superstorm Sandy.

"It allows us to see what volunteers are capable of and when they are available," said Tony Credeur, South Louisiana Region Community Chapter Executive.

Volunteers create a profile on Volunteer Connection where they list their interests, availability and any licensing they may have. When a disaster does occur, Red Cross can reach more volunteers at a quicker rate.

"Our primary reason for existing is our clients and that is where the bulk of the resources need to go," Credeur said.

Credeur said the reorganization of the Red Cross has saved the organization money on the administrative end. 

"We are roughly looking at $.92 for every $1 that is given to the cross, going into direct services for the people we are here for," Credeur said.

Officials at the Red Cross say that all volunteer information is secure and cannot be viewed by the public.

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