Monday, May 13, 2013

Like Mother, Like Son: Teaching and Learning in Service as a Red Cross Mom

by Rebecca Lawson, staff contributor 

Red Cross Dallas Chapter
Board Member Jodi Lash
Growing up, Jodi Lash remembers watching her parents pay their bills every few weeks – and how they always set aside a little for charity, even though they didn’t have much. Now, as a Bonnie McElveen Hunter Lifetime Tiffany Circle member, Legacy Society member and Chair of the Dallas Area Chapter Board, Jodi has not only continued her parents’ charitable example with her children, but continues to make a lasting impact within the Red Cross. 

When Jodi first began supporting the Red Cross, like many, she associated it with disaster relief, blood and the lifesaving classes she had taken as a child. But once she got more involved, she discovered the full scope of its mission and was inspired by the spirit of volunteerism and seeing “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” She felt compelled to do something on a bigger scale. 

Upon moving to Dallas in 2006, Jodi recalls touring the Dallas warehouse along with her son, Jonathan, who she and her husband were teaching about charitable giving: “I remember welling up with tears as they explained how the warehouse mobilizes and what it’s used for…I was thinking, I have to be part of this.” Her son was equally impressed, and as a result made his first charitable gift, purchasing much needed blankets with his Bar Mitzvah money for the Red Cross. 

As it turns out, that warehouse tour was only the beginning of the Red Cross journey for both mother and son. Jonathan began volunteering at the Dallas Area Chapter, at first working in the warehouse and then gradually in each of the other departments, as part of the Volunteer Public Service component of the Congressional Award. At age 16, he also became a certified CPR instructor, teaching others how to save lives. Jodi recalls how Jonathan wanted so badly to go with the disaster teams out on calls: “He would say to me, ‘I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.’ But I explained to him, you really are – because someone you train may go out and save a life.” 

Jodi was equally taken with the Dallas Tiffany Circle when she attended one of their luncheons shortly after moving to Dallas. “They had such a passion for the mission, and such big generous hearts, and they welcomed me with a huge Texas welcome” Jodi joined the Dallas Tiffany Circle in 2008 and became a Bonnie McElveen Hunter Lifetime member in 2011. “The women who are part of this special group are so incredible,” says Jodi. “They span all age groups and backgrounds and professions and geographic locations, but they all come together in this tightly bonded group of women who rally around the mission of the Red Cross.” 

Jodi and Jonathan’s Red Cross experiences came together at a Dallas Tiffany Circle event last year, where Jonathan was the speaker and gave a hands-on CPR demonstration. 

Overall, Jodi says, “The different ways everyone helps really makes up the heart of the Red Cross. And it has such broad implications as it spreads out into the community.” Jodi has certainly lived that message – both through her own work as board chair and with Tiffany Circle, and by passing that legacy of philanthropy to her children, as it was passed to her. 

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