Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Red Cross International Services: Finding Answers and Delivering Them

by George McCain, volunteer contributor 

People often seek answers, sometimes to the most profound questions in life. Sometimes people simply need an answer to a question, not profound but nonetheless deeply meaningful.  Colin Wood is a volunteer with the American Red Cross who helps bring answers to those asking some of the most important questions in life, like “Where is my family and are they alive?” Wood is a Volunteer Partner with ARC International Services. The University of North Texas student, majoring in International Studies, works on a daily basis reconnecting families who have been separated due to armed conflict, natural disaster or migration.  

"The Red Cross and Red Crescent are the only organizations that do this specifically," Wood said.  

Annually, the Red Cross assists more than 5,000 people reconnect with loved ones in the United States and around the world. "People may find themselves in a refugee situation such as a camp after fleeing armed conflict or a disaster," Wood added. The UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, facilitates refugees settling around the world including the United States.  Refugees need help in finding and connecting with loved ones.

Restoring Family Links (RFL) is the program whereby the Red Cross helps people get back in touch with families. Local Red Cross volunteers accomplish this by working with the Red Cross in other countries to effectively reconnect clients with their families. The Red Cross provides RFL services in three ways: 
  • Tracing which helps find families and get word to them
  • Red Cross Messages whereby the Red Cross or Red Crescent, independent of the government, delivers a message written by a family member
  • Holocaust Tracing helping holocaust victims find family
Wood says volunteering with Red Cross International Services is fulfilling. “I am a part of so many cogs that have to move to make it work.” Helping people who have gone through horrifying experiences and seek closure through answered questions provides him with that sense of fulfillment.

“The movement is going to do so much good and provide that answer they haven’t been able to get.”

To learn more about our Red Cross International Services Restoring Family Links program, or to become a volunteer, visit us online at Watch a video of a reconnection made possible by RFL:

1 comment:

The American Red Cross-North Texas Region does not moderate comments prior to posting, and we gladly welcome your comments — supportive, dissenting, questioning or otherwise. In general, we do not delete or censor comments unless they:

· contain excessive profanity
· contain harsh or offensive language
· use flaming or threatening language
· are abusive
· are off-topic or an inappropriate tangent
· are blatantly spam
· promote or advertise businesses
· personally attack the blogger or other commenters

While the American Red Cross-North Texas Region seeks to inspire, educate and excite its readers, this blog is a resource for the community and inappropriate comments will not be allowed. Participants who violate this Comment Policy may be blocked from future access and/or commenting on this blog.