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
“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 redcross.org. Watch a video of a reconnection made possible by RFL: