February 24, 2010
By Maya_Sariahmed

Today was my ride along day, I took an afternoon/evening shift that overlapped with Yina, who is FUNNY! we had a great time in our downtime.  And I packed a sandwich and snacks upon Kelly’s suggestion and was pleased that I did so.

So when I walked in, a man named Mauricio handed me a stack of papers to organize into packets which another man named Harry stuffed into folders. This was not very fulfilling. But! I did learn that they were packets to train volunteers in the Bronx on the “modules”. Apparently, if we go further, all of us will train based off of 5 modules–I think I got through at least the first two levels today. Anyway, for some reason the chapter in the Bronx thinks these modules are heinous and unnecessary and won’t abide by them, so Mauricio is giving them packets in hopes that they will take it more seriously. Harry described the Red Cross in the Bronx as more of a place where people were set in their old ways and happy with their rhythms as is. Lots of paper. Don’t know how effective they’ll be…

The day went on and I met my ride along partner Stacy Miller who is LOVELY, she’s from Americorps and has been a RC volunteer for almost two years, her time ends in June. We didn’t talk very much until we got a 3rd response to an apartment near Highland Park. The first thing I learned about her was that she hates driving! She’s a stress case about it like I am, and I was in awe of how she even managed to maneuver that colossus all about midtown. She also was doing something else kind of remarkable, which was at every stop light she was going back and forth to check directions on Google Maps. I managed to spin it over into my control and navigate her, but she liked to take control back, maybe out of politeness or habit or my terrible sense of direction. Anyway, she does a lot of these trips alone so I can’t imagine having to deal with that computer AND drive at the same time, the ENTIRE time. While I doubt we can get any GPS systems into their trucks, there HAS to be a better way to access a mapping system that’s a little safer during their treks. Or at the bare minimum give them a better option than Google maps, maybe even just improving on Google maps somehow, customizing it in a way that makes it easier to read while driving and just gives clearer directions

Anyway, in the very beginning of our heart-to-hearts, during the pleasantries phase of conversation, Stacy mentioned the continued training sessions Red Cross volunteers go through as their dedication grows. She said they were PAINFULLY BORING for her, with outdated 80s PSA video footage and the like. She brought up an interesting point though, which was that while she hates them, some of the older volunteers are ALL ABOUT IT and feel really comfortable and happy with those same trainings. Maybe there would be a better way of engaging volunteers in these sorts of sessions if they were developed based off of age groups? I think this sort of discussion falls along the same lines as what we had started talking about in class about the 20 million hour online course for the Red Cross. Training, especially training that is done throughout a volunteers career at the Red Cross, should be motivating and rejuvenating and pump you up! You know? She talked about how easy it is for volunteers to get in there and become so deflated so quickly. Morale, how do we deal with picking up morale?

Let’s see, what else? Oh okay, yeah Stacy doesn’t use the whacked out computer system to enter in the client’s information. She went straight to the ole’ pen and paper, and then decided to enter in the information onto her computer back at the Red Cross headquarters. This seemed wise to me. The system they use is slow as molasses and is cumbersome when on the scene. If we can’t make Siebold smoother, what’s a print alternative? Maybe it doesn’t have to be a paper form they’re filling out (more waste!) but I don’t know, like a dry erase board? Bad idea, easy to lose that…but along those lines!

There’s more, I know there’s more but my brain has to retire and stew for a little bit. So more, more thoughts to come!


One Response to “ MAYA’S RIDE ALONG ”

  1. Rhiannon on February 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    two points in response to your comments maya:
    funny you mentioned Mauricio, I heard A LOT about him from the other people I worked with, although I never personally got to meet him from what I can remember. Amongst other things it seems like a lot of paper is used when it is a little unnecessary (from the comments that were said to me).
    and 2. the gps/google maps thing. My partner Terek did the same thing, every light we were at he checked his phone (at first i thought he was texting and stuff so I was a little concerned to say the least but then he started talking to me about it) I found out they do have GPS systems they can use, they are in the garage they just have to be taken out, Tereks excuse for not using it is because it is extra material and objects to remember where as he always has his phone. And also the computer they have in the car with them has gps too that they can look up on (which i think is even worse compared to the tom tom things and their phones)