Periodically I write content for nonprofit Blogs, Websites, and/or Newsletters, including Kitchen Cred, the Eastern Pennsylvania American Red Cross and Red Paw Emergency Relief Team.

I first became involved with Kitchen Cred in 2013 as a leadership facilitator and blog contributor. Kitchen Cred programs are rooted in the universal experience of food and cooking. And while some kids may discover a culinary calling, Kitchen Cred is fundamentally about life skills.  We cook up Recipes for Life that empower middle- and high school students to foster healthier, happier individuals and communities.  Beyond learning about nutrition and food preparation, students develop self-esteem, leadership and team work. We combine the experience of educators, chefs, nutritionists and community youth programs with cutting edge educational gaming technology to create an innovative, motivating curriculum.

The Red Paw Emergency Relief Team is an emergency services, nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, the Philadelphia Fire Department, the American Red Cross, and other public and private disaster relief organizations Their mission is to provide relief and recovery for displaced pets and their people 24/7, and to ensure that ALL family members are taken care of during and after a disaster in their home. Red Paw volunteers provide emergency assistance including search & rescue, emergency transport, shelter, and veterinary care to animals involved in fires and other residential disasters.

As a Red Paw Volunteer I Pledge

We will not leave you alone in a charred and tumbled building
We will find you and take you to safety
We will not leave you injured and in pain
We will carry you to aid
We will not leave you on the streets to fend for yourself
We will place you in the arms of family
We will see you home 

Diane P. Coffey (c) request permission to reprint

When asked the question why  volunteer with the American Red Cross?  The first thought that crossed my mind was a poem I wrote a number of years ago. At the time I titled the poem Passionate People. From my perspective this poem encapsulates the  American Red Cross‘ core values: Compassionate, Collaborative, Creative, Credible, and Committed. American Red Cross volunteers, donors, and partners are committed to turn compassion into action  to alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. This poem speaks to impartiality and  fundamental principles that do not discriminate including, neutrality from race, religion, ideology, politics, and with respect for all of  humanity.

Volunteers are Passionate People
We do what we do because we believe in people
Tall ones, short ones, young and old
Each one unique
People with thoughts, attitudes and beliefs
Complex and simple
Ordinary and extraordinary
We believe in people with dreams
And people seeking dreams
We believe in possibilities and potentials
We believe in bonding together
And opening our hearts
Person to person
Heart to heart 

Diane P. Coffey (c) request permission to reprint