When disasters strike, such as fires, tornadoes or more commonly for eastern North Carolinians, hurricanes, the American Red Cross does its part in aiding those affected by the incident. Now, one faculty member and four students from the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies in the College of Allied Health Sciences have recently been trained to provide counseling along with the American Red Cross through the “Ready When the Time Comes” program.
“Ready When the Times Comes” is a corporate volunteer program and is “designed to tap into corporate America’s expertise and desire to help people in need” according to the American Red Cross website. Through this program, Red Cross is able to prepare employees from partnering corporations to be mobilized and respond when a disaster occurs.
Team leader Dr. Leigh Atherton, a clinical assistant professor and director of the Navigate Counseling Clinic, will lead four students from the department Samantha Coleman, Matt Cox, Vanessa Perry and Jeff Thomas in this endeavor. The group will not only use their skills and expertise required to provide counseling and aid through the Navigate Counseling Clinic, but also skills they learned through several required Red Cross trainings on topics such as mental health fundamentals, psychological first aid and providing emergency assistance. Now that they’ve completed the extensive training the Navigate Counseling Team at East Carolina University is ready to be dispatched if needed during a local disaster.
“Giving back to the community is a core value of Navigate Counseling Clinic, and the ‘Ready When the Time Comes’ volunteer opportunity is a perfect match for our team. We are all excited for the opportunity to provide assistance to those affected by disasters on both a local and national level,” said Atherton.
Another member of the Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Services, Celeste Crawford has been a Red Cross RWTC volunteer for many years and while she isn’t part of the Navigate Counseling Clinic at ECU team, she has been on a number of national deployments. Most recently, she was part of a team of North Carolina-based volunteers who responded to the shooting on the Washington Navy Yard.
The Navigate Counseling Team at ECU is proud to honor the University’s motto “Servire” by serving those in need through the “Ready When the Times Comes” program with the American Red Cross. To learn more about how you can get involved with this program, visit the American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org .