NASW member Reia Chapman, who runs her own practice in Charlotte, N.C., volunteered with the American Red Cross for its disaster mental health services team in Lafayette, La., helping victims of the region’s historic flooding.
“I do a lot of community-based organizing and racial trauma and advocacy work for marginalized groups,” Chapman said of what inspired her to volunteer. “I was the only person of color in the (disaster mental health) operation in the area – but we as a unit primarily work with people of color.”
“My niche is being embedded with people who traditionally don’t or won’t access services,” she said.
Chapman said overall the flooding victims were resilient and her team helped guide them to appropriate resources based on need.
“It was a great experience,” she said of helping with the effort. “I think more social workers should be involved in disaster-relief efforts. They were very much needed.”
Information about volunteer opportunities with the American Red Cross can be found at www.redcross.org.
From the November 2016 NASW News.