Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Red Cross Bilingual Services – On Duty in Progreso

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For three weekends, the Mexican Red Cross’ Bilingual Services team stood ready to serve during Semana Santa in Progreso. 

Four Bilingual Services volunteers accepted the challenge to staff the Red Cross tent at Progreso’s annual Spring Break celebration.  Yolanda Ambrose, Georgina Reyes Arevalo, Kimmy DeGraff, and Enrique Romero ensured that the Mexican Red Cross had bilingual capability if needed each Saturday and Sunday from April 12-27 on Progreso’s popular main beach.

Bilingual Services was called into response mode once during their six days on duty.  On Saturday, April 19th, a family from Belize lost track of their eight-year-old daughter on the crowded beach for about thirty minutes.  Everyone in the family spoke English but no one spoke Spanish.  Enrique Romero was able to communicate with the family and translate important information between the family and the Red Cross lifeguards.  Everyone was eventually reunited safely but the panic and stress the family experienced during those very long thirty minutes was terrifying.  Big congratulations to Mr. Romero and Bilingual Services for being in the right place at the right time.

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As a bonus, the Bilingual Services team wore their new vests (pictured below) at Semana Santa compliments of YucatanLiving.comYucatan Living sponsored the new vests after following Bilingual Services on social media and reading about their dedication to the English-only visitors and residents of Merida and the Yucatan in the local media.

Ellen Fead Fields of Yucatan Living said, “It seems only natural we would support the Red Cross’ Bilingual Services program.” “Any group of people volunteering their time to help out in such an impactful way deserves our – and everyone else’s – support.”

Georgina and Enrique

Georgina and Enrique

The Bilingual Services program currently has a dedicated core of ten weekly volunteers in Merida.  An additional ten to fifteen individuals from Merida, Progreso, and Valladolid are interested in becoming members of a “reserve” corps.  This reserve corps will be on standby for large-scale disasters that will assuredly occur regionally and across Mexico where English-language capability is needed.  A new round of training will be announced soon for anyone interested in becoming a weekly or reserve Bilingual Services volunteer.  This training will include CPR and First Aid certifications and will enable participants to deploy locally, across Mexico, and internationally as an official Mexican Red Cross volunteer.

Kimmy

Kimmy

The Bilingual Services program currently supports 1) real-time translation for the Red Cross’ ambulance service in Merida and surrounding areas, 2) English-language capability for Red Cross services at special events, and 3) evacuations and mass care for hurricanes and crippled cruise ships with a focus on effective communication with English-speaking visitors and residents.

Yolanda

Yolanda

All individuals and organizations interested in participating with, sponsoring, or receiving additional information on the Mexican Red Cross’ Bilingual Services Program, please contact Todd Mosley at Email: ToddnMX@aol.com, Phone: 999-362-59-49, and on FaceBook: Cruz Roja Mexicana, Bilingual Services. No experience necessary to volunteer except to be moderately bilingual and a willingness to serve.  All training will be provided.

Top row from left to right, Georgina Reyes Arevalo and Enrique Romero.  Bottom row from left to right, Yolanda Ambrose and Kimmy DeGraff.

By Todd Mosley

Mexico Travel Care

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