Author Archives: dawnleaks

What’s Your Game Plan?

What comes to mind when you think about being prepared? An image of a boy scout pops in my head. The Boy Scout Motto is “Be Prepared”. It’s simple and powerful.

Be prepared.

Are you and your family prepared for the next disaster? It’s not something we really want to think about but we all know we need to have a plan in place.

I’m encouraging you to take some time this month and create or update your emergency plan with your family. We have a lot of fun interactive tools you can use like our Red Cross Ready site and our mobile apps.

Here’s a fun video about a game plan gone wrong. Happy National Preparedness Month!

Sweet Treat for Charity

Trace and the ice cream

Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member Trace Adkins, is one of the two final contestants on the Celebrity Apprentice.  Show your support by buying Trace’s Maple Macadamia Mash Up and then share your ice cream photos to show just how fun and tasty helping the Red Cross can be. Only sales from this week will count toward the outcome of the show, so make sure you hurry!


We need your  help to support Trace Adkins and the American Red Cross in this week’s Celebrity Apprentice challenge. It’s the last week of the show. Let’s push Trace over the top with a big win ($100k) for the Red Cross!

We had fun trying Trace Adkin’s new ice cream flavor Maple Macadamia Mash-Up this week and we hope you will too!


Busy Weekend Doing What We Do Best

AAA_6474We had a busy weekend this past weekend helping 18 families after fires in Dudley, Worcester and Northbridge. A team of  our Red Cross Responders helped a family of eight (2 adults, 6 children)  with food and clothing after a fire on Thursday, May on Cross Street in Dudley.

Two more teams of our awesome volunteers responded to two multi-unit fires on Saturday, May 4. The first fire, on Hitchcock Road in Worcester, left three families (7 adults, 7 children) without a home. We helped the families with food, clothing and shelter.

The second fire,  on Church Avenue in Northbridge,  displaced 14 families (24 adults, 7 children). The Red Cross set up a service center at St. Peter’s Church to assess client needs and worked cooperatively with SMOC to make sure all of the clients had adequate housing. SMOC provided shelter for all of the families. The Red Cross provided food and clothing.

All families were provided snacks at the scene along with comfort kits, containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies and other items they might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire.  We will be in contact will all 18 families in the coming days to further assist with recovery.

American Red Cross disaster assistance is free of charge, a gift made possible by generous donations and the work of volunteers.  For more information about the Red Cross and how you can help, visit

Babysitting is Serious Business

ImageDid you ever read the Baby-sitters Club book series? I am totally dating myself but I used to LOVE those books. They were about a group of friends that started their own babysitting business. The series covered the ups and downs of the business, the friendships and of course the teen angst. I’m pretty sure I read all of the books and saw all of the movies. One of the things I liked the most about the series was the fact that these girls created a viable babysitting business. Naturally, I started my own babysitting business shortly after reading the books. I was missing one thing though. Actually, I think the girls in the book were missing it too – American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training.

Babysitter’s Training from the Red Cross brings the best in child development and safety training. It builds confidence to hold, feed, and care for infants and toddlers, work with children safely, and deal with emergencies. Just as importantly, it teaches lifelong entrepreneurial and career development skills. Having my mother a phone call away to answer any questions that popped up was great but I’m thinking about how much more confident I would have been had I had the Red Cross training. I would have learned valuable skills like:

  • Leadership training
  • The business of babysitting, including how to set your pricing
  • Understanding and caring for kids from 0 – 10
  • Safety skills: picking up, holding feeding, and diapering infants and toddlers
  • First Aid and more

All of the Red Cross chapters in Massachusetts are holding babysitting training this President’s Day. If there is a teen in your life that is thinking about starting a babysitting business, encourage him or her to take advantage of the day off from school and attend Red Cross babysitter’s training.

Classes are available at all Red Cross Chapters in Massachusetts: Beverly, Braintree, Brockton, Fall River, Haverhill, Hyannis, Leominster, Peabody, Pittsfield, Springfield, Waltham, Westfield and Worcester.

For pricing and registration information visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Sandy has a Cute Name, but She May Pack a Punch

Sandy is sure making a name for herself as she threatens to take aim at the east coast. From Florida to Maine, the Red Cross is getting prepared and we hope you are too.  If 2011 taught us anything, it taught us that severe weather can be a reality here in Massachusetts. Take a few minutes today to get you and your family prepared.

Create and practice a Hurricane Plan:

  • Planning and practicing an evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs, and make plans for your pets.
  •  Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit, essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights, battery-powered radio and extra batteries. • Heed Warnings: Listen to radio and TV stations for updated information. A Hurricane WATCH means hurricane conditions could threaten within 36 hours. A Hurricane WARNING means hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.
  •  Prepare your Home: Secure anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, trash cans, potted plants, etc.). Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have shutters, board up windows and doors with plywood. Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
  • Download the American Red Cross Hurricane app to Monitor conditions in your area or throughout the storm track, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.

For more information, visit

Special Thanks for Special Service

Every year during the holiday season, Americans take time to reflect and give thanks for the many gifts in our lives.  Whether down the block, across the country, or around the world, we gather with family and loved ones to share a touch of home. It’s during this special season we ask you to take the time to ‘give something that means something” to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, our nation’s veterans, and their military families who may be separated from their loved ones or far from home.

Between October 1 and December 7, 2012, you are invited to send holiday greeting cards with messages of thanks and support to our troops. Red Cross volunteers will screen, sort, and deliver your cards to military installations as well as VA and military hospitals across the U.S. and around the world.

Visit for details on how you can send a card.

Spread the word to your friends, family and neighbors, and let’s give something that means something to our service men and women, veterans and their families around the world in gratitude for their service.