Volunteer Helps Build Restoring Family Links Outreach in Phoenix, AZ

Justin Coghill, right, at Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship One World Soccer Tournament for Refugee Youth

Justin Coghill, right, at Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship One World Soccer Tournament for Refugee Youth

Story by Vicente Baamonde, Grand Canyon Region, Regional Direct Services Manager

Justin Coghill joined the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter as a volunteer in September 2013.  He wanted to join because one of his goals is to eventually help people and their communities on an international front (e.g., International Committee for the Red Cross, Peace Corps, etc.), and he had heard that the Grand Canyon Chapter offered opportunities that could support him in his goal.

Although Justin was initially interested in serving in multiple capacities, he narrowed down his focus to support the outreach efforts for the Restoring Family Links program of the International Services department.   Although his tenure with the Grand Canyon Chapter has been a few months, below is the initial list of his highly recognized and praised accomplishments:

Film and Speaker Series at Glendale Community College, November 2013 – Justin organized a presentation in partnership with Amnesty International at Glendale Community College that provided an overview of the Restoring Family Links program.  He coordinated the entire effort with Glendale Community College, key players at Amnesty International, and gathered the resources offered by the American Red Cross to deliver a successful presentation that he created from scratch.  Designed as a Film and Speaker Series, Justin’s purpose was to create awareness about the Restoring Family Links and the difference the program makes for families who are separated by conflict, disaster, or other humanitarian emergencies in their native countries.

Restoring Family Links Outreach Grant, 2014 – Justin is leading the outreach efforts of the Grand Canyon Chapter with the support of the Grant. Activities will focus in create relationships with: Arizona Lost Boys Center, Bhutanese Community, Welcome to America Project, Refugee Women’ Health Center and the Canyon Corridor.  We will participate/organize events as a soccer tournament, Ventanilla de Salud at the Mexican Consulate, and Breakfast with Refugees.

Iraqi American Society for Peace and Friendship One World Soccer Tournament for Refugee Youth, April 2014 – The American Red Cross set up a booth at the 2014 soccer tournament sponsored by the Iraqi Society for Friendship and Peace where members of the refugee community from countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Somalia joined together for a weekend of friendly sports competition.  Thanks to Justin’s commitment to community outreach, he empowered several volunteers and interns to join him over this weekend event to educate these refugee communities, their families, and friends about the Restoring Family Links program and the importance of emergency disaster preparation efforts.  

2014 World Refugee Day, scheduled for June 2014 – This year, the American Red Cross is organizing the 2014 World Refugee Day.  Justin is a direct support to the American Red Cross’ primary organizer and he is also the chair of the Entertainment Committee. 

As evident by the list above, Justin is committed to not only challenging himself as an ambassador of the American Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links program, but in also establishing an instrumental reputation in the community as well.  He has been a vital connection to former, current, and new organizations whose missions and visions align with those of the Restoring Family Links program.  Despite his external commitments, Justin continues to volunteer to lead efforts in International Services department outreach, and his actions speak of his personal and professional growth to humanitarian efforts.  We are proud and lucky to have someone so personable, easy to work with, and who is committed beyond convenience to be one of our shining volunteers.