La Cruz Roja club at Brigham Young University handles Hispanic outreach in and around Provo, and helps Spanish speakers learn CPR and safety training. They schedule classes with the community, and work with churches, the Cub Scouts and other local groups to spread the message of preparedness.
The main goal of the group is to help Spanish speakers overcome language barriers and facilitate access to Red Cross services. Currently, there are around 50 BYU students who attend the club, and they are constantly recruiting. They put up flyers in Spanish classes and visit the science departments and new student orientations and events.
Jeff Shipley, executive director of La Cruz Roja club, explains why having Spanish language outreach is so important for the community, and for himself personally.
“Something really unique about the composition of our club is that we average between 20 and 25 students attending every Tuesday night,” Shipley said. “And of those 25 students, it’s likely that 23 of those students served in a Spanish-speaking country during their mission trips with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, we are able to connect as a community and bring a lot of energy and experience. We are able to relate to them on a personal level, both on a language level and through our international experience.
“I was looking for a way to fulfill a few goals of mine. When I returned from my mission, I wanted to keep up with my Spanish. I wanted to maintain and improve those language skills. I also wanted to develop myself professionally — I’m applying to medical school in 2020 and want to use my Spanish in the medical field. I thought this would be a great way to practice Spanish and medicine. I can practice Spanish anywhere and learn medical terminology online, but it’s the person to person contact that I have loved.
“We were at a local Christian church here in Provo a few months ago, and the woman with whom we had scheduled the class — it was inspiring/motivational to see how she was able to organize. There were five people, and seven or eight volunteers. No big deal, we’ll work with however many people show up. But by the time class started, there were 75 people in the building, and it was a testament to how effective community how reach can be. She demonstrated to me the power of what one person can do for a community to reach individuals and hopefully save lives in the future.
“Last week we helped a local Eagle Scout-to-be with his project. We met as a group and carpooled over to a Spanish speaking neighborhood. There were 25 or 30 students who came out at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, added manpower to the Scout’s group to install 141 smoke detectors. There were 53 total volunteers for the event, which I’m told is a record breaking number of volunteers.”
Upcoming events: hands-free CPR class at a community event, to teach a one hour class on diabetes in English/Spanish (low income community health center).