Dedicated to Helping
Sara Horein has dedicated her life to volunteering for the American Red Cross. When she first joined the Red Cross her focus was to assist with the local fundraising team efforts. Over the years, Sara has taken on a leadership role and most recently became a member of the Tiffany Circle for the American Red Cross. Sara is now a leader among a national society of women philanthropists.
Madison Magazine: How did you get involved with the Red Cross?
Sara: I hit a stage in my life that allowed me to pursue a self-scheduled life of philanthropy. I had traveled to Africa five times spending anywhere from three weeks to two months each trip. I had worked in non-governmental organizations (NGO) and orphanages in India, Cambodia, Swaziland, South Africa, and Tanzania. Upon my return from a trip, I decided to focus my work on a domestic non-profit that would allow me to help people and work locally, nationally, and someday internationally.
Ultimately, I was moved by the mission of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. I was attracted to an organization which does not rely on funding from the government, but works alongside governmental agencies and with private donations and volunteers. Most importantly, an average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. Having a professional career behind me in marketing and event management, I first found myself useful in fundraising around major events. I assisted with managing the annual golf outing, Real Heroes, and eventually the formalization of the Western Wisconsin, American Red Cross Tiffany Circle.
MM: What an amazing story! What are some of your roles within the Red Cross?
Sara Horein: Since 2011, I have been an active volunteer with the American Red Cross. Currently, I serve on Disaster Action Team (DAT) as a team leader with direct client contact providing immediate assistance to those affected by a disaster. Responding to local emergencies; calls range from incidents such as house fire, apartment fire, dwelling flooding, or other small natural disasters that displace people in the community. Additionally, I have been a National Responder for Hurricane Isaac in 2012 and more recently to the Southwest WI Tornadoes of 2014.
When I am not out in the field assisting disaster clients, I spend two days a week in the Madison American Red Cross office volunteering in the Hub Call Center where I’m an active member in following up with clients after disasters.
As Chair of Western Wisconsin, American Red Cross Tiffany Circle, I’m involved with a large community of women leaders who advance the American Red Cross mission by engaging and embracing women across town, across the country, and around the world.
By investing $10,000 annually in their local American Red Cross chapters, these women follow in the footsteps of a long line of women leaders who have helped the Red Cross serve the American public in times of war and peace with disaster assistance, blood collection, safety training and countless other community assistance services.
The name Tiffany and the $10,000 amount have historical precedence. The society is named for the beautiful Tiffany windows in the Board of Governors Hall at Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C. These windows, produced by the Tiffany Studios, were commissioned by Red Cross President Mabel Boardman in 1917. As an act of reconciliation and hope, they were paid for with a $5,000 gift from the Women’s Relief Corps of the North and $5,000 from the United Daughters of the Confederacy of the South.
MM: Wow! You are involved in so many different areas.
SH: Some recent highlights for me include
– Hearing from women leaders in our community during our first Symposium: Women Making an Impact. Key note speakers included: Karen Teller, National Council Member, American Red Cross Tiffany Circle. Gail Ambrosius, Chocolatier, Gail Ambrosius Chocolates. Beth Kille, Musician, Music Director of Girls & Ladies Rock Camp.
– Gathering many great minds to discuss the vision for Tiffany Circle.
– Holiday card signing for active military, veterans and their families.
– Attending the Tiffany Circle Summit in Washington D.C. for an unforgettable weekend of learning, sharing, and networking with fellow women leaders from across the nation.
MM: What would you say you enjoy the most about volunteering for the Red Cross?
SH: Volunteering with the Red Cross offers experiences most of us have never had; using the skills we have built all our lives. It is a great feeling to be able to use my life skills along with the training and mentorship offered by the Red Cross to help others in need during natural disasters.
MM: What is the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
SH: On a good day, it can be the best experience in the world. Really. I cannot imagine anything else being as interesting, challenging, exhilarating, and rewarding as some of my experiences as a Red Cross volunteer. Plus, every now and again, things go right, and you walk away feeling that, for some people, in some places, the world is a better place because of something you did.
MM: How was the Heroes Breakfast this year?
SH: American Red Cross Heroes are ordinary people whose actions embody the values of the Red Cross, and demonstrate the potential that is in all of us. Whether they’re stepping up during a medical emergency to provide assistance, or helping others through a lifetime of volunteerism, Heroes reflect what is best about our community. The event held on June 25 at the Madison Concourse Hotel was awe inspiring as each hero’s story was captured in video and shared with the attendees. All heroes were honored with an award — this is an inspirational event not to be missed next year!
MM: What would you tell someone who is considering becoming involved with the Red Cross?
SH: The American Red Cross has become part of my family. There are volunteers from 18 to 80 years old involved in a variety of functions that are vital to the success of the Red Cross. If you are passionate about helping others in need during a time of emergency, consider volunteering for the American Red Cross.
To learn more or get involved with the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org/wi/madison. The Heroes Breakfast was held on June 25, 2014.