By Digital Communications Manager, Ashley Henyan
On June 17th, volunteers from MERCYworldwide joined forces with the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region in South L.A. to install free smoke alarms in area homes. At days end, over 700 smoke alarms were installed, making nearly 240 homes safer and better prepared for home fires. Recently, LA Talks had the opportunity to discuss the partnership between MERCYworldwide and the American Red Cross with Executive Director for MERCYworldwide, Nick Bordieri.
LA Talks: Tell us a little about MERCYworldwide and your role with the organization.
Nick Bordieri: MERCY is an acronym, and it is also the basis for our mission statement: Maximizing Efforts for Relief and Care with a special focus on Youth worldwide. As a unified organization, we plan strategically on a global scale and act locally to meet the needs of the respective communities where we live and serve. We do this through our greatest asset: the ever-growing base of 5,000 dedicated, highly spirited volunteers called MERCY Ambassadors— located in over 70 MERCY branches around the world.
I like to think of MERCY as providing second chances. MERCY’s vision is, “Compassionate service that creates opportunities that transform lives”. Our ultimate objective is to transform peoples’ lives. When and where possible we seek to “teach others how to fish” so that they can live a self-sustaining life. As the Executive Director, I have the privilege of serving an incredible group of volunteers and building great partnerships, like that with the Red Cross.
LA Talks: Our missions and values are certainly aligned, but in your own words, why the Red Cross? What makes this partnership make sense to you?
Nick Bordieri: In our mission statement, Maximizing Efforts signifies the importance of partnerships. So much more can be accomplished when people and organizations work together to leverage experience, networks, strengths, and resources. A solid partnership between MERCY and the Red Cross benefits both organizations and ultimately, maximizes the impact we can have on people and communities worldwide.
LA Talks: In addition to your recent presence at our South L.A. smoke alarm installation event, are there other plans in the works for partnering with Red Cross volunteers to help Los Angeles residents become better prepared for large-scale disasters like earthquakes, floods, and wildfires?
Nick Bordieri: MERCY believes wholeheartedly in the Red Cross’ mantra, “The worst disaster is not being prepared”. With that in mind, two years ago we partnered with the Red Cross to train over 600 MERCY Ambassadors in four strategic locations throughout Los Angeles County on disaster and emergency preparedness. We plan to continue to partner with The Red Cross in the Prepare SoCal campaign, and hope to expand this program to other cities and other countries. I believe there will be opportunities in the future to partner to serve our communities, not only in Los Angeles but in other cities where we [the Red Cross and MERCY] both have a presence.
LA Talks: Much like your organization, we also have a commitment to our youth, especially with over 110 Red Cross Clubs at local High Schools and Colleges. Tell us a little about what you are doing to inspire the young people of L.A.
Nick Bordieri: MERCYworldwide is committed to developing future humanitarian leaders of tomorrow. We have initiated a leadership program designed to train future leaders through classroom learning and hands-on application. Currently, we have 20 interns in this program representing 10 regions in Los Angeles County.
LA Talks: This fall, we plan to install 100,000 free smoke alarms nationwide, and 4,000 right here in vulnerable communities in Los Angeles. We are counting on partners like MERCYworldwide to help make this happen. What does it mean to your organization, to know that you are directly impacting local residents’ ability to survive a home fire?
Nick Bordieri: It gives me great peace and confidence that residents who have smoke alarms installed in their homes through this program will have a higher probability of surviving a fire in their home. Fires spread fast and threaten life. Installing a smoke alarm in homes is the early warning system that everyone needs to prevent loss of life.
If you or your organization is interested in partnering with the American Red Cross Los Angeles region to help end home fires, please visit: http://preparesocal.org/soundthealarm/