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New start for Saba Red Cross

The Saba Red Cross is making a new start. A new manager has been appointed, a meeting was held with the volunteers, two regional Red Cross officials visited Saba over the weekend and a number of goals for this year have been set.

Maarten Plante-van der Horn was appointed manager of the Saba Red Cross on January 15, 2019. His main challenge: to make the organization visible again on the island. “Unfortunately, the Saba branch has been less active in the past years. But this doesn’t mean that there was no Red Cross on Saba. There are still volunteers, and they are motivated to carry out their tasks on behalf of the organization,” said Plante-van der Horn.

“As the new manager, I hope to professionalize the Saba branch, together with a group of volunteers that is not only highly motivated, but also certified to give first aid,” he said, announcing a series of trainings that will be taking place later this month. “I work closely with chairman of the board Tony Hughes and other board members, who are of great help with their local knowledge and experience.”

A “train-the-trainer” will arrive on the island on March 26 to ensure that Saba has a certified trainer who in turn can provide first aid trainings on the island, for both Red Cross volunteers and for others, or “commercial.” The first commercial trainings, for the day care and the after-school care, are scheduled On March 28 and 29, provided by the Saba Red Cross.

On March 3, the volunteers gathered with the new manager. Also present were Regional Coordinator Caribbean Branches Marion van der Reijden and Portfolio Officer Caribbean Branches Natalie Dickens, who visited Saba that weekend to support the new manager. Plant-van der Horn, Van der Reijden and Dickens were able to answer the many questions of the volunteers and expounded on the future plans of the Saba Red Cross.

The Saba Red Cross has set a number of goals for this year. The organization wants to recruit volunteers and make sure that all volunteers are certified in giving first aid so the Red Cross can again assist at events like Carnival, Saba Day and the triathlon. The organization wants to provide “commercial” first aid trainings for other organizations and companies.

Together with the Public Entity Saba, the Red Cross wants to restore the shelters, and make them functional again. The Red Cross would further like to start social projects to address addiction and combat poverty. Ideas and input regarding this last goal are very welcome, said Plante-van der Horn. The organization also wants to take a decision on what to do with the Red Cross building at Cove Bay, which can be a useful training location but is not ideal as an office.

During the meeting with the volunteers on March 3, seven junior rangers received a first aid certificate from regional coordinator Van der Reijden. All seven youngsters successfully completed this course, which was organized at their school by Janet Wilson. “Red Cross Saba is very proud of these youngsters and hopes that they will contribute a lot to the Red Cross and to Saba.”

The Saba Red Cross is looking for more volunteers, and everyone is welcome to come to the office of the manager at the Eugenius Johnson Centre on Mondays, Thursdays and Friday afternoon.

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