Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah Smith

Volunteer Deborah Smith poses with a “Cut-Out Clara,” representing Red Cross founder Clara Barton.

California Gold Country Region volunteer Deborah Smith has deployed to disaster responses more than 33 times, both locally and nationally. Known for having fostered collaborative working relationships with local partners, community-based organizations and county agencies, she is widely recognized as a respected subject matter expert.

Deborah is always ready to lend a hand. During one of Northern California’s recent massive wildfires, she volunteered to assist and brought the expertise, knowledge and compassion needed to successfully support their efforts in all ways needed. During that time, she stepped in to assist Disaster Program Managers to take some of the weight off their shoulders.

Throughout her career, Deborah mostly worked in mental health, domestic violence and assessments.

She also worked part-time in a county government role and part-time for Service Employees International Union as a negotiator representing social workers.

“I was able to negotiate a comparable worth settlement bringing social workers – a female-dominated profession – into line with our male counterparts in county service after initiating a study on pay inequities and organizing protests. This afforded me, a then single mother, and others, the income needed to provide for my family with a living wage.”

When the Disaster Program Manager position in the Lake/Mondocino territory was vacant, Deborah stepped up to take on the role until a permanent hire was made. She supported the newly appointed DPM to become familiar with the territory, local partners, and issues specific to the territory.

“We’d be up a creek without her. She is incredible. Deborah goes above and beyond what is expected of her. Her strength and perseverance are second to none,” said one colleague.

Deborah brings compassion for service to the job in a way that supports both evacuees and volunteers alike. She is highly respected by fellow volunteers, American Red Cross staff, local community-based organizations, county agencies and, above all, the people she serves in times of need.

So why did Deborah choose the Red Cross?

“I’m the person who pulls over to the side of the road to help someone,” she said. “The Red Cross does that, and more. I am able to be a part of, and play a major role in, an organization whose mission I believe in.”

We are proud to call Deborah Smith a member of our California Gold County Region team.

Tiffany Circle 2023 Spotlight: Miki Teixeiera

The American Red Cross is proud to honor Miki Teixeira with the 2023 American Red Cross Spirit of Tiffany Award. The award is given each year in recognition of a female philanthropist who embodies the value of Red Cross founder Clara Barton. This extraordinary recognition is for those Tiffany Circle members who exemplify the heartfelt need to help others.

Cofounder and managing director of the Crowley Children’s Fund, Miki has more than 50 years in the behavioral health and medical field. Her experience includes casework with children, coordination and facilitation of programs with schools and mental health agencies, crisis intervention, and the entire spectrum of therapy with children. Over the past 40 years, she has served on many boards relating to children in our community. Her very first project was the Ronald McDonald House at UC Davis Medical Center.

In 2004, Miki completed an intensive program through the National Hispanic Leadership Institute that emphasized a holistic approach to leadership with training in public policy, leadership, strategic management and race/class/gender issues. She also earned a Harvard School of Government Certificate in 2004. The United Nations granted the Crowley Children’s Fund Special Consultive Status in 2011. Her career has taken her from Sacramento to many countries, where she worked to develop schools, dental programs, anti-sex trafficking agencies for children at risk, and provide water wells and medical necessities.

Miki is dedicated to increasing awareness of human rights locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. She has visited many communities and countries to document human rights abuses and provide support by teaching English, educating about sexually transmitted diseases and immunizing children.

Learn more about the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle here.

Saturday Update: New Evacuation Shelters Open

American Red Cross volunteers have opened emegency evecuation shelters at the following locations:


Mokelumne Hill Elementary School, 8350 Highway 26 Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245

Westpoint Town Hall, 26 State Route 26, Westpoint, CA 95255


Steven’s Hall, 130 School Rd, Miranda, CA 95553

Anyone is welcome at Red Cross shelters, including those with service animals. Our shelters provide visitors with a place to sleep, meals, beverages, snacks, comfort and care.

The Red Cross urges everyone to follow evacuation orders from local law enforcement and to have an emergency kit ready to go. Find a shelter by visiting redcross.org/shelters or download the free Red Cross Emergency App, which includes wildfire safety tips. The app is available in app stores by searching for American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

If possible, people who stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. It is also recommended to bring special items for children such as diapers, formula and toys.

The Red Cross delivers help to anyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or citizenship status. People who have disaster-caused needs do not need to be American citizens to access Red Cross services.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Help people affected by disasters by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Dorman

By Jenny Farley, Volunteer

March is Red Cross month! It is the perfect time to recognize our amazing volunteers who step up to aid those in need during disasters large and small.

When Mary Dorman was seven, her mother asked her what her purpose in life was going to be. She knew then what she puts into action now as a Red Cross volunteer and an insurance agent. “Make a difference.” She said, “I was raised believing that we need to take care of each other.”

Since 2007, Mary has volunteered in several roles including public affairs and as a member of the Northern California chapter’s board of directors. Her advice to those interested in volunteering? “Jump in and do it. I just love it. I love the people I get to work with and the other volunteers and staff.”

If you would like to volunteer, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Regional Chief Development Officer Kimberly Coley

Kimberly Coley

Kimberly Coley is the Regional Chief Development Officer for the California Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross. She leads staff and volunteer teams increasing the overall financial health of the organization both locally and nationally. She is a visionary, innovative, and highly collaborative leader who is passionate about building healthy workplace culture and coaching high performing teams.

Kimberly brings 15 years of management experience with her to the Pacific Division of the Red Cross, where she formerly served as Executive Director for the Central California Region. In that role, she led a talented team of humanitarians who served the 1.6 million residents of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Prior to the Red Cross, Kimberly served as the Vice President of External Affairs for the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast. She has held many leadership positions throughout the state of California and has worked in the non-profit, public and private sectors.

In her spare time, Kimberly advocates for expanding opportunities to under-served communities and has served as a volunteer, board member and chairwoman of several organizations throughout the years. She has been a recipient of the 2018 Woman of the Year Award from former California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and then-Assemblymember Monique Limon, a two-time honoree of the Pacific Coast Business Times, receiving “40 Under 40” in 2018 and “Top 50 Women in Business” in 2017, and a Top 5 Finalist for the 2019 Young Professional of the Year Award, presented by the Santa Barbara Young Professionals Club.

Born and raised in Tennessee, she is an avid fan of the Tennessee Volunteers!

Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Hogue

Michelle Hogue, Public Affairs Volunteer

By Jenny Farley, Volunteer

Despite being shy, Michelle Hogue knew she wanted to volunteer for the Red Cross when she saw a post from another volunteer on a neighborhood app.

She thought, “I want to give back.

Although nervous at first, she enthusiastically responded to her first assignment in public affairs talking to people at a shelter after the McKinney Fire.

“It turned out to be an amazing experience.”

She said the thing that affected her most was the gratitude among proud people who were willing to accept help from the Red Cross. She advised anyone who wants to volunteer to know that connecting with people makes it worth it.

To learn more check out redcross.org/volunteertoday.

Women’s History Month Spotlight: American Red Cross Founder Clara Barton

Clarissa Harlowe Barton, known as Clara, is one of the most honored women in American history. Guided by an intense devotion to helping others, she forged a bold path of service to help those in need. As founder of the American Red Cross, Clara is considered a visionary whose humanitarian spirit helped change the world. 

On May 21, 1881, Clara founded the American Red Cross, and by 1882, the U.S. ratified the Geneva Conventions — laws that, to this day, protect the war-wounded and civilians in conflict zones. This later resulted in a U.S. congressional charter, officially recognizing Red Cross services.  

“You must never think of anything except the need, and how to meet it,” she said. 

Read more about Clara Barton here.

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Sierra-Delta Board of Directors Vice Chair Jennifer Persike

Jennifer Persike

Jennifer Persike is an innovative strategist and a visionary leader with more than 30 years experience leading and working with California water and energy organizations, statewide associations, non-profits and corporations in addition to local, state and federal entities. 

In 2017, Jennifer established her own firm, Jennifer Persike & Company. She and her team help organizations and individuals to lead better and do better. JP & Co. specializes in consultation for critical business needs, including organizational optimization, strategic planning, leadership development and training, and public affairs/communications. The firm also is committed to helping clients organically integrate diversity, inclusion, and equity into their company values. 

Jennifer is the past Executive Director of Leadership California, a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the representation and influence of diverse women leaders in all sectors across California. 

As former Deputy Executive Director for the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), she built a reputation for understanding the issues, people, and challenges in the water arena. She has driven numerous high-profile, successful external and internal initiatives, including the creation and management of the original Save Our Water public outreach program, the award-winning California’s Water Series on Public Television with Huell Howser and multiple other statewide education programs and campaigns. 

Jennifer is committed to giving back to the community, serving on numerous boards and committees at the local, state, and national level. She is currently Vice Chair of the American Red Cross California Gold Country Region’s Sierra-Delta Chapter Board of Directors. She also serves with ACWA Foundation, Water Education Foundation, Association for Women in Water, Energy and the Environment and the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Chico State University. She also holds certification in Facilitation, Mediation and Arbitration from University of California, Davis, and a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching certification, and is completing a DE&I certification with Cornell University. 

The Red Cross thanks Jennifer for her years of service to her community.


UPDATED 3/6/23 at 8pm

Impacted by winter weather and need a safe place to stay? Red Cross volunteers and partners have emergency shelters at the following locations:

❄️ 1700 Tuolumne Community Resiliency Center, 18241 Bay Ave, Tuolumne, CA 95379

❄️ Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building, 255 S Auburn St, Grass Valley, CA 95945

❄️ Pine Grove Community Center, 19889 Hwy 88, Pine Grove, CA 95665


SMUD Partners with Red Cross in Support of Sickle Cell Initiative

By Peg Taylor, Volunteer

The American Red Cross and SMUD have joined together to support the American Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative and address the critical need for blood specific to the needs of those with sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 people nationwide with more than 400 patients residing in the Sacramento area. People with sickle cell disease live with extreme pain, anemia, tissue and organ damage and stroke.

READ: Local boy, 10, struggles with sickle cell disease; Family encourages blood donations to help

There is no cure for sickle cell disease but treatment through frequent blood transfusions can help prevent or reduce these symptoms. It has been found that blood donations from African-American donors can decrease complications related to transfusion therapy needed by sickle cell patients who receive lifelong transfusions.

Patients need as many as 10 units of blood every month. This need, along with a shortage of donors, has resulted in a dire need for African-American blood donations.

The American Red Cross is well placed to help meet this need, as the organization manages about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. The American Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative was born out of the need to increase the amount of blood products available for people with sickle cell disease by increasing the number of currently underrepresented African American donors nationwide. 

The Sickle Cell Initiative has a nationwide goal to triple the number of African-American blood donors by the end of December 2024.

READ: The blood donation process

“My experience with donating blood (to the Red Cross) was easy from start to finish. From the time I called over the phone, to the time I was sitting in the chair donating, the experience felt welcoming and safe. Everything was explained to me about the collection process. The staff were patient and accommodating,” said Anya-Jael Woods, with SMUD’s Sustainable Community Partnerships.

“The education I was provided about sickle cell disease and how blood donations help the community living with the disease made the process that much more impactful for me.  It was a blessing to be a part of this drive and I look forward to participating again.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Volunteers needed to help with blood donations

To schedule your appointment or for more information visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The Red Cross is now screening self-identified African-American donors for the sickle cell trait to help patients in need. Click here for more information on the American Red Cross Sickle Cell Initiative or to schedule a blood donation.

We thank SMUD for their partnership in bringing awareness to sickle cell disease.