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Volunteer with MDA

At MDA, volunteers from overseas ride in ambulances alongside professional paramedics and assist in all areas of emergency response. Volunteers are based in an MDA station and form a close bond with the area and people they serve. The program is run by Israel Experience, an organization that arranges long-term trips to Israel. To apply for the program, click here.

Returning American MDA volunteers are invited to connect with AFMDA in their hometown. Many former volunteers speak at AFMDA events, march in New York’s Celebrate Israel Parade, attend Young Leadership events, and more.

A Taste of the Volunteer Experience

Jamie Edwards

As a 17-year-old, spending my first summer in Israel, I was obsessed with Harry Potter. The minute the tickets hit the box office in Netanya, my mom and I were the first ones in line. Back home, two months later, I watched in disbelief as the news covered the same shopping mall that housed what was now “my” movie theater. The entrance of the mall had been bombed beyond recognition.

The people of Israel know very little for certain when that kind of blow strikes. But there is one thing they do know: Help from Magen David Adom is literally only seconds away. MDA’s network of stations and resources are a lifeline, enabling paramedics and volunteers to respond immediately.

It was my ambition to be a part of that network. I arrived in Jerusalem in 2007 to take the EMT training course that MDA requires for all its people. We covered all the basics in just two weeks: CPR, cardiac defibrillation, immobilizing the body, bandaging, controlling bleeding, and even childbirth. That summer, I was stationed in Petach Tikvah. The next year I was in Jerusalem.

My experiences have been as eye-opening as they’ve been rewarding. It was my job to expedite the transport of patients to better medical care. For the first time in my life, I had responsibility for someone else’s. I bandaged the wounds of a child injured in a bike accident, inserted an IV into the veins of a convict at a Jerusalem police station, held the shaking hands of a woman suffering from an arrhythmia, gave CPR to a woman at an old-age home, and even transported a Palestinian woman from the Nachal Oz checkpoint in Gaza to a hospital in Israel.

In January 2009, in the midst of the Israel–Gaza war, I was lucky enough to have an internship position at JPost, the Jerusalem Post website. My job was to monitor responses to articles on other new sites. It was then that I began to understand the frustration that affects so many Zionists—what can they do to help Israel?

That’s why I work with MDA. I believe the only way to support Israel is through a dual effort, from the outside in and from the inside out. That’s what my work with Magen David Adom allows me to do — to speak on its behalf in the United States and to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis in the Jewish homeland, helping to save lives. It’s a unique opportunity and one that I cherish.