We live in an ever-growing socially conscious world. Many companies are giving employees time away from their regular duties to volunteer within their community. This gesture of encouraging volunteering not only builds company goodwill, but it also gives employees more meaning to their time at work. And in times of adversity, volunteering helps heal communities by reconnecting the people within them.
While many charitable organizations will always welcome cash donations, it’s feet on the ground and hands in service that get things done. Sometimes the most impactful resource a company can give to their community is its time.
Dovico, the company for which I work and whose blog you are reading, gives each employee a half day per month in which to volunteer. That’s six full days per year and is quite generous for a company of our size.
While I could write about the benefits of volunteering, anyone who has ever volunteered is well aware of the feeling of belonging you get. Instead, I’ll share with you a life-changing experience that I got by volunteering at work.
A tragic event that rocked our community
June 4th, 2019 marked the fifth anniversary of one of the darkest days in our community’s history. A determined gunman exchanged gunfire with local police and killed three officers and injured two others. The suspect managed to slip away into the woods and was able to evade capture for almost two days.
During those two harrowing days, our community stood still in complete lockdown. With the whereabouts of the gunman unknown and trying to limit movement in the city, the police shut down everything deemed non-essential.
My six-year-old son understood the dire situation but didn’t know why he lost his freedom. Being kept from school and locked inside his home, he questioned his safety and it didn’t add up for him. So, to show him that we were safe, I took him on a 1/2 hour road trip out of town to freely play outside in a playground -an activity he loved to do.
Kindness would soon prevail
Fast forward a couple of years.
While our community had its share of tragedy, we are gifted with incredible acts of kindness. Rebecca Schofield, a brave local teenager, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, set the world alight with her kindness movement. With the courage to share her story openly, all she asked anyone to do in return was perform an act of kindness and then post about it on social media with the hashtag #beccatoldmeto.
Her request went viral.
Almost overnight, people were doing random acts of kindness and sharing them all over social media. Amazing stories of generosity and kindness were on display across the globe. Our community was once again in the international news, but this time, for something good. And it was all because of a brave young leader.
Unfortunately, Becca’s heart and love for kindness could no longer outpace her cancer, and in the winter of 2017, she passed away.
Although she didn’t have a long life, she left a lasting legacy of kindness and love that will be forever remembered.
A major project announced in Becca’s honour
In the summer of 2018, an ambitious project was announced to replace an ageing playground that Becca used to frequent when she was a young child. The Rebecca Schofield All World Super Play Park was born. And in the spirit of true kindness, it would be built entirely from private donations and the generous labour of an army of kind volunteers.
In no time at all, through individual and corporate donation, $625,000 came in to help fund the project. And on June 4th, 2019, with hundreds of volunteers ready to take action, construction began.
Volunteers were needed
When I had heard about the play park, I immediately targeted this project as my place to use my volunteer time from work.
My son loved playing in the old park that this new one would replace. So, on that first day of construction, I took him out of school for the day and had him help right alongside me.
I’m not sure if it was planned, or just by coincidence. But five years after our community was torn apart by an evil act of hatred; here we were rallying together to rebuild a playpark named in honour of someone who brought us all back together with a beautiful act of kindness.
Once again, here was my son an I sharing a momentous day in a playground but under an entirely different circumstance. With our freedom restored and kindness filling our hearts, we participated in a volunteering day of joy and hard work.
I felt healed, my son felt healed and most important of all, our community was healed.
At-work volunteering helps heal communities
Five years ago, we were uncertain of the world we were living in. Skeptical of our neighbour and scared of the darkness. Today, we love our neighbour and are filled with the shining light of kindness.
Volunteering at work forges lasting relationships and heals communities. While Dovico may be just another timesheet company, we strive to be an example of a company spending our time at work with purpose and meaning.
While I’m sure I would have found a way to volunteer on this project one way or another, I’m grateful to have an employer that makes it easy for me to just jump in and help out.
To end this post, I want to give a big shout to a couple of my co-workers, Estelle Johnston and Jesse Van Dubberke who also pitched in and volunteered their time to help build our community’s amazing new playpark.
Does your company give time meaning through volunteering? If so, I would love to hear about it! Please email me your volunteering story: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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