Posts Tagged ‘Volunteering; Volunteerism; Helping; Community; Activism’
The newest content editor in the Boca Raton, FL, office shares her experience volunteering throughout her first year on the team.
In November 2015, I took a leap of faith and joined ProQuest. I was thrilled not only to fulfill my dream of becoming an editor but to find a company whose values spoke to me. One such value is Community–the realization that we are “citizens of the world” who must “understand our responsibility within it.”
This particular idea of Community appealed to me. An Orlando native, I knew that I had to leave my childhood home (of 25 years, no less) to make both a new living and a new life–all by myself. A couple of weeks after my initial interview, I packed up some bare necessities and my best business casual clothes, hopped on the Florida Turnpike, and wondered exactly how different life could be three hours south.
Here was a company who offered employees the use of 16 hours a year to be spent serving the community. This past year, I learned exactly how much good 16 hours can achieve.
At the Boca Raton office, I joined a highly skilled group of individuals whose passion for serving the community reflects in all that they do, both in the office and within the greater Palm Beach County area.
The ProQuest team made visits to the Palm Beach County Food Bank, where we sorted and boxed canned goods for distribution to families in hunger. We stuffed school supplies into brand new, brightly-colored backpacks for the annual Community Back to School Bash (BASH), and had a blast going through the piles of pencils, scissors, notebooks, etc. I especially loved going to Lake Worth to visit Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, where we made care packages for soldiers fighting abroad. During the winter season, we even signed holiday cards for the troops. As someone with friends and family in the military, I cherished the chance to let our troops know I appreciate their sacrifice.
These outings have provided wonderful opportunities to work closely with my team. ProQuest has allowed me to meet the diverse people who make our community great and to support outreach centers in person. My fellow editors inspire me to get involved in various causes. I love that our company encourages us to serve others, to see the fruits of our labor take shape as a force for positive change in the world.
It is more rewarding than I could have imagined.
We are a close team, and I am proud to call Boca Raton my new home.
It is shocking to see that so many people, in a country as rich in resources as the United States is, don’t know where their next meal is coming from. This food insecurity—having limited or uncertain access to adequate food—affects all communities and all age groups, but it is especially harmful to children, who need proper nutrition to develop physically and mentally, especially in the crucial early years.
According to Feeding America’s website, there are over 15 million children living in food insecure households in the United States. During the academic year, schools often provide the only meals these children eat in a day. But what happens when school is not in session?
Here in wealthy Palm Beach County, FL—where our ProQuest office is located—fifty-seven percent of public school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals in school according to a recent editorial in the Palm Beach Post. It explains how our local school district is offering a Summer Food Service program, collaborating with the United Way in a Community-Wide Food Drive and partnering with the Palm Beach County Food Bank, “an umbrella organization that receives and distributes food to more than 65 agencies.” The Summer Food Service program will provide free weekday meals for children at 118 schools during the summer.
The employees in our office participated in the Community Food Drive and helped organize and sort food at the Palm Beach County Food Bank last week. In our previous volunteering efforts at the Food Bank we have sorted and packed vegetables (green peppers, cucumbers, etc.) that were gleaned from the fields by volunteers after the farmers completed their harvesting.
We have all been enriched by our experiences at the Food Bank and it has opened our eyes to a problem in our community that is largely invisible to us. I recommend that anyone—especially teens and young adults—with a little free time on their hands this summer volunteer to work at a Food Bank or participate in gleaning. Please share your experiences with us and let us know what your communities are doing to make sure kids don’t go hungry this summer.
Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk.Visit a nursing home…or a hospital. Read to a child. Get a trash bag and–safely–collect garbage along your street. Serve meals at the local shelter. Walk the dogs at an animal shelter.
These are but just a few things you can do to give back to your community. These are all examples of volunteering!
Volunteering is always a win-win exercise. You’re helping the person or people you’re giving your time to, but also, you’re giving yourself some wonderful gifts: self-esteem, a sense of importance, and an overall GOOD feeling…you just brightened someone’s day!
So take that bold step out of your comfort zone, and reach out your hand. A very grateful hand will be waiting!