Right now everyone in our area has “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” fever. Last week the popular TV show was right in our own backyard (in Neenah, Wisconsin), bringing the dreams of one local family to life. Someone told me that producers of the show mentioned that they have never had such a large turnout of volunteers. In fact, this was the first time they have ever had to turn volunteers away. (The Appleton Post-Crescent covered the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project and how sharing your organization’s efforts can help spread the word about our incredible community.)
So, what does this say about our community? It says that helping our neighbors is simply a part of life around this area. It says that donating time (which is certainly more difficult than donating money) is extremely valued. It also shows how lucky we are to live in community where organizations like the Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin, whose mission is to promote the values of the Fox Valley Community through volunteerism, exist. Then there’s the Fox Valley Warming Shelter which seeks to provide overnight temporary shelter to homeless men and women, CHAPS Academy which is dedicated to serving children and families dealing with emotional or behavioral difficulties through the use of equine-assisted activities, and the Miracle League of the Fox Valley, an organized baseball league for children ages 4-19 with mental and/or physical disabilities. These types of organizations literally depend on volunteers in order to stay in existence.
Anyone who makes volunteering a part of their life can tell you about the immense rewards one derives from giving back to the community and those who live in it. Every September our organization sponsors Quarry Quest, an exciting family outing and fundraiser that benefits various children’s charities throughout the Fox Cities, offering hands-on educational activities, quarry tours and a chance to ride and explore giant construction machinery. This event requires more than 1,000 volunteers to be successful. Approximately 150 people from our organization alone spend their Saturday working making sure young participants have the time of their lives.
While our organization encourages employees to volunteer, it certainly isn’t required. But ask any volunteer how amazing it is to see a child’s face light up and they will tell you that the feeling they receive is absolutely priceless. Not only do they gain personal satisfaction but there is a true sense of teamwork and camaraderie that is born out of such activities. This byproduct only works to further cement our culture and create the family atmosphere our owners long to instill in employees. Here are some photos from a few events where our employees volunteered their time and services (from left to right – employee blood donations, CHAPS Academy, Fox Cities Warming Shelter, Earth Day Goodwill donations, Quarry Quest):
We are very fortunate to be able to call the Fox Cities home, but it will only continue to be an amazing community as long as we each do our part to make it one. How does your company give back to your community? Here are some tips to get employees involved:
- Allow employees to sit on committee for an organization they believe in
- Give employees an afternoon off to volunteer at a non-profit of their choice
- Start a company challenge to collect donations for food drives, school supplies or holiday gifts for those in need