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Giving Back To Your Community

by: HumanN

The day after Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. Have you considered how you could give back to your community? We may have some ideas for you! Read about what some of our own team members do to volunteer in their neighborhood, and get inspired to help out in yours.

 

Christy Rockefeller
Call Center Manager, HumanN

I volunteer every year for Games for Life, which is an event that gives seniors living in long-term care facilities the chance to compete against their peers in many different events. Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities in the Austin area are all invited to meet at The University of Texas to compete in races, a spelling bee, and a cut-throat balloon volleyball tournament that is the highlight of the event. There are competitive opportunities for everyone – even those in a wheelchair or walker.

Many people are born competitive but as we get older,  especially in a long-term care setting, it’s hard to find the chance for friendly competition like this. When I volunteer at the event, I see people that are empowered to win, and teams that are unlikely mixes of age, ability, and cultural backgrounds. They decorate their wheelchairs, wear matching t-shirts and cheer one another on in different sports. This gives a change of scenery to people that have a repetitive routine of meals, physical therapy, and bingo every week. I love to see the participants having fun, and feeling good about competing – whether they win or lose.  The event happens in April every year (April 27th 2019), with similar events in San Antonio and Dallas.

 

Joy Ames
Sr. CRM and Email Manager, HumanN

Spending time under the 1-35 bridge in Austin most Saturday mornings has become part of my monthly schedule. While I’m supposed to be serving coffee and donuts alongside other friends and volunteers, I’m often chatting with the homeless community and the friends I’ve made within that community. The time I “volunteer” is less about giving time to others in need and more about building relationships – learning from others who have taken a different path in life and spreading love and joy with others.

 

Kim Gutierrez
National Regional Account Manager, HumanN

I love participating in Triathlons and Marathons. It takes a lot of human power to put on a race that is organized and fun for the participants. Volunteers are a huge piece of that human power, often arriving at the race site well before the first athlete arrives and way after the last athlete has crossed the finish line.

Without volunteers, races wouldn’t be as fun for the participants. I know this first-hand because I ran a Half Marathon where there were very few volunteers and the race felt chaotic. So when I’m not racing or training, I’m usually at a race site as a volunteer. As a volunteer, I get to meet a lot of new people, and I get to see my friends who are racing. I get to wish everyone a good day, answer questions, give out hugs and at the end of my shift I am rewarded with a free breakfast taco :).  I volunteer to give back to the community that love so much and I’m grateful to all the volunteers who have helped me at a race. So the next time you’re at a race, thank a volunteer. If you’re not racing, please consider volunteering.

 

Suzanne Morris
Email Production Manager, HumanN

I am a Relay for Life team captain in Comal County, along with my cousin. We formed a team, the Guardian Angels, to honor my grandmother who passed away from Lymphoma.  2019 Relay will be our 7th event. Each year, we fundraise with garage sales, pastry sales, raffles and donations. Then we gather a team of family and friends to walk in honor of cancer survivors and those we have lost, adding their names to our shirts.

While the event is long, we always have at least one team member walking on the track at all times, to symbolize that the fight for the cure never ends. Since starting Relay, our small team has raised over $9,000 for the American Cancer Society.  I believe my grandmother would appreciate the difference I am making for others suffering from Lymphoma.

 

Hayley Wick
Sr. Digital Optimization Lead, HumanN

During a solo road trip I started listening to a podcast called Wrongful Conviction. I was immediately drawn in by the amazing, jaw-dropping, and heartbreaking stories of men and women who were wrongfully convicted to prison and were exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project and other pro-bono attorneys.  These stories began to wear on me, especially the story of Jason Baldwin who was part of the West Memphis Three. Jason was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16. What struck me about Jason was how incredibly positive and optimistic he remained throughout his 18 years growing up in prison.  He took his experience and turned it into something incredible, founding Proclaim Justice in Austin.  

The US has more than 2 million men and women behind bars, 4.1% of which are incorrectly sentenced due to tragic error.  This equates to 82,000 people, which is a conservative estimate using survival analysis to model this effect.  I try to volunteer as much as I can for the people at Proclaim Justice because being robbed of freedom due to false accusation and having communities, a nation, turn on you in a heartbeat is the most paralyzing feeling I cannot even imagine.


Ryan Parks
Chief Financial Officer, HumanN

Since 2016 I have served on the Thinkery (formerly Austin Children’s Museum) Finance Committee. It’s a cause near and dear to me as when my kids (pictured below) were younger we made monthly trips there and still go a few times a year for special programs. The Thinkery’s installations and programs are a fantastic resource for Austin’s youngest residents and visitors. Other than being a Founding member, before joining HumanN I consulted with the Director of Finance, so it was a natural transition when they asked me to join as a volunteer.

Additionally, first serving as a member of the Finance committee and now as a board member for the past two years, I’ve been honored to volunteer with the Interfaith Action of Central Texas (IACT) .  IACT cultivates peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service, and celebration. One of our main programs are Hands on Housing, similar to Habitat for Humanity, but focusing on renovating homes to allow seniors to stay in their homes longer. Another program that I find very meaningful are the Red Bench conversations that matter series – these are moderated small group conversations that allow people from all different walks of life to talk about different topics that are important but infrequently discussed in mixed groups. I find the mission, activities, and chance to interact on a deep level with people of my faith and all other faiths in Austin to be extremely rewarding.

Lastly, I enjoy committing my time to the 3-Day Startup Board. This organization started at The University of Texas and has grown rapidly to support entrepreneurship education around the globe, and holds an annual conference in Austin for all program alums. I find the mission of bridging the gap for individuals who may otherwise not be exposed to the latest thinking and experiential education vital to the world’s economic well-being.

Overall, I’m very proud and grateful to be able to give back to my community and the world with these different non-profit organizations through my financial skills and knowledge.  Below is my son enjoying a day at the Thinkery.

 

How will you give back to your community this #GIVINGTUESDAY?

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