When I attended high school in Russia, we had a Peace Corps volunteer (named Todd) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He taught English as a foreign language and worked in after-school programs. Todd made a difference in my life; he inspired me to experience what it is like to be a volunteer. Giving back to our community and knowing that we make a difference in someone’s life is an awesome feeling. We are not only helping our community grow stronger, but we are also helping ourselves become stronger.
I always did volunteer work; no matter where I lived in the world. In Russia, I volunteered at local orphanages. In China, I taught English and Russian in kindergarten. In Florida, I volunteered for Junior Achievement, United Way, American Heart Association, IABC and other organizations. When I started my career at UPS, I joined the newly created Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) & Allies Business Resource Group. Being a member of the group has opened a new window of volunteer opportunities for me.
We recently participated in the “Backpack in the Park” event. This annual back-to-school event collected over 1,800 backpacks for children in need. Our team of 28 UPSers and friends helped set up for the event, brought the UPS NASCAR package car to the event and coordinated a water brigade style line up of over 100 volunteers to get the backpacks through the building to the UPS package car in the parking area. Then, the UPS team took collected backpacks to a fulfillment center for distribution to 13 local schools in Atlanta area.
It was so much fun to be a part of this event and see everyone working together as one team for a successful execution. When we give back to our community, we are showing our appreciation for what the community was able to directly or indirectly do for us. It is our way of showing how grateful we are.
Photos courtesy of Dan Lax Photography.