By ‘C’ Culpepper, Office Administrator, Public Interest Registry
Here at Public Interest Registry (PIR), April is our favorite month. Not because the cherry blossoms are in full bloom here in the DMV. Not because temperatures are warming and we can finally put away our bulky parkas. And not because jelly beans and chocolate eggs are on every grocery store counter… though none of these things hurt! PIR celebrates April because it is National Volunteer Month!
In the U.S., National Volunteer Month is an entire month dedicated to honoring volunteers throughout our communities and encouraging continued and increased dedication of time and talent to whatever area one is passionate about – here in the U.S. or abroad.
As a nonprofit itself, PIR has an affinity for volunteerism – something that attracted me to the company straight away. Along with company-wide philanthropy, PIR has an Employee Volunteer Program (EVP) intended to enable staff to provide support to community service initiatives of their choice. To illustrate our commitment to the EVP we provide Paid Time Off (PTO), up to 40 hours per year, for time spent volunteering with a charitable cause. We recognize that participating in such activities enriches the lives of our employees while also providing public benefits. Importantly, “community” service is not limited to just local endeavors but may encompass causes with a global focus, enabling employee mission trips and more. To show just how important the value of volunteerism is to our company, I’ve tapped a few of our dedicated employee volunteers to share their real-life stories of how PIR enables us to give back to the world around us.
Rebuilding After A Natural Disaster
Cristy traveled to New Bern, North Carolina in 2018 to assist with hurricane response efforts with All Hand and Hearts, an organization committed to effectively and efficiently addressing the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. All Hands and Hearts arrives on scene for first response and stays well into extended recovery efforts to rebuild safer, more resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure.
In response efforts, volunteers work on assessment, which determines the extent of the damage and if the home can be rebuilt; mucking and gutting the house, which involves disposing of damaged items parts; and mold and sanitation, where teams remove and dispose of mold spores on any affected structures. Cristy was part of a mucking and gutting team as well as assisted with mold and sanitation reviews. She is grateful of the experience and she plans to volunteer again with All Hands and Hearts in the near future, disaster or not.
Providing Warm Meals to Children in Need
Just last month (March 2019) Malleana returned from a week-long volunteer trip to Uganda, Africa with @AfrikaFifty6 and What’s On The Menu Catering to assist curating and cooking meals for abandoned children in Mama Jaja’s orphanage. She worked with celebrity Chef Tina Gray to curate a healthier menu and cook meals for the children. Due to a lack of resources in the area, her volunteer group also built stoves outside, using charcoal and sticks.
Additionally, through the power of the group’s personal social media platforms, they raised about $10,000 for the children, which helped two schools provide semester fees for 24 school-aged children, as well as books, clothing, food, soap, charcoal, diapers and baby medicine to help sustain the orphanage for a few months. Funds raised also helped to support necessary home improvement and safety measures. Caring for these children requires a sustained and ongoing effort from volunteers as well as fundraising donations through the website Afrika Fifty6.
Bringing Entertainment to Senior Citizens
‘C’ Culpepper, Office Administrator
To me, it’s refreshing to know that my employer not only values me but values the causes I care about. For the past several years, I have volunteered at the Herndon Senior Center, organising song and dance shows, for which I direct the choir. Together, we volunteers prepare shows and provide entertainment for those who don’t have the money or the means to travel to/for this type of special production. The senior center itself benefits because they don’t have to pay for a group to come and provide entertainment. I’m even forming a nonprofit that will help us continue doing these shows with ease, and it makes me feel good to know that PIR supports my time and efforts to do something so worthwhile.
PIR in Action: Forging Company-Wide Bonds in the Service of Others
Our Annual, All-Company Volunteer Initiatives
When I first came to PIR I was asked to coordinate a few staff events and activities with a volunteering tie. This was natural to me because I’ve had a lot of experience planning community events through local organizations, so I picked up the ball and ran with it. As months went on, the role grew and I continued meeting with fellow employees to discuss new ideas, activities, and how to cultivate an environment for maximum employee participation. Fast forward, and we’ve had several new employees join our Culture Committee, or “Fun Team” as we like to call ourselves, and the new ideas they’ve provided have helped me to continue to grow our company-wide volunteerism alongside individual and group efforts.
As an organization with deep roots in the nonprofit community and our mission to support organizations contributing to social good around the world, PIR has participated in many company-wide philanthropic efforts. In fact, 2019 will mark the third year we’ll be taking a day of service as an entire company and volunteering at Loudoun Therapeutic Riding in Leesburg, Virginia. This organization gives horseback riding lessons to veterans and the disabled, and as a team we volunteer to clean stalls and provide administrative support. In the past, we’ve collected coats and donated them to Cornerstones, a nonprofit in Reston, Virginia, as part of the One Warm Coat initiative. We’ve also worked with Cornerstones’ after school program to put together snack packs for children in need. Other local organizations we’ve partnered with in our volunteer efforts include Collect for Kids and Veterans Moving Forward.
I’m thrilled to highlight our company’s commitment to volunteerism and proud of my fellow coworkers who work diligently to make a difference in the world. Furthermore, I encourage you to volunteer, whether that is trying something new or sticking with an organization you’ve developed a relationship with. You can search for and learn more about volunteer opportunities by city/state at Create the Good. To share your stories and follow others’ use the hashtag #NationalVolunteerMonth on social media. Now get out there, volunteer and celebrate our favorite month with us!