Working with Heart: Why Do We Volunteer?

IMPACTWe see it everywhere. Parents clean out an empty lot to build a playground for neighborhood kids. Young people mow, trim and plant flowers in the yards of the elderly in their community. Folks give up part of their Thanksgiving to serve dinner to the less fortunate.

But, why? Why do we volunteer? And what is the role or responsibility of businesses?

At Yaskawa Motoman, we recognize the important obligation and opportunity of giving back to the community. As a result, the IMPACT Program was implemented to encourage and support giving, volunteering and community involvement through company-sponsored programs and initiatives.

For example, with encouragement and support from management, our employees have generously provided donations and services to our partners at Goodwill Easter Seals of Miami Valley, whose many programs and services offer us numerous opportunities to give back. Over the last year, Yaskawa Motoman held a donation drive and a 5k event. Proceeds from both events were donated, which provided for hours of employment at Goodwill Easter Seals, or allowed individuals to attend an Adult Day Service.

We at IMPACT also participate in the Goodwill Easter Seals’ Radio Reading Service. We set up a recording studio at our corporate office where employee volunteers read and record books and short stories for broadcast through special radios to people in the Miami Valley with visual impairments.

We will expand our volunteer fundraising and other community service opportunities in 2014.

But this brings us back to the question: Why do we volunteer?

1. It fosters personal growth – Volunteering can teach great life skills. The only requirement is to care, and anything we learn while volunteering is a bonus.
2. It saves resources – Volunteering provides valuable community services, conserving public funds for local improvements.
3. It encourages civic responsibility – Volunteers usually devote time and resources to more than one cause or program, leveraging the investment in our community and supporting those who live here.
4. It unites us – Volunteering creates bonds, among colleagues doing this work together and with staff and clients of Goodwill Easter Seals – promoting camaraderie and teamwork on our jobs and engagement with the community.
5. It simply feels good – Giving back to the community provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that carries over into every facet of our lives.

By Barb Leeth, Executive Administrator, Customer Support Group (CSG) and IMPACT committee member

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