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Make the Most of Summer with Employee Volunteer Days

Culture | Posted on August 18, 2014 by Rebecca Lyon

Giving back to the communities we serve is engrained in the Softchoice culture. Beyond the activities of the company’s employee-led philanthropic initiative, Softchoice Cares, all Softchoice employees are offered two paid volunteer days a year to give back to their communities in support of any cause near and dear to their hearts. 

In true Softchoice fashion, two common elements often emerge. One, many groups or departments take their volunteer days together, creating a rewarding team building experience. And two, it also brings out a healthy a spirit of competition between departments and offices across North America – motivating them to go big, give back, and have some fun doing it.

“It’s that sense of competition that drives employees to be the best – even when volunteering,” says Tara Bradbury, Softchoice Cares Board Chair. “The passion, drive and competitiveness encourages employees to aim higher and pull out all the stops.”

This summer alone, teams across the organization found ways to impact their communities. Here are some of the highlights:

Inspiring the next Tech Generation with Year Up in SeattleYear Up 1

Softchoice Cares mission is all about bridging the digital divide, so it was a no-brainer when the Seattle office decided to partner with Year Up for their first “Orange Day.” Year Up connects talented urban youth with available IT jobs in major US cities, and this Orange Day was all about preparing the 70 Year Up students for their upcoming six-month internships. Softchoice employees led four training sessions, as well as two expert panels with local clients, to answer the students’ questions and offer insight as IT professionals.

Launching Career Success with Weingart Center in Los Angeles

weingart4Located in downtown LA’s “Skid Row,” the Weingart Center offers care and support to homeless men and women. One of the ways they do this is by hosting interview classes to help clients move forward with job placements. The last stage of these classes is a mock interview, and that’s where Softchoice came in. A group of eight Softchoice employees led interviews with the candidates, scored each interview, and then provided in-person positive and focused feedback to help them improve their interview skills and build confidence.

Improving Mental Health with CAMH in ToroCAMHnto

When Softchoice’s Sales Operations team heard about the volunteering opportunities at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, they knew they wanted to get involved. CAMH offers multiple corporate volunteer programs, one of which involves playing sports with the clients. After running through scenarios of what some of the clients experience on a daily basis, the Softchoice team saw first-hand how the simple act of playing basketball can alleviate some of the clients’ symptoms and help them feel part of a community.

Reaching out with The Night Ministry in Chicago

TNMJuly 29th was not the first time the Chicago office has volunteered with The Night Ministry, and it certainly won’t be the last! TNM works with vulnerable teens and adults across the city by providing various support services, including a mobile outreach bus that also provides medical care and HIV testing. Softchoice prepared and handed out meals at the Wicker Park bus stop, feeding over 50 people, but the experience offered more than just a warm meal. As they handed out food and other items from the bus, the team was able to interact with the people affected by poverty or homelessness. For these people, who can often be treated like second-class citizens, a little conversation can go a long way.

How have you given back to your community this summer? Share your experiences and ideas with us below in the comments!

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