iCared with lots of others for Convio Cares Week
If you contact employees at Convio on a regular basis, last week you may have gotten several out of the office notices stating that they were out for the day but would return your email or phone call as soon as possible. This was because last week Convio sponsored our annual Convio Cares Week when each employee is encouraged to participate in a service project in our local communities. It’s a great chance for us to get out into the community, support organizations we care about, and get to work with one another in a context outside of our daily jobs. The event makes me more proud to work for Convio because I think it reflects our culture to support the nonprofit community.
The project that I volunteered at with fifteen other Convio employees was a classroom makeover for a local Austin school, Gus Garcia Middle School. The room is used by Communities in Schools of Central Texas, a local affiliate of the largest national dropout prevention organization. Communities in Schools works with other nonprofit organizations to bring programs into schools to help students with academics, social issues, counseling, mentoring, and financial support. As students passed by our classroom throughout the day while we were working I came to understand how important Communities in Schools is to each of them. Their smiles and excitement over the changes we were making was priceless.
Our challenge was that the classroom was not originally well suited for the activities that take place in it. There are often sensitive conversations that counselor and volunteers need to have with students. Small groups of students also need an environment where they can feel at home, distinct from the other classrooms that they are sitting in throughout the day. We were asked to think of a way that we could divide the room into several areas that could be comfortably used for various activities. We wanted to soften the room with design, decorations, and furniture.
We supplemented a small budget with donated items from TOPS, a local office furniture and supply company that donated literally a 14 foot truck full of shelves, chairs, tables, and other supplies. The shelves were used to divide the room into 3 sections and then we used curtains, lamps, rugs, and shades to create unique spaces. Lunch was also donated by Jason’s Deli which we gobbled up as we learned more about Communities in Schools and the work they do from the program coordinator, Melissa.
I also love to volunteer because it reminds me of how the money that I’m helping nonprofit organizations raise is being used. It’s important to keep this in mind when designing campaigns to acquire new supporters or raise awareness for a cause. It’s fun to feel physically tired after a day off good deeds. The results from our efforts at Convio last week: almost 30 projects completed in 7 states and DC which amounts to thousands of hours donated to help out some great causes. Check out pictures from several of the projects at our Convio Flickr photo set for Convio Cares Week 2010.
Update: I forgot to mention another generous donor who helped us out on the project. HOME DEPOT La Frontera donated: 4 area rugs, chain for curtain system and other small items like zip ties, adhesive spray. The rugs were a huge help because they can generally be so expensive. Thanks Home Depot!
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