On a recent Monday morning, instead of my usual routine of managing my team of consultants in implementing Salesforce with our clients, I had the privilege of experiencing a local nonprofit’s work first hand. Thanks to Cloud for Good’s Social Responsibility Program I was able to take Volunteer Time Off and along with my 10-year-old son who was off from school, volunteer our time to help disabled people in other parts of the world get access to life-changing wheelchairs and other assistive devices.
While I am very proud of the work Cloud for Good does in architecting technology solutions to help organizations deliver their mission and vision, there is nothing better than doing hands on volunteer work that impacts constituents directly.
I chose to spend my day volunteering with UCP Wheels for Humanity, an organization that increases access to mobility for children, teens and adults with physical disabilities in developing countries. There are 59 million people in the world who need access to wheelchairs and don’t have it. In the United States there are many wheelchairs that people are no longer using which would normally end up in our landfills. Wheels for Humanity recycles these unused wheelchairs and other mobility aids, rehabilitates them and fits them to children and adults in developing countries.
When my son and I arrived at the warehouse, we were shown a video about Revi, a 10-year-old girl in Indonesia with spina-bifida. Before she received her wheelchair from Wheels for Humanity the only way she had to get around was to crawl or her mother had to carry her. As you can imagine, the gift of a wheelchair for Revi changed the lives of not only her but her entire family. Revi can now go to school and play with her friends while her mother is able to focus on the work she needs to do. Given that Revi is the same age as my son, I was struck by the alternate life we might have had if the circumstances were reversed.
Then we were given a tour of the warehouse and operation which is quite impressive. There were rows upon rows of parts from the smallest screws and nuts, to foot rests, to the wheels and tires. Some had just arrived and needed to be sorted while others were categorized and ready to grab when a wheelchair was being rebuilt. As we moved toward the back of the warehouse we could see hundreds of wheelchairs newly rebuilt and fitted for a specific disabled person, awaiting shipment to their new owners. And finally there were boxes ready to be shipped around the world.
We worked side by side with both able-bodied volunteers and those in wheelchairs, some of whom had been volunteering daily for more than 10 years. We watched as they lovingly assembled wheelchairs making sure each part was assembled exactly right. We ended the day tired, sore, and covered with dust but feeling a great sense of accomplishment viewing all the parts we’d matched up and organized so those building the wheelchairs can find the exact parts they need quickly.
I returned to work the next day feeling energized and inspired to dive back into my work at Cloud for Good. While I’m not able to experience the impact of our work as directly as I did during my volunteer work, it helped me remember that behind the spreadsheets of data we migrate and the system architecture we design and implement there are people and important issues that our work is helping to impact to create positive change in the world.
There is plenty of evidence about employee volunteerism that quantifies exactly what I experienced. According to a post on Truist.com, employer volunteer programs increase employee engagement and that has a ripple effect on productivity. There are additional benefits of volunteerism such as improved physical and mental health and increased happiness. I believe that Cloud for Good’s Social Responsibility program is a win-win-win for all involved and I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes and promotes the social good. I can’t wait to schedule my next Volunteer Time Off.
Read about our program here: Cloud for Good Unveils Its Corporate Social Responsibility Program.