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An extraordinary day of surprises and community service at work

By Ameka Kosmala

How much do you like surprises at work? Delayed project meetings or another deadline pushed forward are not happy surprises.

On Monday, October 26,  there was another type of surprise in store for us. The entire student body at the SAP Academy in Dublin, California, had the privilege of heading to the West coast HQ, the Palo Alto office, for a surprise volunteering event.

The four-hour afternoon started off with team building activities where we got to know our peers better, as well as activities to challenge our current state of mind. While reading this, cross your arms like normal. Now cross them in the opposite direction. While it may feel uncomfortable, the message is clear, going against our instinct is hard, but change and thinking differently are possible. I loved it.

The pinnacle of the afternoon was the challenge to build a bike from scratch in the short time of an hour. When the clock struck five, I was a little lost. I questioned how this, while great motivation and team building, was related to community service and volunteering. Like all great surprises, this one lingered on the edge of confusion and distraction.

Suddenly, in single file, from youngest to oldest, a group of 38 kindergartners and elementary school students were ushered into the room. The bikes were for the kids***. I had never done something like this before and was overwhelmed seeing the kids’ faces light up with excitement. I had done some volunteer work in the past, but none that delivered such happiness to someone. What a fantastic way to show how change and challenge can lead to joy and happiness for yourself and others. Thanks SAP.

***(The handover of bikes was symbolic. The bikes had to go through a rigorous inspection by an expert before the kids could take them home!)

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