The New SF Gold Rush Hasn’t Hit Everyone – But We’re Here to Help
Month of Service was GREAT this year! SAP Silicon Valley exceeded last year’s numbers significantly, and I believe there were many reasons for this:
- There were notifications and opportunities coming from all sides, such as CSR and the volunteer ambassadors (of which I am one), the Silicon Valley engagement team and the SV ambassadors, the affinity groups, and executives.
- The wide variety of opportunities, times, and locations made it easy for employees and their friends and families to participate in multiple opportunities.
- There was a high level of desire by team managers to use Month of Service for team building activities.
In my case, I participated in two projects and led two others.
- The Pride@SAP group hosted about a dozen Latino college-aged youth from the Palo Alto-based Outlet LGBT support program to come to campus and learn about SAP, Pride, and our campus. This activity was led by one of our newer Pride members who became a volunteer ambassador. The feedback from the attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and I believe we had some influence on their lives.
- The Pride group also went to YouthSpace, a San Jose-based LGBT support center, to paint their facility and build shelving for their materials and equipment. They have a lovely space that we beautified with paint, shelving, and furniture donated by SAP. CSR even provided a grant to the organization that they can use for programming and supplies.
- I led an open event for all employees in which we helped out at the SF-Marin Food Bank in San Francisco. That evening was oatmeal packaging night. Our group of 19 volunteers, which made up about a third of the overall volunteer workforce that night, took oatmeal that was in large sacks and, in assembly line fashion, measured the food into one-pound pouches that we then sealed and labeled. In this size, the oatmeal could be easily distributed to, and then consumed by, families in need. This project was not only fulfilling, but fun, and was a great opportunity for employees from across Silicon Valley to meet each other. While there was one small team from GCO within our group, the rest of us came from across the company and its campuses in Silicon Valley. I recruited for this event by e-mailing my contacts, creating and posting a short recruitment video, and generally talking it up. But I actually think most of the sign-ups came from people seeing the opportunity on Benevity.
- Finally, I led an event as a team-building activity for my team, the Silicon Valley-based folks on Penny Valencia’s Global Audience Marketing Team. With the help of Rob Glickman who had a prior relationship with the organization, we participated in meal serving at Glide, a non-profit human services organization in San Francisco that serves 2,100 meals per day to the homeless and others less fortunate than us. The 19 of us who attended made up the bulk of the crew serving dinner one evening. We also learned about the mission and management of Glide, and left impressed by what they are able to do for the community. The irony of living in one of the wealthiest areas of the country but seeing such a large population not benefitting from the current “gold rush” is striking.
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this year’s Month of Service and being part of four activities that generated around 130 people-hours of service. I am thankful that SAP provides us time and resources to give to the community, with the by-products of team building, camaraderie, and socialization among our local area colleagues, friends, and family. I will use my experience this year to encourage more good work from colleagues throughout the year, and of course I am already looking forward to next year’s Month of Service. And if you’re interested in learning about the opportunity to become a volunteer ambassador, please let me know!