The Heart of OtterCares- Our Employee Volunteers

IMG_7984Engaging OtterBox and One Team Company employees in our mission is a significant part of the work we do at the OtterCares Foundation. In fact, in 2013, more than 460 employees contributed over 5,800 volunteer hours to the community through our Volunteer Time Off program. This benefit allows employees to take up to 24 hours of paid time off per year to volunteer in their community. Employees take part in a variety of activities including volunteering at local schools, teaching Junior Achievement classes, outdoor clean-up and trail work projects, helping at the food bank, and more! Our largest single-day employee volunteer event each year is our Pack2School backpack and school supply event in the fall, which utilized over 150 employee volunteers in 2013.

The success of this employee volunteer program is driven by a dedicated and hardworking group of employee volunteers aptly named the OtterCares Ambassadors. These employees represent all departments and locations within the company and are official volunteers for OtterCares. They help champion and guide OtterCares efforts within their departments and rally participation and support from their peers. In a single word… they are incredible.

Otterbox-Xmas-2013-0121Each year at the company Christmas party, the OtterCares Foundation recognizes one outstanding OtterCares Ambassador with the Silver Heart Award. For 2013, it was awarded to Peggy Elkins, an executive administrator for the Blue Ocean company. Peggy was chosen for her passion, enthusiasm and ongoing support of OtterCares, not only in her own department but also throughout OtterBox. She rallied her department to raise more than $100,000 during the 2013 Dare to Care employee fundraising challenge and her encouragement of volunteerism drove her coworkers to contribute more than 680 volunteer hours last year.  Volunteers like Peggy (and last year’s Silver Heart Award winner Randy Duffy) are absolutely essential to the success of OtterCares and the advancement of our mission. They are the true heart of OtterCares and we could not be more grateful for the wonderful work they do in the community and to support the foundation.

Volunteer Spotlight: Angela B.

Why do you volunteer with Partners Mentoring Youth? I actually had a friend suggest that I volunteer with Partners Mentoring Youth.  When I looked into the program further, I was so excited to find out about the School Based Mentoring program (SBM). With School Based Mentoring, you commit to an hour a week with your partner during school hours.  Being a mother of a young child, this option sounded amazing to me. I knew that I could make a difference in our community without taking time away from my family.

Angela & Lyric

Describe your volunteer role as a Senior Partner. I love volunteering through Partners Mentoring Youth.  When I initially started the program, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would my partner want to meet with me every week? What would they expect from me? What would we talk about? Any anxiety that I may have had was eased after meeting with Lara Reid, the SBM Program Coordinator.  We chatted for about an hour and half about my upbringing, my interests, and the age group I was interested in partnering with.  She then matched me with a partner who was a great fit. We meet every week, and never run out of things to talk (and laugh) about.

What motivates you to volunteer/enjoy most? There is motivation all around me! Working for OtterBox and having this great base of resources and encouragement to volunteer is phenomenal. The biggest motivation though, is my partner. She is really coming into her own, and I am so excited to watch her graduate next year.

What is your fondest memory of volunteering? We always have a great time, and we keep it really simple. My best memory would probably be when she made fun of my driving. (I tend to start talking and forget where I am going).  I could tell that she trusted me and felt comfortable being herself around me.

Do you have any advice for those who are interested in volunteering with Partners Mentoring Youth? There are so many kids in our community who are waiting to be matched with a mentor.  If you are considering it, don’t wait! Contact Partners and they will talk you through the different types of partnerships that are available. I knew that I wanted to mentor a teenage girl at Rocky Mountain High School and Partners was able to find a great match.  Now we have formed a lasting friendship, which is so rewarding.

Teaching the “Three Ts”

On April 25th the OtterBox offices were overrun with a boisterous group of 25 special visitors- some of our employees’ kids who participated in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Students ages 7-14 enjoyed the day learning about what their parents do at work and discovering what it means to be an “Otter.”

IMG_2094A big part of our company culture is giving back to the community and so this special day presented a great opportunity for us to talk with the kids about philanthropy. We brainstormed ideas to give back using the three Ts (time, talent and treasure) such as: Volunteering time to pick up trash at a local park, sharing the talent of singing by performing at a retirement home, and donating treasures such as clothing and books that are not used anymore to families in need.

At OtterCares, we believe that everyone, no matter their age, has something to give and we invest and participate in programs that encourage kids to give back. We are proud to represent a company of caring employees and to have the opportunity to share that caring spirit with their kids too!