Reading is FUNdamental!

One of the easiest and most fun ways our employees get out in the community and volunteer is by reading with students at local schools. This fall, several OtterBox employees (and our very own OtterCares Foundation Executive Director, Gary) participated in Read-A-Thon volunteer events at three different elementary schools- Putnam and Irish elementaries in Fort Collins, Colorado and Centennial Elementary in Greeley, Colorado!

Gary Centennial Read A Thon NovReading aloud to students creates numerous educational benefits and also helps foster a love of literature among students. In fact, a report from Education World notes, “From being read to repeatedly, children learn that reading is enjoyable, that pictures provide clues to the story, that books and print go from left to right, that print represents words and meaning, that stories have a beginning and an end. By listening, watching, and asking questions, they add to their vocabulary and increase their comprehension.”

The experience is also fun and beneficial for our volunteers. OtterBox volunteer Whitney said, “I had an absolute BLAST this morning reading with the kiddos!!” This easy and fun volunteer opportunity creates a huge positive impact and classrooms are always on the lookout for community volunteer to come read to their students. So what are you waiting for? Contact your local school district TODAY to find out how you can help!

OtterCares Ambassador Spotlight: Barbara L.

Barbara is a Senior Engineering Specialist in our San Diego office and an integral part of the OtterCares Ambassadors team. She spearheaded our first San Diego volunteer fair earlier this year and truly enjoys working to get others involved in the community. Read more below about Barbara’s volunteer work with OtterCares!

Why did you become an OtterCares Ambassador?  So that I could make a direct 10680063_611854852274054_8628397744075977170_oimpact on people’s lives who are in need and to assist, teach and create opportunities for our employees to volunteer so that they also can help people in need.

Who or what has influenced your volunteer work?  It makes me very happy to work for a company that offers such a great program like OtterCares.  The OtterCares Foundation provides me with the opportunities to fulfill my desires to help others in need, and to help others understand and learn how to volunteer.  Also, it gives us the opportunity to work with youth organizations that support our mission to teach children the values and knowledge of philanthropy and an entrepreneurial way of thinking which will provide continuous growth to the youth with these ideas and support.

What types of volunteer events have you planned in your office?  The first volunteer activity I organized for our employees was a day to clean up an area in a State Park that was overtaken by Fennel.  Fennel is a very fast growing plant that becomes fuel for fires, and in San Diego this is very dangerous considering we have droughts and very high risk of fires.  Another organization we volunteered at was the St. Vincent de Paul Village where we served lunch to the homeless.  This was quite an eye-opening experience for some of our employees.  Some of the employees felt such overwhelming emotions, that they will be volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul again and again.

IMG_3014Describe your favorite volunteer activity: My favorite volunteer activity is finding and setting up the opportunities for others to volunteer.  I enjoy finding the organizations and working with the representatives to learn about their cause and organize ways that our employees can help and make an impactful distance.  I enjoy facilitating the creation of relationship building and events with the organizations.

Why do you think the OtterCares purpose is important? It is just so wonderful to work for a company that supports philanthropy and entrepreneurial spirit.  These efforts must be supported and are very important to our society.  It takes a village is the saying, right?   So we are a village and we have the opportunities at our fingertips to make a positive difference in others’ lives in so many ways.  We have the ability to help others in need today and to promote this attitude and way of thinking and living our daily lives.  It’s a joy to work for a company that provides this generous opportunity to all of its employees.

Volunteers Build “Skills to Achieve” In Boston

IMG_1725 Last month, five Otters from our Boston office hosted students from an area high school onsite for the Junior Achievement “Skills to Achieve” program. This one-day intensive program takes place at the corporate location and helps show students what types of skills are needed to succeed in specific industries. The program included lessons taught by OtterBox employees on STEM-related subjects applicable to the workplace and also general life skills such as financial literacy.

IMG_1712Following the more formal lessons, students were then immersed into the workplace while participating in a tour of the OtterBox facility and seeing our work in action! The volunteers enjoyed showing off their skills and getting kids energized about various career opportunities. Employee Shay said that her favorite part of volunteering was providing the tour of the facility. “I was surprised at how interested the students were in the program and our work!” Another volunteer, Damien, echoed the sentiment saying his favorite part was “seeing the kids’ faces when I fired up the machines and showed them how they operate.”

IMG_1704Our volunteers got just as much out of this great program as the students. “Every time I volunteer with Junior Achievement, it’s a learning experience not only for the students but for me as well,” said volunteer, Drew. “I learn through interacting with them, seeing their thought process, and helping them decide on possible career interests and paths.”

Overall, both volunteers and students loved this unique opportunity to extend learning outside of the traditional classroom and into a real-world setting. One volunteer, Ramon, said it best. “If there is a way to educate a student and show them that there are many opportunities they can accomplish, I want to be a part of supporting that.”