OtterCares Ambassador Spotlight: Katie M.

As an Associate Manager in the Customer Service Department at Otter Products, Katie is a wonderful leader and an enthusiastic champion for OtterCares. She volunteers regularly herself and also works hard to encourage her peers to get involved too. Read more below about how and why Katie gets involved with OtterCares!

IMG_4781Why did you become an OtterCares Ambassador? Long before I worked for Otter Products, I was assisting a teacher who had gotten a grant for iPads to use with his preschool kids – all of whom were somewhere on the Autism spectrum. He needed cases – I couldn’t sell him one I trusted! So, I emailed a contact at OtterBox, and they sent him cases for all his iPads as a donation. I got the bug then. 2 years later, when I became an Otter – I knew as soon as I heard about OtterCares, that I wanted to be a part of making great things happen in our community.

Why do you volunteer? I volunteer because I have this huge heart and such a small area of influence in the world. I want to set an example for my peers, my team and my daughter. The pieces of myself that I have gained through volunteering are invaluable. All of those are personal reasons – but the impact I can make, the lives altered, – that’s also why I volunteer, for the beneficiaries.

Describe a volunteer activity with OtterCares that has impacted you significantly: In 2013, there was a challenge set forth by OtterCares – The Dare to Care project. We were able, as a department, to choose a nonprofit and create events to engage both the public and Otter Products communities in supporting that nonprofit. My team adopted an organization, A Precious Child, in Broomfield that is solely dedicated to outfitting kids with clothes, backpacks, and sports equipment. I learned a lot about others during that project – and myself even more so. The relationship that was created with that nonprofit during that time is lasting – I was asked to be an Advisory Board Member for A Precious Child and I am now involved regularly with the organization.

Katie3Describe your favorite volunteer activity: Junior Achievement is a program that goes to different elementary schools and provides volunteers to teach classes focused on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills. This year, I taught 5 classes to a classroom of kindergartners. It was quite a touching experience and honestly, it was the most fulfilling, personal fun I have had this year with OtterCares.

Why do you think the OtterCares purpose is important? Sure, I could tell you it’s about the lives we impact with the work we do. That is 100% true. We change people through our volunteering. However, the people I genuinely believe are the most changed are us. The Otters, the ones given the opportunity to give back. That internal ripple effect is wide, and continues to spread long after they have completed their day volunteering.

Thanks to our Ambassadors for A Great Year!

Each year, the OtterCares Foundation relies on an amazing group of volunteers from IMG_5537Otter Products and Blue Ocean to help accomplish our goals and engage employees and 2014 was no different. This year we had 68 amazing OtterCares Ambassadors who represented all departments and locations of each company. These hardworking volunteers represent the voice, eyes and ears of the OtterCares Foundation to their coworkers and peers. They drive volunteer projects within their department, engage fellow employees in OtterCares initiatives and help come up with brilliant ideas to advance the mission of OtterCares.  Some of the amazing things they have accomplished as a group this year are:

  • Helped raise over $160,000 for organizations that exemplify the OtterCares mission through our G3 Challenge employee fundraising event
  • Collected more than 4000 books that were distributed at our annual Pack2School event
  • Set up more than 50 volunteer events that helped Otter Products and Blue Ocean employees contribute more than 9,000 hours of volunteer time in 2014
  • Achieved 69% participation rate in employee volunteer programs at Otter Products and Blue Ocean

20141212_194443As a group, this year’s OtterCares Ambassadors achieved some truly incredible things and we are thankful for all of them! We also recognize one Ambassador each year that has truly gone above and beyond with our coveted Silver Heart Award. This year’s award went to Drew Hovanec from the OtterBox Boston office. Drew was selected as this year’s recipient because of his enthusiasm for the OtterCares mission and vision and his uncanny ability to engage others around him. He led several volunteer projects in his office and was a true champion for OtterCares. Thank you to Drew, and truly THANK YOU to all of our amazing OtterCares Ambassadors who do so much for the foundation every year! We are looking forward to another wonderful year in 2015!

A Holiday Surprise for Timnath Elementary!

On December 15th a group of elves from the OtterCares Foundation surprised the principal at Timnath Elementary by delivering 25 brand new iPads for the school. OtterCares Executive Director Gary Rogers and Coordinator Adam Molzer set up a meeting with Principal Lori Sander to learn more about their STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) programs. Little did she know that just 10 minutes into that meeting, a group from the OtterCares Foundation would interrupt to deliver a Christmas surprise!

017The donation of these 25 iPads is made possible through OtterCares’ annual “Not-So-Ordinary Ornament” holiday campaign. The campaign raises funds to support innovative education by offering limited edition Christmas ornaments to Otter Products and Blue Ocean Enterprises employees.  The proceeds from these ornaments are used to provide iPads for a chosen school and this year’s school, Timnath Elementary, is a wonderful recipient. As a STEM school with a focus on the creative inquiry process, they exemplify the OtterCares Foundation mission and vision and we look forward to seeing how they utilize these iPads to achieve their educational goals.

Principal Lori Sander noted that “As a small school, most of our budget goes to staffing soNot-So-Ordinary Ornament we rely on the PTO for other expenses like paper for the copy machines. We’ve talked about iPads but the cost is exorbitant so there’s no way we could have funded these on our own. I’m floored and so excited to put them to good use!”

Read more about this year’s ornament at www.ottercares.org/ornament and check back later this year for more stories about how Timnath Elementary is using these iPads to advance innovative education in their classrooms!