Wednesday, November 15, 2006


"Global Community Day"

I decided to plug my company's "Global Community Day" with the title of this blog entry, but really what I want to talk about is volunteer work in general. At Citigroup, I am lucky to work at a huge company, the fourth biggest in the world last time I checked, which is able to use its resources to include employee programs and perks that smaller companies may not have. Specifically, we have an official volunteer program, which the company is focusing on for one day this year and proclaiming the first annual Global Community Day (GCD). Obviously, the trailblazers of this initiative are not Michigan or Ohio State grads, or college football fans at all, because GCD is slated for Saturday November 18, 2006. Oh well, I found a volunteer opportunity that starts in the morning and ends at noon, so no worries here. I will be ready for game time at the 40/40 club with at least an hour or two of psychological and consumptional preparation. I am sure "consumptional" is not a word, but I needed an adjective that refers to consumption. Anyway, I sort of can't wait to see how much Jay Z charges for a burger and fries. Will "Hova," himself, be on hand for what ESPN has coined, "Judgment Day?"

Anyway, I regress. We are fortunate enough to have a full-time staff here dedicated to community relations. Our volunteering website offers volunteer opportunities throughout the world that the community relations staff seeks out so that employees can find various ways to get involved in the community. You are asked to create a profile where you stipulate your interests and your geography so that matches can be made between incoming volunteer projects and your volunteer profile. You can sign up straight through the website or other participation requirements are stated in the activity description. For GCD, I am working on the project, "Citigroup Cares for Dogs and Cats at NYC Animal Care & Control" at the Manhattan Animal Care Center located in Spanish Harlem.

Animal Care & Control of New York City [AC&C] is the only animal care organization in New York City that never turns away animals. Since 1995 the AC&C has been the organization responsible for New York City's municipal shelter system, rescuing, caring for, and finding loving homes for homeless and abandoned animals in New York City. AC&C facilities operate in all five boroughs, and maintain 15 vans to pick up lost and abandoned animals throughout the city. In 2003, over 50,000 animals passed through the doors of AC&C facilities.

Volunteering at U of M is second nature to most of us. So many opportunities exist, and so many students are leading student groups and clubs that take on a social, cultural, or other community issues. All you have to do is go to Festifall or the winter semester version of Festifall (what is it called?), and hundreds of clubs will offer and welcome your participation in a wide range of volunteer possibilities. Outside of the university community, it is more difficult to get involved in community service as we are forced to seek out volunteer projects on our own, and for many of us, our free time is reduced to weekday nights and weekends only. That is why having a volunteer program at work is so crucial to getting working professionals involved in the community. I applaud the efforts of companies who are able to provide this valuable resource to their employees.

Keep your hunger for philanthropic and volunteer work alive during and after your Michigan years. The most common story I hear from other recent college grads is that they no longer know how to get involved in community programs after leaving their universities. It is harder, as I have said already, but you just have to put forth greater effort, and I guarantee you that volunteering after college will continue to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience that can help yourself as much or more than you help others. After all, if you have ever volunteered before, you already know, you get more when you give more.

M Go Blue. Beat Ohio Staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate.

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