Volunteering at the Workplace
October 18, 2022, Lori Dossett
Often one of the biggest barriers to volunteering is finding time in a busy work schedule. Our site-based mentoring program eases this challenge by bringing matches together at the workplace. Matches typically meet over the lunch hour to participate in fun activities or just hang out together. Volunteers appreciate the convenience of mentoring without leaving their workplace while still creating a rewarding relationship with a child.
Grey Jenkins has been a site-based volunteer through Cargill. He started at Cargill in 2017, shortly after graduating college. “During my first two months, I remember talking with a colleague who was a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters about her relationship with her Little,” remembers Grey. “I had been looking for volunteer opportunities and mentoring felt like the perfect fit. Cargill encourages its employees to volunteer and the site-based program allows me to volunteer without having to leave the office!”
During his five years as a volunteer, Grey has mentored two students from Harvest Best Academy, a public charter school in Minneapolis. On top of being an outstanding mentor and role model, Grey has also volunteered to recruit his coworkers. “Because of his efforts,” says Stephen Eskro, BBBS Educational Programs Coordinator, “we have more Cargill employees signing up to become Bigs!”
“My colleagues sometimes see me walking around with board games, and they ask, ‘Grey, what’re you doing? Are you not working?’” Grey responds by explaining, “I’m a Big with BBBS, and I’m hanging out with my Little!”
When asked why he chose to become a Big, Grey reflected, “It’s a great opportunity to interact with kids and create a positive impact on their life as well as mine. I’ve done a lot of fun things with my Little, like playing Black History trivia, discussing career and college plans, and packing meals for homeless shelters.” Grey’s experience shows that there is usually a way to fit volunteering into your life if you choose to make it a priority.