Written by Margie Grillo, RTi Research

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Most people would agree that, as we move through life, our days become increasingly hectic and challenging. We try to make the most of our time and often feel that we cannot possibly spare a moment for “optional” commitments – including “volunteerism”. It is, however, in fulfilling these types of commitments that we often find the most satisfaction. Volunteering gives us a chance to step outside of our daily lives and help those who are in need, whether through the circumstances of life or the result of a natural disaster. It is rewarding and even mentally refreshing.

Volunteering with a group of co-workers super-charges the benefits of donating our time; and it fosters team building and provides camaraderie outside of the office setting. americares in neighboring Stamford, CT recently sent the word to RTi and other local companies that they needed help. They asked for two hours of our time to help assemble toiletry kits for those affected by the recent hurricanes. A dozen RTi employees signed up for the challenge and, on a chilly October evening, we met with other volunteers at the americares warehouse.

RTi had the distinction of being the largest single volunteer group from one organization. Our team spanned various ages, included both men and women, and had representation from several job functions within the company. On this unique evening, we were all working in the same capacity, towards the same goal.

We took on different roles; some folded towels, some made kits, others did quality control. We were all working towards one goal – to make 3,000 kits in two hours. Working steadily, we reached the goal in less than the allotted two hours. At that point, we “hung up our work gloves” and stopped to have pizza and soda, and chat briefly about the positive impact the experience had on us. Then we each embarked on the journey home, some near and others up to a two-hour drive. From near or far, we had all shown up for the same reason: to lend a hand to our fellow humans in need.

The next morning found us back in the office in our familiar roles, but there was definitely a lingering energy we all felt from the prior evening, knowing that we had worked together to help make others’ difficulties easier to bear; to make the world a better place in a small but meaningful way.

There are so many ways to volunteer. In past years, our RTi family has participated in various volunteer activities: food and toy drives, walks to raise funds for cancer research and even litter clean-up in local parks. We will continue to look for company volunteer opportunities because we know there are so many local organizations that need our help. And the satisfaction and togetherness we feel after a volunteer experience is immeasurable. The next time you are looking for a way to bring employees together outside of the work environment, consider volunteerism. Everyone comes out a winner.

“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.