At RTP, we’ve long known the value of bringing colleagues together to collaborate on a volunteer project. Not only do they enjoy the satisfaction of giving back to the community, but it’s fun to spend time with people in a different environment outside of the workplace. Volunteers get to know colleagues they might not work with closely every day and create lasting bonds that come with sharing a meaningful experience.
There are also unexpected benefits that come from volunteering. Josh Woodruff, Projects Manager for RTP has seen it up close. “When groups of people from an organization volunteer together, a different dynamic can occur. Leaders emerge who might not normally serve in that capacity in their day-to-day work. You might see one of your workmates in a completely different light or appreciate skills and qualities you never knew they had.”
This very thing happened when staff, student and faculty volunteers from Woodside Priory School teamed up to tackle the landscaping at the home of an elderly woman in San Bruno. Ivy had taken over the yard, damaging the back deck and encroaching on the house — truly a jungle! The team launched in and as they started, Josh observed an interesting thing. The school janitor, Henry, was the person getting everyone organized and providing the leadership needed to complete this big project. The traditional leaders at the school – administrators, teachers – were taking their cues from Henry and following his lead. At the end of a long day of hard work, Henry was clearly the MVP. It was a boost for him on that day, but also carried over into the workplace, where everyone on the team now has a new appreciation for the hero in their midst.