Giving Back to Our Community

There are a lot of holidays and observances to commemorate this time of year, some well worth celebrating (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah) and some that you probably won’t even realize you missed (Cookie Cutter Week, Faux Fur Friday, National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day). There is one lesser-known December observance that deserves more of a spotlight: Giving Tuesday.

Celebrated each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday is meant to encourage individuals, businesses, and communities worldwide to come together to celebrate generosity and give back. At Rogards, we applaud that effort. We believe that being involved with and serving our community is a vital part of our mission as a small, locally owned business. Over the years that we’ve been fortunate enough to work with several local charities to help those in need, and earlier this year, we implemented a new program that we hope will allow us to help even more: our Community Plus Program.

Tonya Horn, president of Rogards Office Plus, explains: “We established Rogards’ Community Plus Program to allow our employees to use a set amount of paid time each quarter to get out into the community and work with local non-profit organizations. There are so many worthy organizations in our community, and many of them need help during work hours. This is a way to give our employees the opportunity to work with the organizations of their choosing, and to not exclude opportunities for service that occur when they’re ‘on the clock’ with us. Having a program like this has been a part of my vision for the company since we took ownership, and I’m pleased that we were able to implement it this year.” Our staff has been enthusiastic about the program and has been actively seeking volunteer opportunities. Here are some stories from our volunteers’ experiences.

Account Manager Sarah Dean and Marketing Coordinator Heather Culbertson are volunteering with WILL’s Book Mentor Program. Book Mentors visit early childhood classrooms once a month to share a book and do an activity with the children in the class. At the end of the day, each child gets to take home a copy of the book that was read. The program serves 42 classrooms, and more than 4,000 books are given to 700 families annually. “I was so happy to find out about this program”, says Heather. “I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. Learning to read was really exciting for me, and I would love for it to seem as exciting to the kids we visit. Reading is an important life skill, but it can also be so much fun. If we can share that sense of fun, it won’t even feel like work to learn to read.” Sarah says, “I enjoy being able to volunteer, especially with children, because I know I’m investing in the future. And by volunteering locally, I’m actually building the next generation of our community and it feels good to have that positive impact. Even though it’s a small thing, my reading to these kids is creating a positive experience with reading and learning.” (Click here for more information on the program and to read a profile of Sarah Dean in this month’s Patterns magazine.)

Customer Service Representative Debbie Ebeling is volunteering at Courage Connection’s Connections store. Courage Connection provides housing and supportive services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or who are victims of domestic violence. In 2014, they offered shelter to 330 people, provided 277 people with court advocates, counseled 217 victims of domestic violence, and answered 935 hotline phone calls. Their Connections store offers free emergency and professional clothing to Courage Connection clients, and the proceeds from store sales help to support Courage Connection programs. Debbie is glad to be working with them. “I’ve volunteered in the past with the Eagles and it feels very rewarding to be able to give back to the community. Now, Rogards has given me a new opportunity to volunteer. The people at Connections are so kind, and are very grateful for the help. It is fulfilling to know I am helping others in need.”

Our goal with the Community Plus Program is to donate over 250 hours to charity each year. We hope to continue to increase our team’s participation and add additional programs and initiatives in the years to come.