By Ashley Reid | March 15, 2022
At YGS, we firmly believe that service to our community and staying true to our principles are of the utmost importance. We begin every company meeting by reaffirming our “FIRST” values—Flexibility, Integrity, Responsibility, Service, and Trust—and every employee makes a strong effort to embody those values daily.
On March 3, (during what we’ve come to affectionately refer to as “the before time”), six female YGS associates (myself included) attended the Junior Achievement Young Women’s Symposium at Lebanon Valley College. We served in a mentorship role, sharing our career journeys with groups of high-school-aged women who were nominated by their schools to participate. Most of the young women were considered to be in the “academic middle”—not the worst students but not the star pupils, either. This group often gets overlooked and underserved.
The ultimate goal was to help those students gain personal and career success skills while exploring varied career options by speaking with us (mentors), listening to guest speakers, and doing practical workshop activities. It was a wonderful experience to bond with these young women, find out where their interests lie, and offer some helpful advice as they navigate their way through this crazy thing called life.
Personally speaking, my favorite part was receiving little notes from the students at the end of the event with sentiments such as “Best mentor ever!” and “Thank you for being understanding, caring, and patient today.” We actually made a positive impact that day. We gave back to our community in a meaningful way. It’s enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
And then, a scant few days later, the world seemed to stop. Our lives were all turned upside down. But the needs of our communities have not only remained—they’ve grown. So, now that we’re in a much different environment, how can we continue giving back to our communities in safe and meaningful ways? Here are some suggestions:
- Donate to nonprofits, charities, and food banks. These are hard financial times for many of us, but if you can, put some of your funds toward a worthy cause. Be sure to do your research, though, to be certain the funds will be used correctly.
- Deliver meals and groceries to the needy. Almost all of us have witnessed firsthand the wonder of contactless delivery, thanks to services such as Grubhub and Uber Eats. Take that idea and run with it! Deliver food to nursing homes, homeless shelters, or even local schools.
- Give blood. Blood donations have decreased dramatically since lockdown started. Contact the Red Cross or other donation sites to lend an arm.
- Reach out and stay in touch. During these days of such isolation, sometimes the kindest and most selfless thing you can do is simply reach out and let someone—a neighbor, a family member, or an old friend—know that you’re thinking about them and that you’re there if they need you. A call, text, email, or even a conversation through a window or glass door can go a long way toward staving off loneliness.
- Volunteer from home. Allforgood.org is a digital hub for volunteerism and community engagement that allows you to search for volunteer projects based on your location. If you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can even host your own project via the site.
Giving back to our communities is more important now than it’s ever been. Take the time to make a difference and put others FIRST.