Every year Convio employees dedicate one day to going out into the community and volunteering our time during Convio Cares Week. What does this have to do with me, you might ask? Everything! It is extremely important to take time away from the computer and meet people face to face. I spend my entire day in front of a computer (and sometimes entire evenings) and I’ve found that it’s very easy to start disconnecting the work I do from the people I do it for – embarrased as I am to admit that. That’s why I like to break out of my routine and try to connect with my clients as directly as I can and understand what they go through every day. Going out and volunteering my time with a nonprofit gives me the opportunity to live a day in their shoes and see life from their perspective. The sense of connection I get by trying to see things from a nonprofit point of view inspires and movitates me.
This year some of my coworkers and I were inspired to volunteer with an organization called TAP – Theatre Action Project, which works with youngsters to encourage creative expression while learning critical life skills and building self-esteem and confidence.
We painted colorful signs for one of their weekend events and tied together thousands of paper cranes. The paper cranes, I learned, were to be sent to Japan in honor of a young girl affected by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima named Sadako. Inspired by an old Japanese saying that a person who folded 1,000 cranes would be granted a wish, Sadako attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes while sick in the hospital. She fell short of her goal and passed away, but her schoolmates decided to complete the cranes for her and buried them all with her. Now kids from all over the world carry on this tradition and send their completed cranes to Japan in honor of Sadako. Kids from several different schools around Austin had created thousands of these colorful origami paper cranes too and they needed to be strung together in strands of 50. So we got to work…
And they turned out beautifully I think! We managed to get them all strung together and ready to go. We completed our signs and we even had time to help out with a few other tasks.
It felt really good to help TAP, but it also helped me to see things from a different perspective – from the other side of the computer. I hope to connect again and again with other nonprofits like this. Doing so helps me to be better at what I do every day, which, I hope ultimately helps my nonprofit clients.
If you’d like to see more photos from this year’s Convio Cares Week, please visit the Convio Cares 2009 photos on Flickr.