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As I write this article and think about why I look for opportunities to volunteer and give back, I begin to reflect on who I am as a person. The simple fact is that I am a product of the “System.”
When I was 6 years old, I was put in foster care because my biological mother was considered unfit to care for me. In summary, this was a traumatic time in my life. Ultimately, my grandparents were given the opportunity to raise me. My grandfather could not read or write, and my grandmother had a middle school education. I had to find it in myself to want more and strive for more in terms of my education. Part of this involved realizing that my circumstances then did not have to dictate my future circumstances. It takes courage and determination to break the cycle of drugs and abuse, whether it be emotional, physical or alcohol abuse.
Along the way, there were many people who saw something in me that I did not initially see in myself, including teachers, coaches, and even complete strangers. As an adult, I realized that many of those people didn’t look like me. So, why volunteer? For me, I want to be the CHANGE I want to see tomorrow. I want to be an example for others and I’m grateful that Schneider Electric supports me on this lifelong journey.
I’ve exercised my passion for volunteering by working with different organizations over the years, opting to partake in individual volunteer efforts as well:
Volunteering with a Local Children’s Hospital
I organized an event where we adopted 10+ families during the holiday season. One family included a 6-month-old baby girl who was taken from her mother due to drug usage. At the time, her father was recently released from prison. These parents needed all the resources that a 6-month-old baby would need, from diapers to wipes. I’m proud to report that with the resources collected, she was set!
18+ Years Volunteering with the United Way
The most recent volunteer event that I worked on was with the United Way of Milwaukee & Waukesha County, a nonprofit organization that works to eradicate poverty in health, education, housing, and workforce development through mobilizing people and resources. The volunteer project included Technology United, which aims to bridge the digital divide by distributing 10,000 devices a year for the next 5 years to communities in need. I’ve been committed to the United Way for over 18 years, and love this organization dearly.
I also organized a team of about 100 people to help beautify a school in the inner city of Milwaukee before the children returned to their classes in the fall. This project holds a special place in my heart because the schools would invite us to return and see the impact that our work had on the lives of the students, which was the most rewarding feeling.
Lessons Learned Through Giving Back
Volunteering is a huge part of who I am, and the projects that I work on pour into me as much as I pour into them. My time spent volunteering has taught me some great lessons, including the following:
- Don’t Change Who You Are – All the experiences in my life, the good and the bad, help define who I am as a person. I would not change that for the world. Embrace who you are and allow that to lead the way in your effort to help others.
- Dream Big! – Have a plan, even if it changes. As a kid, all I wanted was a quality education, to not drink, smoke or use drugs. I’m proud to say that with dedication and focus, I have held to all of those things and achieved my goals.
- Be the CHANGE you want to see tomorrow! – Be an example for others; I tend to look for volunteer opportunities that provide me with a chance to give back to the little kids that I once resembled.
Advice to Readers
Volunteering provides you the opportunity to do good for others and your community and give back to those around you. I encourage you to spend some time volunteering with local organizations – you never know the lessons you will learn and the impact you can make!
The Importance of Giving Back
As a company, Schneider Electric is proud to support many different community organizations. Hear from our employees about how they give back through organizations such as the American Heart Association, FIRST Robotics, and Special Kids in some of our other Life at Schneider Electric blogs and in the video below.
Schneider Electric encourages volunteerism among its employees by underwriting the costs of charitable work, donating money to organizations her employees are involved with, and providing paid time off to volunteer. If you’re looking for a company with great benefits and great people, apply today! Search Schneider Electric jobs
About the Author
Latasha Reindl serves as the Director of Service Operations Excellence and is excited to be approaching her 2-year mark with Schneider Electric. A Milwaukee native, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, studying Economics and Business, before attending Concordia University, where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Business with a Finance concentration. She lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with her husband and 2 kids, and looks forward to many more years of volunteering in her community.
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