Last week, I had the pleasure of attending an Intel event celebrating employee volunteer efforts in Oregon. I learned that in 2016, 6,000 Intel employees in Oregon volunteered their time and talents. Not only did their dedication generate 296,500 volunteer hours for the betterment of the greater Portland community, the Intel Foundation matched the employee volunteer hours by donating 1.8 million dollars through the Intel Involved Matching Grant Program. Thanks to their collective efforts, 1,600 schools and nonprofits were positively impacted through blood drives, robotics competitions, hands-on STEM activities, local park clean ups, and more.
During the celebration, Mayor Steve Callaway of the City of Hillsboro stated that we, as a community, are “Northwest nice.” And he is absolutely right! It was amazing to hear how our contributions have helped our local community. I was elated and energized to learn about the unique ways my fellow employees are changing lives. At the event, I met Brandon Barnett and his personal story is one that touched my heart. Brandon is a director at Intel and a father to 15-year-old triplets. One of his triplets was born with a rare genetic syndrome and attends an after-school center near Hillsboro called Imagine Possibilities. The center had a vision of building a sensory garden where individuals with a range of abilities could learn about nature using their five senses.
With a $5,000 Matching SEED Grant from the Intel Foundation and the help of employees volunteering their time and knowledge, the wheel-chair accessible sensory garden became a reality. This tranquil space helps Brandon’s son and other program participants connect with nature in a calming rather than overwhelming way. This was just one of the many outstanding examples of employees working hand-in-hand with the community to make a difference.
What was even more encouraging to me was that Oregon was not the only site to host a recognition event because of the incredible volunteer efforts of local employees. Earlier this year, U.S. sites in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Texas, as well as global sites including Penang, Malaysia held similar celebrations to recognize employees for the 1.2 million hours volunteered globally and encourage more employees to volunteer. Learning about all of our efforts including community capacity building, educating the next generation, and restoring natural environments motivated me to take additional action myself. After thinking about what knowledge and skills I have to share with my community, I decided I will volunteer my time to teach students about water stewardship and sustainability. How will YOU contribute to your local community?
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