Modernizing Medicine’s Volunteer Time Off: A Day at Gumbo Limbo

Luxury shopping. Retiree playground. Verdant golf courses. A hot health IT company. Boca Raton gains regular attention for all of these newsworthy items, but one of the hidden gems of this seaside enclave is Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Visitors to the nature center will ooh and ah while peering at the inhabitants of the four outdoor marine aquariums, walking in the hammock on the Boardwalk Trail, visiting the patients recuperating in the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility and learning about the studies being conducted in the Florida Atlantic University Research Gallery. Visitors will also learn that Gumbo Limbo was named after the native flora also known as the tourist tree due its distinctive peeling, red bark.

The Zen Room and Bagel Fridays rank as incredible perks to working at Modernizing Medicine. But one of the more unique benefits is the Volunteer Time Off (VTO), or one paid day per calendar year that the company gives employees to dedicate to community service through volunteer work. At the end of last year I decided to spend my VTO at Gumbo Limbo. While December 26 was looking to be a relatively quiet day at the office, the day after Christmas proved to be a busy one at the nature center. In fact, by 11:00 a.m. we welcomed over 400 visitors from near and far. Most guests wandered by my post at the Deep Water and Shipwreck Tanks – always favorites due to the two-story aquatic habitats complete with a giant coral reef, faux shipwreck, gorgeous tropical fish, stingrays, sea turtles and more. Kids and adults alike regularly ask what kind of shark that is (it’s a cobia, not a shark), if the shipwreck is real (no, it was built specifically for Gumbo Limbo) and what that skinny, shiny, funny-looking fish is (it’s a lookdown).

Every day at Gumbo Limbo is fun, but this day was particularly engaging. A green sea turtle named Carr returned home to the Shipwreck Tank after a two-week time out in rehab for eating sand. Then a few new Kemp’s Ridley turtles were welcomed to sea turtle rehab, thanks to a cold snap that resulted in about 200 sea turtles being flown to Florida a few weeks earlier. These members of the smallest and most endangered sea turtle species will warm up, vital signs will be monitored, fluids will be provided for hydration and x-rays will look for any signs of injury or illness. After the capable staff members nurse them back to health, the turtles will return to their natural habitat.

There are many benefits to being a Modernizing Medicine employee, and I am appreciative for all of them. However, one of the benefits the company provides employees is the ability to give back, something especially important to many of us here. As a life-long resident of Boca Raton, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my community.

Modernizing Medicine employees have their pick of how to serve the community through their VTO. For some it’s feeding the hungry by working at a food bank. Others choose to help build a home through Habitat for Humanity or work for another charitable cause. Being a part of an organization that values community and service in addition to what we contribute to the company’s mission is just one more aspect of what makes Modernizing Medicine a great place to work – and is one of the reasons we were at the top of the South Florida Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list for 2015.

We welcome others to join us. Check out our open positions, how “We are Modernizing Medicine” and how we are making a difference in healthcare…and in the communities in which we live.

Aaron Stoklosa
Aaron Stoklosa

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