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My Volunteer Time Off: Put Your Best Foot Forward

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To give is better than to receive. This holds true during the holiday season and the whole year through. Having a volunteer day off where our company encourages employees to take a day out of the office to give back and be involved in the community is a great and unique opportunity and a true reflection of the dynamic company culture.

This year, I had the opportunity to learn more about a local organization making a big impact in children’s lives from as early as elementary school all the way through college. Best Foot Forward, a nonprofit organization based in Boca Raton serves children in foster care all through Palm Beach County. This December I spent my time helping to wrap and organize gifts for their students for their annual holiday gatherings.

About Best Foot Forward (BFF)
First, I wanted to share a bit more about the organization. Before volunteering with BFF, I didn’t fully know their mission or much about the group. According to the organization’s website:

BFF’s mission is to empower foster care youth to maximize their potential by providing essential academic support and guidance. The BFF Foundation is the only nonprofit organization in Palm Beach County dedicated to the educational success of youth who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and have entered the foster care system. Their programs support, guide and empower foster care youth, giving them every opportunity to succeed in school and beyond. BFF is committed to building promising futures for foster care youth and helping each student reach their full potential.

The ages of their students range from elementary all the way through college. And unlike other programs, BFF stays with their students past the age of 18 to follow and support them on their educational journey. From individualized tutoring to core course remediation, SAT/ACT prep, organizational skills and more, BFF uses such strategies that help lead to academic success for students that need it most.

Learning about BFF
I first learned about BFF and the volunteer opportunity through my involvement in the Junior League of Boca Raton (JLBR). JLBR is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. JLBR works with and supports other nonprofits in the area and organizes what are known as Done in a Days (DIADs) where members can select different volunteer shifts in the community and sign up to give back. I was searching our member calendar and I saw the upcoming BFF gift wrapping event and decided to spend my volunteer time off (VTO) day to support their cause and lend a helping hand during the holiday season.

My Day at BFF
When I arrived at the organization’s main offices, I learned that they would need help wrapping and organizing dozens of gifts, many of which would be given out during their holiday party that evening for their high school aged students. Part of my day was spent selecting and matching available and appropriate toys and games to the student’s age and interests and the other part was wrapping specific gifts they asked for and those that their tutors felt would be best for them. I felt like an elf in Santa’s workshop and was playing a small part in helping these kids in need to have a brighter holiday, most of which would not receive a single gift if it was not through an organization like BFF.

The offices resembled Santa’s workshop with stacks of different toys for all the boys and girls, wrapping paper, tape and bows throughout with lots of busy little elves planning and prepping for the night’s event. The amount of donations that filled the multiple rooms some of which came through the Spirit of Giving Network and individual donations were beyond generous. All of their kids received multiple wrapped gifts complete with festive holiday wrapping and sparkly bows. It put it in perspective just how fortunate my family and I am and how much need there is in the community where I work and live. Although my contribution was small, I felt proud to help this incredible organization and help make a positive impact.

Debbie Ellman, co-founder of BFF shared, “As a small non-profit, we rely on the kindness and support from people in our community. BFF is lucky to have so many people willing to give their time to help ensure the children in our program have everything they need, and more. It is only when we work together that a positive impact will be felt!”

The Value of a VTO Day
It really means a lot and speaks volumes that Modernizing Medicine values and supports time off for employees to volunteer. It’s a company with a conscience made up of employees with big hearts. This is a great opportunity for employees to get out into the community, learn more and help an organization while representing Modernizing Medicine in the local area. As an active JLBR member, I appreciate the added opportunity to give back.

How You Can Get Involved
Interested in learning how you can volunteer with BFF? They are always seeking individuals to share their talents, whether it is at events, in their offices or as needed for special projects.

 

Learn more about how other employees have given back during their VTO including time spent at a local nature center, food pantry and working with at-risk girls.

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The Author

Alex Bimonte
Marketing Communications Specialist