Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to the community, and it's a great opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brooke Suich and Stephanie Shipley Snyder, two members of Team MDK who have made a remarkable impact through their volunteer work with MDK’s partnership with Besa.
Brooke and Stephanie, along with Amy Vallance, have been recognized as our Community Impact Champions, having dedicated more hours to volunteering than anyone else in the past year. Their experiences shed light on how volunteering can transform not only the lives of those being helped but the volunteers themselves. In this post, we'll dive into their experiences, what they learned, and how volunteering with Besa has enriched their lives.
Elizabeth Monachino: Good morning, Brooke and Stephanie. I'm really excited to talk with you today!
Stephanie Shipley Snyder: Hi, good morning.
Brooke Suich: Hi, it's nice to talk to you too.
EM: What was your inspiration or motivation to start volunteering with Besa? Has that changed over time?
BS: Although I've been at MDK for a while, I started during COVID when I couldn’t meet people face-to-face. I wanted to have more social interaction and being able to do it in a way that benefited the community was just that much better. I'd say that’s still my motivation for volunteering with Besa.
SSS: I've had a soft goal of volunteering more and using my Volunteer Time Off (VTO). Since we have it, why not? I really put that to the test over the past year. I’d sign up for things that didn’t seem like they were necessarily in my wheelhouse because I wanted to try something new.
EM: Could you share a favorite memory from volunteering?
BS: My favorite memory must be going to the Franklin County Dog Shelter. It was so great getting to see the dogs and how excited they were when we passed out the treats we made. We had such a good turnout for that event, which was amazing. It was fun to get together, be in the same room, chat and just be people together.
SSS: That was a fun one, but I think my favorite was when we made braided rope toys for the dog shelter. It was so funny seeing just how different everyone's looked, especially some of the guys who were braiding for the first time! It was good to see everyone coming together, because it was a good mix of people from around the firm. I also really liked the Team MDK event at Franklinton Farms. It’s an urban farm that helps a lot of people, especially those who are underserved. It really struck a chord with me. I felt like I was really helping, which meant a lot.
EM: MDK is a really busy place right now. Do you have advice on how to balance your work responsibilities with volunteering? How do you make it work?
BS: Everybody at MDK is super supportive of people using their VTO so that helps a lot. You never have to feel guilty for stepping away to go do something good for the community.
SSS: Something I keep in mind is that no matter what's on my plate, PTO and VTO are important. I think of both as an emotional recharge. My advice is, if there's something you want to do, take the time and do it! There is no magic trick to not feeling busy. No matter what's on your calendar, volunteering can be a rewarding experience.
EM: How do you pick from Besa’s events calendar? How do you like to contribute your time?
BS: I know I like being outside and I know I like animals, so anything that lines up with that, I'll go and do. Having said that, there have been a few Team MDK events that I would not have picked on my own but I enjoyed every single one.
SSS: I primarily do the MDK-only events that are during workday so I can use my VTO hours. I like to pick things where I know they’ll put me to work because I like to stay busy!
EM: What advice would you give anybody that wants to get involved with Besa and might be nervous or hesitant to do so?
BS: I would say don't be! I was nervous going into it because I had never volunteered with Besa or MDK and being remote, I didn't know a lot of people. But once I was there, it was so fun. It was so rewarding to give back and have that social interaction with people that I work with.
SSS: I agree, and the great thing is, there are so many options! It's nice to step away from work for a little bit and do something impactful for your community. You can pick one something that's just a one-hour commitment to get a feel for things. I think that anybody who volunteers with Besa will enjoy it. It’s good to step out of your comfort zone- sometimes you don't realize how fun something will be until you actually go and do it.
EM: Thank you both for taking the time to speak with me and the impact you have made!
SSS: Certainly! Let’s volunteer together soon!
BS: Let’s do it!
To learn more about Besa volunteer opportunities, please click here.
This publication is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an opinion of Manley Deas Kochalski LLC.
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