West Monroe Partners (WMP) provides us with endless opportunities to give back to the community, and affect positive change.
Over the past couple of years, I have chosen to spend my time volunteering at the local Salvation Army.
My first experience volunteering with the Salvation Army was both rewarding and memorable — a common theme among all my volunteering experiences at the Salvation Army through WMP.
Our team engaged in some healthy competition to see who could donate the most toys and clothes. There was light-hearted “smack talk” between teams throughout the competition since the losing team would have to serenade the winning team with Christmas carols.
Once we arrived at the Salvation Army site, we worked in the kitchen and organized closets and Christmas decorations in preparation for the holiday season. The team shared laughs with the residents and other volunteers at the facility while completing tasks that had a visible impact both on those we met, as well as recipients of the outreach programs we were supporting.
Fast forward two years (and several volunteering events with countless hours of comradery and laughter) later, West Monroe participated in a “Back to School” health screening and picnic. We were responsible for running the fair games after the children completed their health screenings. The positive energy was not only infectious, but incredibly rewarding.
Reflecting on my overall experience volunteering with the Salvation Army, I have learned several lessons that I try to incorporate into my daily life.
- A small act of kindness goes a long way. We sometimes did not witness the direct impact of our efforts (e.g., the handmade blankets distributed to the homeless), but one of the leaders of the Harbor Light center regularly reminded us: “The volunteer work we perform demonstrates that someone, somewhere cares and that is enough to convince people to think twice about declining to come to the shelter for the night or to accept help for which they were to afraid to ask.”
- It takes a village to achieve any impact at scale. Packing hundreds of lunches in a few hours is a daunting task, if not impossible, for one person. The value of having a dedicated team focused on the pursuit of a common goal was demonstrated through our volunteer efforts. We often found ourselves asking for more to do and affecting more positive change because of the efficiency of working as a unified and motivated team.
- You can make anything fun. Occasionally, we performed less-than-glamorous tasks, but regardless of what was asked of our team, the level of commitment and enthusiasm remained present. A smile, a joke, or friendly competition brought an element of entertainment to whatever we were working on and made time fly.
- In harmony, small things grow. A motto from my high school that I never truly internalized until my experience with the Salvation Army. It has been exciting to witness our relationship blossom form a one-time volunteering event to a full-fledged partnership and it is all due to the commitment to collaboration and service from both teams.
In addition to those lessons that I, and many others at West Monroe Partners, have learned from our experience with the Salvation Army, we were also humbled and honored to receive the Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award for the Midwest Region.
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Linda, Bill, Major Nancy and the rest of the team at the Salvation Army for all their dedication and efforts in serving the broader community. We look forward to our lasting partnership as we continue to give back to our community!