John Petelle – Communitarian of the Month


| April 24, 2014 | in

This month we are recognizing Video Engineer John Petelle. Here’s what he told us when we asked about his volunteer experiences.

Why do you volunteer?

The ability to have a positive impact way out of proportion to the amount of time spent. Whether in a group activity, such as helping distribute food for the Food Bank at the Veterans Hospital or one-on-one mentoring with TeamMates, it is really amazing how the time I spend is magnified for the people being helped.

Some of my volunteer work also simply frees someone else to help people better. I spend time as an elementary school classroom volunteer and each hour of ‘monotonous little tasks’ I take off a teacher’s hands is an hour she can spend doing the important parts of teaching.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering? A favorite memory?

Seeing the smiles on the faces of the people being helped, knowing that what is happening is very important to them. Although it is distressing to know that there are so many veterans and their families in need, spending a morning carrying bags of food out to their cars and knowing they weren’t going to have to worry about what to eat for dinner for at least a few days gives me a great feeling every time I do it. Hearing my TeamMate tell me how glad he is that I’m his TeamMate is also pretty special.

How has your volunteer experience impacted your workplace?

Working together on community service projects is one of the best ways that I’ve experienced to get to know my co-workers better. A lot of companies spent a lot of time, money, and effort on team-building exercises, but I think very few of those approach the effectiveness of the time I’ve spent with my co workers doing volunteer work. I also feel very proud that I work for a company that ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to saying it wants to be a positive force in the community.

What have you learned while volunteering?

Helping out is a lot easier than many people think, and your time means more than you might expect. No matter what your interests or skill levels, there is a need right here in Lincoln for your involvement.

Do you have any advice for other volunteers or people who want to get involved?

Many volunteer opportunities will work on a drop-in basis. Whether your schedule is more accommodating of recurring volunteer time on a schedule, or sporadic hours here and there, there are organizations and people that will welcome your help.

The real credit for my volunteer time goes back to the vision of Nebraska Global. A company with an official policy that encourages workers to spend several hours each week helping out in the community is pretty amazing, and I’m grateful to be part of those efforts.

Volunteer chart

Since joining the Don’t Panic Labs team, John has volunteered for these organizations: Boys & Girls Club, CEDARS Youth Services, Center for People in Need, Go Lincoln Go, CLC Coding Academy, Heartland Big Brothers Big Sisters, Keep Lincoln/Lancaster County Beautiful, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Lincoln Food Bank, Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska Community Blood Bank, People’s City Mission, Salvation Army, Snow Angels, St. Monica’s, and TeamMates Mentoring.

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