This month we are recognizing Quality Assurance Engineer Avery Klein. Here’s what he told us when we asked about his volunteer experiences.
Why do you volunteer?
I think the obvious answer is knowing you are helping others and the joy it brings them. While that is very true, and although it sounds selfish, I do it for myself. Whether it is serving food at a shelter or working with youth in TeamMates, I feel it puts everything in perspective. I feel volunteering truly makes me a more understanding and open-minded person. We all disagree with other people on a daily basis, but that is okay. We all are different and have different challenges. Volunteering reminds me that there are more important issues in the world and my community than my needs and wants.
Being able to help others not only makes me feel good about myself, but also makes me appreciate the gifts that I already have been fortunate enough to receive in life. I have a great wife and daughter at home, which is more than some people have and many times those circumstances are out of their control. Volunteering helps me keep things in perspective.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering? A favorite memory?
Knowing that my efforts are truly appreciated more than I may ever realize. We all have things we ‘want’, but probably more so when we’re children. Growing up in Denver, I went with a group to hand out sandwiches to the homeless downtown. I remember walking up to people and offering them a sandwich and some fruit. I could not believe how thankful they were for such a simple gesture. I guess it was then that it really set in that no matter how bad things may seem for you there is always someone in a much less fortunate situation. It just put things into perspective for me as a child and still does today.
How has your volunteer experience impacted your workplace?
In the same way that volunteering influences your personal life, I think it carries over to the workplace as well. I think it helps build a sense of community within our company but also helps us better appreciate what we have and take less for granted.
What have you learned while volunteering?
I have learned that volunteer work is a nice way to put others first. I worked on a project to raise money for a school playground. Every time I see children at that playground I think about how different it may have been if I, or one of the many other volunteers, wouldn’t have put others first to see the project through. It is easy for us to think about what we need, but volunteering can be a humbling experience that reminds us to think of others.
Do you have any advice for other volunteers or people who want to get involved?
It is never too late to get involved and what may seem like a little to you is a lot to someone else. Mentoring is a great example. I mentor a student through TeamMates, which requires no more than a couple of hours a week. While an hour a week can seem a bit insignificant, it might be one of the best hours of the student’s entire week.
I feel that I have tried to consistently give back to my community, but working at a place like Nebraska Global really has made it even easier. It is convenient to say you don’t have the time, but just try doing something for one hour, like donating blood or feeding those less fortunate at the City Mission. It is an easy way to see how much of a difference one hour can make and will make you feel better for doing it.
Since joining the Don’t Panic Labs team, Avery has volunteered for these organizations: Near South Neighborhood Association, TeamMates Mentoring, Prairie Hill School, CEDARS Youth Services, Raikes School, Center for People in Need, Nebraska Community Blood Bank, Boys & Girls Club, Code Camp, Child Advocacy Center, People’s City Mission, Keep Lincoln/Lancaster County Beautiful, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Salvation Army, Snow Angels, Voices of Hope, The Bridge, KVC Health Systems, and Lincoln Community Foundation.