“You have to give to receive” is a corny saying, however I believe it to be true if you want to succeed and make a difference in your community. As long as I can remember, I wanted to set an AWEinspired example for everyone around me and in my community.
I am a proud native Phoenician, and I grew up volunteering around The Valley. My parents were involved with the Parent-Teacher Association, Phoenix Rotary, Volunteer Non-Profit Service Association, The Women’s Auxiliary with Goodwill, coaching/umpiring/ working the snack bar at Madison Simis little league games, and countless other parent/student activities at school. By being involved, my parents taught me to take ownership of and pride in our community, and in order to make an impact, you must be involved.
When I founded AWE in August of 2004, I created it with different constructs in mind. The first pillar of my company was community involvement, which augmented the ability to give back to the community. I was involved with a variety of organizations by volunteering my time, but with the creation of AWE, I was finally able to contribute in a financial way. That continued until the down-turn in the economy. After the recession hit, I had to “tighten the company belt,” so instead of financial contribution, I volunteered my time with organizations like The Cancer Support Community – Arizona, Phoenix Rotary 100, and the Board of Visitors. I’ve filled food bags to feed the under-served, chaired major fundraising events, and donate to all of my employee’s children’s school fundraisers when possible. I look forward to reading to children in the Osborn School district, and hope to have a positive impact, no matter how small, because those children are our future. I truly believe that our future rests in our community – no matter what part of town you live in, we all must be involved in order for our entire community to succeed.
I recently asked my staff about organizations with which they were involved or volunteered. Though they are not widely involved with organizations at the moment, they did note that being involved is important to them. This made me realize that no matter how involved I am, I need to encourage others to also be more involved as well. To help move this in the right direction, I am now including a new component in all job descriptions at AWE: fostering our commitment to the community by volunteering a minimum of once a month during business hours. I know it will be AWEsome!
I challenge all to find an AWEinspired way to volunteer, donate your time, donate your money, and make a difference.