Making a Difference Through Community
I’ve always been drawn to community service. It started with a fourth-grade litter cleanup and has just grown from there.
The interesting thing, though, is that while I enjoy supporting the community, it’s the way these activities engage and inspire others that I truly find the most fulfilling.
After college graduation, I worked in university student affairs and programming; a big part of my role was engaging students in volunteer work. I remember having a revelation about these experiences being more than just service work–it was nearly always transformational. For example, I would recruit students to participate in spring break service trips. A team of college students, often from rural South Dakota and somewhat sheltered, would travel halfway across the country and be thrown into a new environment. They discovered new people, new ideas and new cultures and became committed to service work–some of them still fully engaged years later. Having them say, “This was great. This is something I never thought I could do,” was the ultimate reward.
In seeing the multifaceted benefits of service work, I’ve often found ways to plan these activities in my various roles. Even if the activity wasn’t connected to our actual work, it was an opportunity to make positive change while allowing employees to do some team building and have some fun.
Now here at RHP, I have been looking for opportunities to make things happen, get people engaged, and contribute to the community. We’ve done a litter cleanup, a blood drive, and the Dragon Boat Festival which is a fundraiser for the Cumberland River Compact. It’s a fun team-building exercise that benefits the Cumberland River, a resource RHP relies on to run our General Jackson Showboat. I find it valuable to offer a variety of activities to attract diverse participants with an array of skills and interest areas. As a good corporate citizen, RHP has a responsibility to support the communities in which we operate. Organizing our employees to support these activities has the benefit of positively impacting the community and our team in new and exciting ways.
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