Every year Soliant has an offsite where all the offices meet in one place; we wrap up our offsite with a volunteer activity. Last year we worked at the Elachee Nature Center in Gainesville, GA. This year we returned to Georgia and had about 24 people who stayed an extra day to volunteer at a local non-profit shelter in Buford, GA. Shelters are always in need of food donations, so everyone participated in our volunteer effort by donating pantry items to the Home of Hope-Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. Volunteering after our offsite has become a tradition that allows us to give back to local communities and strengthen our bonds by working together to help others.
We started the day with an excellent breakfast buffet and then carpooled to Buford, GA. The ride to Buford was quiet in the beginning; I think everyone was tired from all the activities we had at the offsite, which was quite busy. We had many professional development sessions throughout the day and lots of entertaining activities at night, including a talent show and an awards dinner.
The Next Step Towards Independence
As soon as we arrived at the Home of Hope, Bridgette, the Food Services Manager, told us all about their non-profit. It is a residential care facility that provides temporary home and support for homeless children from 0 -17 years old and their mothers. Home of Hope also gives support to girls aging out of the foster-care system. The shelter provides housing, life coaching, and educational support to help moms and young ladies to get back on their feet. Their goal is to “not simply to be a place of refuge; we are the next step towards independence.”
Next, Bridgette gave us a tour of the facility. It’s a fantastic place; everything was looking new and clean, you could feel the care of the organization in small the details. They offer individual rooms for families, kid’s playroom, quiet rooms, and a business center where the tenants must commit time during the day to look for jobs.
Getting Down to Work
Home of Hope needed help organizing their storage rooms. Our volunteer group lent a hand for a few hours by sorting and organizing their kitchen/cafeteria, the kids play room, and storage closets. We split into teams, and I was part of the pantry team. The pantry was overflowing with donations, and we could barely enter the pantry because of the boxes. We decided to take everything out, organize by the type of food, and label the shelves. Organizing is one of my favorite things to do, and I had an enthusiastic team that soon found a rhythm to get the task done. It only took a couple of hours to get everything organized.
After we had finished our work, we gathered for our last team lunch of the offsite. The volunteer activity was an excellent way to end our Soliant offsite week, and I’m proud to be part of a team that cares about giving back.