May 2018

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May Volunteer of the Month

“Find something that really peaks your interest and you will feel really good doing it,” that’s the advice from Mike Grosso when asked how he encourages others to get involved in their communities. Nominated by Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, we are thrilled to honor Mike as our May Volunteer of the Month and to celebrate everything he does to give back to his community!

A longtime resident of Monroe, CT, Mike retired from his career as a school psychologist in 2003. He was looking for something to do with his free time and was hoping for something different than what he’d done during his career. His wife mentioned the zoo and his interest immediately peaked. He’s been a docent at the zoo since 2011 and he loves the work he does. He started as a volunteer educator, meeting and greeting the public and talking about the animals with visitors and school groups. He then became certified as an animal handler, which allows him to work with a number of the education department’s animal ambassadors, these are the animals used for on-grounds and off-grounds programs. To be certified, Mike went through several weeks of detailed and intricate training with the Animal Care Specialists, who exclusively care for all the animals on exhibit at the zoo.

Foundation Source in The Community

Over the last several years it’s become very popular for companies to promote volunteer work as part of their social responsibility initiatives. Volunteer work gives employees an opportunity to break away from their daily tasks and put their skills to use in other ways. Research has shown that companies that encourage volunteer work outside of the workplace have seen a shift in employee engagement. Engaged employees are happier, healthier and perform at a higher level.

Volunteer Square launched a Corporate Program in 2017 to help local companies build or strengthen their employee volunteer programs. We can tailor opportunities based on what works for the company and the nonprofit so it's a meaningful and impactful experience for both sides.

Volunteer Square recently had the opportunity to work with the Fairfield based Foundation Source. The team at Foundation Source was looking to help local organizations in the area of hunger, senior services, and education. We suggested a menu of opportunities based on a survey with their team and they chose two projects this month. Volunteer Square coordinated the details and the Foundation Source team completed two projects that made a huge impact on both the organizations they worked with. We are pleased to highlight their great work this week on our blog!

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