One of the main attractions that drew me to Blue Shield of California is the company’s commitment to community service. It goes beyond platitudes and lip service—we effect change that addresses real needs.

I’ll share this example: I served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters whose mission was very important to me. One of the restraints we consistently heard when trying to recruit volunteers into the program was that people didn’t feel they had enough time during their busy work day to volunteer. The lack of volunteers resulted in long wait lists of children who needed an adult match.

At Blue Shield, I identified an executive sponsor who was receptive to the idea of bringing the children and volunteers together during lunchtime at one of our local offices. As a result, the Beyond School Walls program was born. This program offers a convenient means of bringing more volunteer opportunities directly to employees through the power of mentoring. Youth from a local school are matched one-to-one with an employee from Blue Shield (and other workplace partners) for the duration of the school year. We started with five matches and it has grown to 20, with a continued commitment from Blue Shield to expand the program even more. The latest challenge we’ve come across is how to offer this program remotely during the pandemic—and we are figuring that out too!

My other passion is focused on rescue animals—dogs in particular. I’ve fostered about 20 dogs so far from puppies to seniors through Foothill Dog Rescue, a local nonprofit. I’ve only “failed” with two foster dogs (which really means instead of adopting them out, I adopted them!). Blue Shield supports these efforts with our Annual Adoption Days during our employee Month of Giving and Service (when Blue Shield doubles monetary contributions on behalf of their employees). Each year we bring dogs into an outdoor work space at a local Blue Shield office so employees can meet their potential new best friend (barring 2020 due to the pandemic)! There have been more than 20 adoptions from Foothill Dog Rescue by Blue Shield employees over the last few years, all as a result of awareness created during the Annual Adoption Days.

Following my passions and watching how they impact our communities for the better has been both motivating and fulfilling. Blue Shield is fully committed to improving the health and well-being of our employees, members, and communities. That’s one of the many reasons Blue Shield is a great place to work!

If you want to start volunteering but don’t know how, the most important thing to understand is that it doesn’t take a lot of time; you can even do it from home. Find your passion and approach it in little bite-sized chunks. And when it resonates for you, it will grow.