A Brush with Volunteering at Larkin Street
At Larkin Street Youth Services, 20 Schwab employees taped, tarped and painted their way through a launch-day Schwab Volunteer Week project.
The result? A large room originally painted cat-who-ate-the-canary yellow received two coats of lavender-on-a-cloudy-day gray. Better yet, the labor was free.
Larkin Street serves homeless and at-risk youth in San Francisco, with a mission to inspire them to move beyond the street. Last year, Schwab employees helped organize a huge clothes closet in the basement at Larkin Street (which is actually on Sutter Street, but near the corner of Larkin). This year, the volunteers moved up to the main floor to tackle the painting project. I’ve been there both years to photograph our Schwab volunteers at work.
Yesterday, twenty-two other Schwab teams also spent a half-day working for nonprofits in Austin; Bakersfield; Charlotte, NC; Denver; Fairfield, CT; Indianapolis; Orlando; Phoenix; Richfield, OH; and in the San Francisco Bay Area. This week alone, more than 2,200 employees will donate about 8,800 hours on more than 140 different service projects. Every team has a project leader and executive sponsor.
From L-R: Leah Lau, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and Diane Jacobs
At Larkin Street, Marianne Barulich wore the green “Aspire Higher” T-shirt to denote her leadership role, but that didn’t stop her from grabbing a paint roller and pitching in.
Executive sponsor Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation, also had a paintbrush in hand, as did the two winners of the 2010 Schwab Community Service Award – Diane Jacobs, who flew in from Indianapolis for this kickoff project, and Leah Lau of San Francisco.
“It’s one thing to say you should volunteer, but Schwab is putting up dollars and giving employees eight hours to volunteer,” Diane noted, referencing the company’s Time to Volunteer program that lets eligible employees take off up to eight hours a year for volunteering. Schwab’s Community Service Award for financial literacy honored Diane last year for her work with Goodwill Industries of Indianapolis, where Schwab employees help teach and mentor Goodwill employees in the “Good Assets” program.
Fellow award winner Leah Lau is a board member of the UCSF AIDS Health Project, where she spearheads the annual Art for AIDS fundraiser. She also founded the Cambodian Children's Book Project to donate children’s books to the ELMA School for Children in Sambour, Cambodia, near Angkor Wat.
Said Leah of volunteering: “I never feel like it’s work.”
Neither did her fellow Schwab employees who spent the afternoon at Larkin Street.
Take a look at Schwab Volunteer Week
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