Giving back to the community, locally and globally, is part of the Michigan spirit. Students are encouraged to volunteer their time in a number of ways (including the Alternative Spring Break Program happening this week). Here in B&F, team members serve as volunteers in a wide variety of ways, many of whom will be featured in a showcase of staff community action at the MSTAFF200 bicentennial event this summer. In addition to the satisfaction that comes from making a difference, there are numerous health and social benefits that come from volunteering.
“There’s a sense of purpose being defined when I volunteer,” says Chris Taylor, from Risk Management Services, who volunteers regularly for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Starting as a tech washing the dog and cat bowls and disinfecting toys, he later became a dog walker. “It’s also beneficial to my health since I live alone – it gets me out of the house on the weekends, and there is an aspect of learning that helps me perform better at life and work.”
Dave Bondy, from Work Connections, coaches a year-round flag football team of ten boys. “It’s a joy to see the boys improve and their enjoyment of the game grow,” says Dave. “They are wonderful young kids and I’ve developed friendships with some of the families.” Dave coaches a regular and travel team, and also coaches his daughters’ softball team. “Combine all three and sometimes it does get tough to juggle everything,” adds Dave. “But I still remember my coaches from when I was young and each of them taught me some lesson that I can still look back on today. I hope to be able to have that same impact on each kid.”
For 13 years, Denise Stegall, from HR Records and Information Services, has volunteered at Sandcastles, a Henry Ford Health System hospice program for grieving children. “The program meets every other Thursday where the children and their parent or guardian come to dinner followed by separate programs for the children and adults,” says Denise. She facilitates sessions for kids that include crafts, conversation and activities. These allow children to celebrate their loved one, share memories and understand the death, while working through the grief stages. “I have seen numerous children find hope, comfort and camaraderie with other children through this program. It’s been a really meaningful way to give back.”
Staff also volunteer here on campus outside of their normal job duties, enriching our university community through service at our hospitals, at commencement and many other ways. It’s all part of how we Make Blue Go and contribute to the greater good.
Join us at the MSTAFF200 event on June 27, between 11:30-5:30 to honor staff contributions to the university and community while celebrating the university’s bicentennial birthday. Staff talent and staff community action will be highlighted at the event, among many other displays, showcasing the awesomeness of our U-M staff. To volunteer to help at the event, please contact MSTAFF200@umich.edu.