Volunteers. Those who give their skills, knowledge, and most importantly: their time. Here at SMZ, volunteering is part of our culture, something in which we collectively believe. And SMZers give back in very inspiring ways …
VP/Account Director Delynn Meyer has long recognized the importance and impact of mentorship. That’s why you’ll find her on a regular basis at Oakland County’s Juvenile Drug Court as part of Options: The Power to Choose, the family-focused juvenile treatment court.
She’s also on the board of directors and vice-president of The RESTORE Foundation, which raises private funds for Oakland County 6th Circuit Court adult and juvenile therapeutic drug treatment courts. The funds are used to help eliminate the county’s financial strain and ensure drug programs remain intact. That in turn helps Oakland County’s Juvenile Drug Court and Adult Treatment Court assist participants in overcoming substance abuse problems and restoring their lives.
Delynn takes on many roles as a volunteer: she mentors, visits middle and high schools, and participates in community events. “Volunteering for RESTORE and the Juvenile Drug Court takes me out of my professional life. It helps me be more selfless. Substance abuse is an epidemic problem and effects so many.” She adds, “It’s one of the hardest things I do and I’ve seen my share of failures. But when that light goes on at something I’ve said, when that young person stays in school, stays out of trouble and harm’s way. To truly help restore the lives of kids and their families. It’s so worth it.”
So who takes a week off every year in the dead of winter to stay local and drive a bus for people who live in shelters to their day jobs? Associate Creative Director Victor Spieles, of course. Helping feed, house and transport men transitioning to be self-supportive during the dead of winter is how he rolls in the volunteer world. Aiding the Bethel Lutheran Church congregation, he helps in other ways, too, making hundreds of sandwiches to pass out on the streets and packaging family meals to ship overseas.
Why does he do it? “Because who else will?” he tells me. But if you know Victor, you’d know it’s more than that. It’s because he, like Delynn, is genuinely interested in people’s well-being and actively doing something about it.
It’s not only people who need a helping hand. Animals do, too. Senior VP/General Manager Ann McGee has been a kitty foster mom for years. “I get to save lives,” she says. “Simple as that.” And that’s pretty powerful, if you think about it.
Because giving to someone (or something) else’s life, it gives more meaning to our lives. And it feels good to help. “Besides,” Ann continues. “Kitties never complain and are always unconditionally grateful.”
Those are just a few examples of SMZers who volunteer. I could name many others here who, after spending their days helping clients build their brands, spend their own time helping others. In all, it’s a mighty admirable group.
What about your business and coworkers? In what ways do you give back?