As Mahatma Gandhi wisely observed, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” At Armis, we share this sentiment, not just with the clients we serve. Armis is fully committed to giving back to the communities where our team members (Armisers) reside and operate.
This is why my colleagues and I are regularly permitted and encouraged to spend time, on full pay, volunteering with a range of not-for-profits. Every year, Armisers engage in diverse volunteering activities that we only sometimes get to highlight. Having recently joined the organization and experiencing my first volunteering day, I was thrilled to speak with my colleagues around the globe about all they got up to.
As we round up the year, join me on this journey as I share some of the ways Armis and Armisers are giving back to good causes in our local communities across multiple cities worldwide. This roundup focuses on recent volunteering activities in London (where I got involved), New York City, San Francisco (Bay Area), Texas (Dallas and Houston), and Phoenix, Arizona.
Spitalfields City Farm works with a vibrant and multicultural community to provide educational opportunities for children and adults, empowering people to gain new skills and confidence to combat social isolation. My colleagues and I were incredibly inspired by how volunteers originally set up the farm in 1978 and continue to play a crucial role in its existence in the community. To have access to a space such as this is amazing for the local children, who would never normally be able to visit such a facility. We loved how they were working on breeding programs for endangered species of animals and had so much on offer for the local community. A real hidden gem.
Alongside our intrepid organizer Toni Tang and other members of the UK and Ireland Armis team, we visited Spitalfields City Farm on December 12th, an unusually snowy day in the center of London, something the staff advised most of the animals had never seen before. With everyone assembled and ready to go, we all engaged in a wide range of activities. Some of us made ourselves useful by clearing snow and gritting icy pathways, ready for the visitors the following day. Others got stuck in cleaning out the animal pens, refilling them with straw and hay, and moving the manure. All good fun and a well-earned cup of hot tea followed.
My colleagues and I are looking forward to volunteering at the farm in the future, and with any luck, we can tie it in with seeing the birth of the lambs!
Volunteering activities by Armis employees in New York were two-fold and coordinated by Paula. Firstly, in response to the rising homelessness in New York City, the Armis team felt inspired to act. The team’s action was channeled via the Coalition for the Homeless. The Coalition for the Homeless is the oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless individuals and families across the US.
The coalition daily helps 3,500 men, women, and children survive immediate crises in their journey toward long-term stability. To support this drive, our NYC team bagged up 50 hygiene kits for distribution to the homeless. These hygiene kits included soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, wipes, lotion, and other essentials for proper hygiene.
Our commitment towards good causes in the city didn’t stop there. The Armis marketing team in the NYC area donated much-wanted gifts and items to 29 children from an underserved community. The children were chosen from the Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School in the Hudson school system. For this activity, my colleagues purchased toys, books, and clothing from the children’s wish lists and gift-wrapped them for presentation. The donations were presented in the run-up to the holidays.
Armis employees in the Bay Area teamed up with the League of Volunteers (LOV). Since 1979, the League of Volunteers has been working to improve the quality of life of children, seniors, and people in need across the Bay Area’s Tri-City communities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City.
Antoinette and Trang coordinated the volunteering efforts of my colleagues in the Bay Area. Choosing from over 40 available programs offered by the LOV programs, the team decided to help by gathering toys for the communities’ children, helping to pick, choose and load them into their vehicles. A delightful and rewarding experience.
Armisers in Austin recently engaged in numerous volunteering activities. For instance, in November 2022, my colleagues in Austin built 75 bikes for the Cook Elementary 1st grade class. Watching the 1st graders receive the bikes, for many of whom this was their first bike, was very fulfilling. So rewarding, the initiative is to be repeated in the coming weeks.
Like my colleagues in New York City, some members of the Armis team in Dallas focused their volunteering efforts on the homeless. These efforts were channeled via volunteering at The Samaritan Inn. The Samaritan Inn is a comprehensive program supporting the homeless community in Collin County and surrounding areas. Their residents are provided with all the living essentials and taught life skills to enable and expedite their journey back to a successful life of self-sufficiency.
Ashley from the Dallas team coordinated Armisers’ efforts at The Samaritan Inn. Our volunteering efforts here were centered around preparing The Samaritan Inn for the holidays. Ashley and the Dallas team also had to reorganize different sections of the Inn, including the office spaces.
To wrap up this roundup, we go all the way to Phoenix, Arizona, where Michelle and the Valley team spent the afternoon of December 16th volunteering at The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. This organization operates over 80 community-based food pantries across central and northern Arizona that have delivered more than 100,000 food boxes via local volunteers.
The team spent the entire afternoon packing emergency food boxes at St. Vincent de Paul’s food pantry in downtown Phoenix. This preparation was timely as it needed to be done just before the holiday break when more food would be needed. This effort will ultimately help the food pantry stay prepared in anticipation of the rush that the holidays usually bring.
Volunteering for good causes can be very fulfilling. This round of activities has helped us understand and take action regarding the plight of the most vulnerable members of our communities. Observing how Spitalfields City Farm relies on the efforts of volunteers was a reminder of how “we can do so much more together” as we attempt to make the world a better place.
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