The Gift of Giving Back

11.19.19, published by

There are a million ways both big and small to give back. We know well from working on projects that it’s not what we get from clients that carries the biggest impact, it’s what we give. We give our creative ideas, our skills, our passion, and perhaps most valuable in life, our time. In short, we do our best to create value and meaning with what we do. So we sat down and asked our staff, ‘What opportunities to give back have you been grateful for?’ Here’s what they had to say.

Heather Roymans, Partner/Director, Executive Creative Director
Public Education Speaker

“My favorite “give back” activity is presenting at my children’s schools for Career Day. I have been doing this for 9 years now and this year is the first time I was asked to present to a classroom of young middle school 7th and 8th graders in the video production program (my son was enrolled in this program while at middle school too). Watching their eyes light up and listening to their thoughts and questions about a career I lam genuinely passionate about always fuels me with renewed energy for this craft I love.”

Justin Kanner, Partner, Cinematographer/Editor
Moving Volunteer

A Wider Circle: https://awidercircle.org/

“I recently spent some time as part of EliteBodies’ group workout class where instead of going to the gym, we went to Wider Circle and helped move heavy things like furniture that people were either donating or needy families were picking up. It was a win win for everyone, we all got a solid workout while helping the community.”

Monesha Lever, Executive Producer / Business Development
Backyard Beekeeper

Learn more about tiny mighty bees: https://blog.ed.ted.com/2017/03/23/8-fun-facts-about-bees-in-ted-ed-gifs/

“I share my backyard with tens of thousands of honeybees.  What started as another one of my husband’s quirky hobbies has turned into a family affair.  We currently have five hives and two very supportive neighbors.  Our busy pollinators are out in the community helping to keep it green and beautiful.  Did you know a single bee can pollinate 300 million flowers…each day!  As an added bonus we get honey that tastes 10x better than store bought honey to share with family and friends.”

Erica Kern, Associate Creative Director
Tree Planting Volunteer

Canton Canopy: https://www.cantoncommunity.org/canton-canopy

“Post 2016 election when things seemed so crazy at a national level, I was looking for a way to redirect my disillusionment. I attended a local community meeting where I ran into a friend who was interested in starting a tree planting effort in the neighborhood. Together with a small group of neighbors we formed Canton Canopy. Canton Canopy is an all-volunteer run initiative operating in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore. Canton Canopy’s mission is to facilitate the planting of trees in existing tree pits, fundraise and apply for grants in order to cut new tree pits, and organize volunteers to help with the care and maintenance of the community’s trees. To date we have raised nearly $40,000 in funding through the Chesapeake Bay Trust and have planted 250 trees throughout the Canton neighborhood.”

Kristen Edgell, Writer/Producer & Digital Content Manager
Volunteer Baker

Icing Smiles: https://www.icingsmiles.org/

“For several years in college I worked as a wedding cake decorator. After moving to DC, I was looking for a way to use baking to bring people joy without dealing with bridezillas or constantly making my friends fat. I now volunteer with Icing Smiles, an organization that connects professional and home bakers all across the US with families that have a child who is impacted by a critical illness. As volunteer bakers, we provide highly decorated, custom celebration cakes and cookies to children and their families to help offer a temporary escape from their illness and to try and create a positive memory during a difficult time.”

Dave Nathan, Senior Editor
Family Donations

DC Central Kitchen: https://dccentralkitchen.org/

“As our kids outgrow their clothes, toys, strollers etc, Nora and I have developed relationships with a few friends to donate these items to parents in need.  We try to include our kids in this process so they understand the importance of helping others, appreciating what they have, and whenever possible, minimizing waste.  Over the holidays we volunteer at places like DC Central Kitchen, where we help prepare meals for those in need.”

Megan Gygax, Writer/Producer
Annual Donations

American Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.org/

“I donate regularly to the American Diabetes Foundation. My mother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in her 30s and it was a very scary moment in our family as she was in the hospital for days and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was killing her. Ever since then it’s been a lifelong battle to maintain her health but also live a normal life. As an elementary school teacher, she’s also had many kids come through her classroom and it’s especially hard for young children to grasp the gravity of the disease.”

Rory Sheridan, Senior Editor
Benefit Concert Artist

“ICE has been terrorizing hard working folks across the United States and have recently threatened our community in the DMV. So my band Loud Boyz participated in a benefit to raise money for Cosecha DMV. Cosecha DMV is part of a peaceful movement that is fighting for dignity, respect, and permanent protection of immigrants in the United States.”

Hannah Testa, Junior Editor
Animal Shelter Volunteer

Lost Dog Rescue: https://lostdogrescue.org/
Homeward Trails: https://www.homewardtrails.org/

“I also used to foster kittens, and I LOVE all the animals. Now, I volunteer with two animal shelters in the Northern Virginia area, Homeward Trials Animal Rescue and Lost Dog and Cat Rescue. With Homeward trails I try to attend at least one adoption event per month where I walk available dogs around to meet people, help those interested fill out forms, and take pictures for their events for social media. I also designed two flyers for them for fundraising events. Lost Dog has a “dogventure” program so I’ve volunteered to take dogs out on long walks with my friends. It’s really fun and a great way for the dogs to be out of the kennels.

Jason Leta, Senior Designer/Animator
Holiday Gift Giving

Jubilee Housing:  https://www.jubileehousing.org/

“My wife Tammy and I like to donate to Jubilee Housing by adopting a family through her office committee. Sometimes we buy Christmas gift list items for families who can’t afford it or we donate money to their committee to do the same. The Jubilee Housing is a good organization that helps people find affordable housing and helps people in poverty in the community through a variety of educational and social programs.”

Nate Hoeft, Senior Editor & Sound Designer
Animal Rescue

Kitten Rescue Los Angeles: https://kittenrescue.org/

“In 2014, my wife and I went to Petsmart for fish food.  We came home with fish food and 2 kittens after walking past the adoption table of Kitten Rescue.  Los Angeles County has a few million unwanted, neglected, abandoned and stray cats.  Life for them is hard enough, but of the thousands who are caught or turned in to shelters, most end up being euthanized.  Kitten Rescue is one of the leading no-kill shelters in the city, and adopt around 1,000 cats a year into safe and loving homes.  Those that are not adopted either end up being cared for by their volunteer fosters in their own homes, or at a sanctuary facility where they enjoy every cat’s desires: to eat and roam and sleep in peace :).  We no longer live in L.A. but we have maintained our soft spot for the feline community, and we care for 2 neighborhood cats who have decided to live in our backyard.  We provide food & water daily, and a warm shelter during the winter.  Every (domesticated) animal deserves to be cared for in a loving home, and donating time and money to no-kill shelters and rescue organizations definitely helps save the lives of the animals we share our communities with.”

This post was written by Erica Kern

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