As human beings, we all have a natural desire to find a greater meaning in our daily lives. And when we can find that meaning through our work? Well, that’s when the magic happens.

In December 2017, I joined colleagues from six different cities and traveled to Houston, Texas, for a full day of volunteering at a middle school located in one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Harvey. This natural disaster put an even greater strain on the faculty and the lives of the students and families who already live in one of the highest-need communities of the city.

In the true spirit of the holiday season, 75 strangers came together to give back to kids who had lost so much. In the morning, we donated hundreds of shoes, socks and T-shirts before we conducted a football skills camp in the afternoon. The clinic was led by Dr. Jen Welter, the first female to coach in the NFL, along with a handful of former NFL coaches and players.

Thirty volunteers who traveled in from six different cities were greeted by the social purpose team upon arrival at the school.

Many of our employee volunteers met for the first time the second they stepped on the bus to go to the school, but there is something so pure and genuine about making a personal connection from the lens of giving back.

It doesn’t matter what department you work in, where your office is or how long you’ve worked for your company, because there’s one guaranteed thing you have in common with all of your colleagues both locally and remotely: a need for purpose. For some, it’s more innate and evident, while others aren’t even aware that “need” really exists within them … until something is a catalyst for it.

Sitting together in the school gym listening to the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the local community, our common purpose was crystal clear.
Students rotated through different stations, each with a sport skill and off-field life lesson tied to it.
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Max Griffin, our assistant manager for employee activations says “I know that we had employees from all over North America, but it truly felt like we were one team. In that moment of listening to everyone speak, I didn’t feel like I worked for a large corporation, or that I was just here for sports, it felt like I was with family. A family of people that are genuine, not afraid to express emotion, and most of all – not afraid to put someone else in front of themselves and make a lasting impact. I could write a novel about what this trip meant to me.”

Six hundred girls and boys who were impacted by the hurricane benefited from the full-day give-back experience.

“As I’ve settled in back home, I reflect on last week. The experience. It was incredible. My heart is still full. I’m grateful I was able to experience this,” says William Barnard, a field agent based in Chicago.

It’s a new year. A fresh slate. How will you embody a greater purpose with your colleagues in 2018? Leave your plans in the comments below.

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