When I started off at Deloitte, through my interactions, I discovered that some of my colleagues were involved in various in-person year-round volunteering activities through Deloitte’s internal initiatives. Even now, as I recollect their stories, I realize how intrigued I was when I first heard them. Every time I heard them talk about their experiences, it sparked a feeling of joy in me. But there was a specific moment in my time at Deloitte when I knew that volunteering was right for me—it happened when I participated in my first Impact Day in 2012 and from thereon, I was determined to volunteer on a more regular basis.
Luckily, my team lead at the time introduced me to year-round volunteering for the ‘Back-to-School’ thread. This thread enabled professionals to extend educational support to students from underprivileged backgrounds. Initially, I was apprehensive—the introvert in me not wanting to talk in front of an audience; but once I started off, there was no looking back. A few years later, as this experience weaved into an essential part of my career journey at Deloitte, I found myself co-leading a year-round volunteering initiative with a non-profit that Deloitte supported. Here, I was involved in imparting life skills to the underprivileged youth.
Giving back in uncertain times
The pandemic sensitized us to the need of continuing to extend support to our communities. ‘Giving back’ needed to become an everyday activity. Around this time, I received a communication from our Corporate Citizenship team for an initiative called Impact Every Day.
While it’s a much broader program, for me Impact Every Day meant a streamlined approach to managing year-round volunteering opportunities. This gave the India (Offices of the US) professionals an opportunity for interest and skill based virtual volunteering with associated non-profits. It became a lot easier for me and my colleagues to continue to give back to our communities through volunteering, and that too from the safety our homes.
When I accessed the internal portal to sign up, I had the option to select my area of interest and specialization along with an option to select a volunteering activity that I was most passionate about. The available volunteering activities ranged from teaching computers and translating educational learning material into Indian vernacular languages to career counseling and personality development sessions. Once I selected my activity, I was aligned with an associated non-profit, and I could take part in the activities over the weekend, from the comfort of my home. I chose to translate educational learning material and it was the most fun activity! It also reminded me, how much I needed to brush up on my Hindi language skills.
Over the years as a volunteer, I’ve seen improvement in the children and youth that I worked with. The joy you feel when an eight-year-old understands the concept of ‘evaporation’, or when you witness a recent college graduate bag an internship offer after you helped them draft their resume, is something I can’t put into words. These milestones, while not my own, will always remain a part of my life.
Witnessing the results of your efforts
Similarly, a few years ago, I took part in a greening initiative, that was closer to home, and I still see the plants that we had planted as a group—some of them have now grown into trees. The visual reminder and the experience altogether has also made me more empathetic as a person and led me to realize the privilege I have.
I haven’t even started on the professional relationships I developed through volunteering, over the years! In some ways, it connected me to the role I’m currently in, because someone I volunteered with suggested there was an opening in their team, and here I am today.
In the end, it comes down to the time you can spare for your community, and there isn’t an easier way to participate than raising your hand and simply volunteering to make an impact, from the comfort of your home and for the activities that you’re comfortable with.
About the author:
Priyam Srivastav is a member of the Communications team at Deloitte Consulting India Private Limited. He has been with Deloitte since 2012. During this time, he has continued to participate in year-round volunteering, briefly co-leading volunteering efforts from Deloitte for a non-profit, which imparts trainings on life skills to the underprivileged youth.