Intelligence
Showing Up for Our Communities
Showing Up for Our Communities

Intelligence

Showing Up for Our Communities

Sep 18, 2020By Travis Koury

In 2019, we decided to make a concerted effort to leverage our talented team for community volunteer opportunities. On September 11, 2020 we completed our first (and now annual) Day of Service. We have a lot to offer our communities and as a team, we wanted to make a positive impact. We dedicated a day of volunteerism because:

  • serving others is part of our DNA and this is a natural extension of our values as a group and as individuals
  • committing a workday gives us time and space to serve without sacrificing personal time since we all have busy lives
  • community service a great way to bond and grow as a team

Working remotely is not a new concept at mStoner. We have many team members scattered across the country. One of the benefits of our far-reaching team is that we can help multiple communities at once. 

We decided to centralize our efforts around supporting our local food banks which helps those currently experiencing food insecurity. It was a great opportunity for our folks based in Chicago and St. Louis to come together and help those in need. Our collective efforts resulted in:

  • 97 hours served

  • 1,000+ meals packed

  • 15,000+ lbs of food processed

  • 6 pints of blood donated

 

Memorable Volunteer Experiences

Helping our communities is more than a day of action – it's a mindset. Our team's volunteerism goes beyond mStoner's annual day of service. Read about some of our team's most memorable community service experiences.

 

Laura Birsdall, Account Manager
I volunteered for Girls on the Run for two seasons. I coached a running program for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. The season culminated in a 5k, and the curriculum combined running with lessons in self-confidence and positive peer relationships. It was an amazing experience for me and helped me feel more connected to my community when I was still new-ish in town. I love the mission of GOTR and hope that the program had a lasting positive impact on the girls I got to work with!

 

 

Michael Bolton, Web Support Analyst
One of my former employers had a partnership with The Mission Continues, a non-profit whose mission is to connect veterans with under-served communities - empowering veterans to continue to serve, while providing needed support in the community. My whole family was able to participate in a couple of service projects in the St Louis area. We helped repaint the main St. Louis Fire Department Station and Training Center, and we helped clean up and paint an elementary school in Ferguson. Part of what made these impactful days for me was being able to include my kids. Exposing them to the idea of volunteering and serving the community at a young age has definitely impacted the way they behave as young men.

Nicole Lopez, Project Support Specialist
Every year, usually the first weekend in December, the recreation department at Rutgers would hold a huge 5k called the Big Chill to raise money for the city’s housing authority and the Rutgers Food Insecurity Fund. It was customary for runners to either donate cash or bring a toy to the event to donate to places like the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, or local hospitals. Because the event was through the recreation department, all club sports were encouraged to volunteer and help out with the event. So every year, I along with a bunch of my rugby teammates would either help direct running traffic or package and bag the donated toys. The turnout was usually around 5000 people/year, so it was awesome to be surrounded by so many people motivated by the cause.

Daniella Nordin, Director of Marketing
For the past few years I've volunteered with Get Her Elected, an initiative where people from all over the world offer their skills pro bono to progressive women candidates running for office at all levels of the government. My first project was a social media strategy for a woman running for city council in Cheverly, Maryland. I learned a ton about the community, town council, and what it means to be a female candidate. She won her re-election! She's no longer on the council but we still keep in touch. Since then, I've helped other candidates with content writing, social media advertising, and website maintenance. We've won and lost campaigns, but I've appreciated every project and will never forget my first one.

Kim Ward, Lead Front-End Developer
I'm a founding member of a local non-profit hackerspace called Archreactor. I get to teach classes on cool stuff for free to people in the area and when we travel. I've built a letterpress and did demos on printmaking. Last year's project I taught folks how to lockpick. Being a member has been super impactful since that's how I met my husband.

 

 

Amy Weiss, Content Strategist
I was a mentor for Chicago Scholars for several years fairly recently. It's an organization that pairs a group of 7 to 8 high-achieving CPS students with 2 adult mentors. We work with them beginning the summer before their senior year, help them through the college application process, and stay in touch regularly throughout their first year. We attend monthly workshops about things like financial aid or narrowing your choices, we take them to lunch and fun little outings, have a huge college interview fair in the fall, work with them on their personal essays, etc. It was a really great experience and I hope to pick it back up when the world calms down.

Greg Zguta, Director of Client Support
I got involved with Key Club in high school and did a number of service projects with them. Neighbor/park cleanups of different types, food bank/meal assistance volunteering, the typical things high school kids can do in a group. I was involved enough to be a representative at the Key Club International Convention in Chicago one year. What stood out to me about those experiences wasn’t a single moment or event, but how the positive peer pressure among high school students could generate so much collective good. I think I went to my first Key Club event because a friend was going – and it resulted in many more service opportunities.


  • Travis Koury Marketing Specialist As marketing specialist, Travis Koury shares mStoner’s thought leadership and service offerings across a multitude of channels. He thoughtfully applies digital marketing best practices to ensure higher education marketing and communication professionals can easily discover and access mStoner’s helpful resources, primary research, and on-demand content.