Each year, AT&T invites current college undergraduates to visit their corporate campus in El Segundo, CA. These students gain exposure and insight into what being an employee at AT&T is all about. This year, AT&T decided to highlight its community involvement as a key part of the recruitment day. Students and current staff members began the experience by taking part in United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ “In a Moment” budgeting activity.
This team-oriented exercise gives individuals the opportunity to step into the shoes of a low-income family struggling to sustain themselves on minimum wage jobs in Los Angeles County. Throughout the activity, teams experienced everyday budgeting challenges and discovered how United Way of Greater Los Angeles helps people in L.A. County go from a place of struggling to living sustainability.
The activity brought many “lightbulb moments” to students throughout the room. One came from a conversation between a United Way team member, Yvette Stott, and a participating student. The student told Yvette that he’d, “done this before.”
When Yvette asked if he meant the activity, the student replied, “No, I mean this juggling of budgets to make ends meet. When I was a kid, we moved around a lot, and my parents made tough choices to keep us housed, fed, and cared for.” He was grateful for this activity because it gave him the opportunity share a part of himself and his story with his team members.
After the activity, the teams created 1,000 “Bright Light” STEAM kits to be donated to a local education nonprofit. Each kit contained copper tape, a coin cell battery, LEDs, an activity sheet, and instructions for students to create their own electrified work of art. Teams collaborated to create their own efficient, organized, and timely process to make sure they created their share of kits before the time ran out.
Two weeks later, the 1,000 kits were delivered to the Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro, which will use them as an educational activity for their members. They’ll also share them with their broad network of education partners in the South Bay. The children’s faces lit up brighter than the LED lights when they discovered how to connect them to the battery using the copper tape. “This is awesome!” shouted one of the students.
This volunteering experience is just one great example of how companies can embrace their community investment values as an opportunity to engage both current and prospective employees.
If you think an activity like “In a Moment” or the Bright Lights Kit would be a great fit for your workplace, let us know. Contact United Way’s Engagement Manager Brian Rosenbaum at [email protected] and get your teams volunteering today.