By Susan Battaglia
On a sunny Saturday, a team of 28 SPINS volunteers joined thousands of other Chicagoans during the 25th annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon. Chicago Cares mobilizes volunteers to build a stronger, more unified Chicago. This event is the city’s largest single day of community service, and this year, 17 schools benefitted from the hands-on labor and love of many. Chicago Cares partnered with Generation All (a citywide initiative to unite Chicagoans in revitalizing neighborhood public high schools) by committing to building a stronger, more unified city where our collective future will be brighter when all students and all schools have the opportunity to thrive.
SPINS has supported the Serve-a-thon annually since 2015, with growing numbers of team members volunteering their time. This year, at Percy L. Julian High School in the Roseland neighborhood, six of us (and four additional family members and friends) served as team leaders for the entire site’s work, coordinating the efforts of over 100 additional volunteers, including 22 from SPINS and groups from a variety of other organizations. Together, the group painted the school’s main office, boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, hallways, and other spaces; built and painted benches; created and painted canvas murals, college pennants, and other art and décor for placement around the school grounds; and landscaped and planted the front of the school. The Serve-a-thon represents the power of community to mobilize, unite, and transform: all of this took place in only seven hours!
Some of these photos showcase the canvas murals and college pennants to be hung throughout the school.
Before and after: Percy L. Julian High School’s boys’ locker room gets a fresh coat of the school’s colors!
“My only hesitation before participating in last year’s Serve-a-thon was giving up time with my family,” said SPINS Quality Assurance Engineer, Brian Halloran. “When I shared my concern with my family, my wife and two children not only encouraged me to participate but asked if they could sign up, as well, and even asked to recruit friends to join us! It was never a question of if we’d participate again…more like when is the Serve-a-thon this summer? My wife and I were both excited to serve as team leaders of a major painting project, and our kids really enjoyed helping out across several projects and helping connect volunteers to specific tasks.”
“Last year, I brought my husband to help at the Serve-a-thon, and this year I brought two of my best friends,” said Senior Sales Contract Administrator, Laiza Tomasello. “After last year’s Serve-a-thon, I took my little girl to a volunteer event at her own school! It’s important to my husband and me that we teach our kids about different ways to help those in need. It’s so rewarding to see what your hard work can do for someone else. I will continue to invite everyone I can to help out and join in on the fun!”
After 19 years of personal involvement with Chicago Cares, it’s an honor to share these volunteer opportunities with my colleagues and a joy to see their enthusiasm for service grow and spread! In addition to Serve-a-thon, 35 of SPINS’ team members were thrilled to support Chicago Cares as the beneficiary of this year’s J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, one of many initiatives available under SPINS’ corporate wellness program, Vibrancy360.
On top of fitness classes, healthy cooking demos, massage, and meditation components, Vibrancy360 also offers multiple opportunities to volunteer and inspire vibrancy in our communities, supporting animal shelters, hunger relief organizations, sustainable agriculture, and other causes. In addition to team building and solutions-oriented skill development, our service initiatives help realize our company’s mission and connect us to the change we can effect right here in our community.