Getting Involved, Inspiring Others

July 29, 2015

Volunteering is more than powerful – it is personal. Everyday, Adobe employees all over the world are sharing their time and skills with organizations they love, from leading local support groups to aiding international reading foundations. In celebration of this year’s Be Involved Month, we want to spotlight what our employees are doing to create change in the community:

Anand Singh

Anand S. spreads happiness  by improving life for disadvantaged youth.

Manager, Information Technology

Inspiration has many forms. For Anand, it was a casual conversation with his manager about happiness.

“We spoke about spreading joy through a noble deed,” he says. “But I kept wondering ‘what exactly? What would bring us satisfaction while bringing happiness to others?’”

Anand eventually found his answer at home: “I brought home a mini toy car for my 3 year-old son, and he couldn’t contain his joy and excitement,” he says. “At that moment, I realized exactly what I wanted to do and for who: disadvantaged kids.”

The idea transformed into Project Smile, which has reached over 500 kids through two events and become an integral part of Be Involved Month. The main goal is simple: Make each and every kid smile.

In Project Smile events, volunteers essentially share life with the youth: playing, dancing and eating meals together, in addition to teaching students about hygiene, planting trees and enhancing school classrooms. In an upcoming event, volunteers will also paint walls and rebuild a school’s main gate.

As a key leader on the Action Team, Anand has realized such a massive effort really depends on the people who support it.

“I knew for sure that a huge number of colleagues wanted to spread happiness but lacked opportunities that suit them,” he says. “So all I had to do was plan and administer, seek help and bring them all together.”

Michael Schildt

Sr. Enterprise Account Manager, Enterprise Sales

Michael S. volunteers by reading to young children to help raise literacy rates.

“On my first day, one of the children came up to me and gave me a piece of paper with a heart on it… and it was worth more than any sales commission payment.”

Michael says volunteering at a local kindergarten has been nothing short of inspiring. “The kindergarten here is in an area where children aren’t on the sunny side of the world,” he says, describing the district’s demographics and lack of funding. The time he spends at the school also counts towards volunteer grants, additional funds that can go towards the causes he cares about.

Michael learned recently that Germany’s illiteracy rate exceeds 10%, which pushed him to get involved with various reading foundations.  Whenever he has free time, he reads to young children, plays soccer and helps with the school’s maintenance.

“When all the children are coming to you and laughing with you, and you see their big eyes as you read, you feel so thankful for what you’re doing,” he says. “It’s inspiring to give something back.”

For 12 years, Michael has also supported an international organization called PLAN, which sponsors the education and health care of children in Vietnam. His current godchild is 9-year Y. Nay, who lives in a developing rural area and needs to walk over two hours to reach her elementary school.

“Volunteering started with friends, but it also grew from my urge to do something,” he says. “Life is good, and I want to share the money and time that give something back to others.”

Kiran Chitluri

Kiran C. supports new parents and families in his community.

Quality Engineering Manager, Digital Publishing Solution

Kiran starting volunteering with a family strengthening and wellness program two years ago as a group leader, after  participating in the program himself. This long-standing organization supports new families by linking them with those of similar age and location.

As a leader, Kiran leads a group of families for twelve weeks, where he moderates discussion on topics that new parents struggle with and encourages them to create stronger bonds.

“It’s nice that you can find such common values in such a diverse group of people and backgrounds,” he says. “As a leader, you also get to choose what day and time works best for you for the twelve weeks.”

For as long as he can remember, volunteering has been a part of Kiran’s life.

“Volunteering can be a good way to meet new people, make new bonds, create a sense of community,” he says.

Recently, he helped jumpstart and manage the Adobe Girls Who Code intensive in Seattle. Additionally, as part of the Adobe Pro Bono Initiative, Kiran is leading a pro bono project with Page Ahead, a Washington non-profit that gives books to high-risk children in elementary schools. Kiran helped the group receive a grant from Adobe for two years, and has been working on its new website.

He emphasizes that volunteering extends beyond community benefit to self-growth – that one should enjoy the experience and grow from its fulfillment.

“One thing I love about Adobe is that they’re really supportive about giving back and bringing your ideas to the community” he says. “ It feels good to be a part of organizations with a mission that align with yours and values that challenge you.”