In Between Lives

May 3, 2017

Here at Adobe, our belief is that our employees are not only our greatest strength as a company, but also a powerful force for creating change in our communities. We invest in their efforts by supporting the causes that matter to them, integrating their volunteer work and career development, and helping them live a more sustainable lifestyle. We do all this because we believe that all our employees have the ability to Create Change.

Rufus Deuchler, Principal Manager of Creative Cloud Evangelism, took this to heart when he, overwhelmed by recent news and political turmoil, decided to find a way to help the refugee crisis.

“Quit thinking about how much you’d want to do it Rufus, and just do it!” he told himself. And that’s exactly what happened. Within 48 hours of making his decision and talking to Northern Greece Volunteers, Rufus has booked his travel and accommodations for a two week stay in Greece.

Northern Greece Volunteers is a self-organized coalition of independent volunteers, teams and small organizations providing humanitarian aid to refugees in Northern Greece. And upon arriving in Greece, Rufus immediately spent the first few days busy in a warehouse and kitchen near Thessaloniki.

“Donations of clothes from all over Europe arrived to the Help Refugees Warehouse in large quantities. It’s great to see how much gets sent from the charities. The trouble is that it needs to get sorted before it can be of real help.” Rufus said.

A few days were also spent helping in the Soul Food Kitchen which provides hot meals for refugees and even homeless refugees living in Thessaloniki, Greece. “There I was chopping anything from turnips, carrots to onions and fruit. It’s a vegan kitchen and the food was excellent. We prepared lunch and dinner for about 80 people, with a team of about 7 volunteers. Small teams, but incredible impact.”

But Rufus soon followed his call to action when he volunteered for Camp Cleanup, because he had a car and would be able to transport other volunteers to and from camps. After processing his documents, he and his new team drove to the Vasilika Refugee Camp—not entirely knowing what to expect.

“We were led to our assigned hangar with protective gear and a few tools. And when we got there, we were dismayed—we thought we were never going to finish the cleanup. The mess was overwhelming, with food, beds, blankets, toys and all sorts of items left behind.”

Although there were about 65 tents that needed to be cleaned up, and this was the first cleanup for everyone on the team, they were determined. “We just began, trying to find a method to do it efficiently. It was not until the end of the second day, that we finally figured it out.”

Check out the time lapse video of Rufus and his team cleaning up the last row of tents.

And thanks to the Adobe Matching Grants Program, Rufus was able to turn his time into donation. For every 10 hours of volunteer service an Adobe employee gives to a charitable organization, Adobe provides a $250 individual volunteer grant that can be directed to the organization of their choice.

“I left Greece enriched and energized. I made friends I will never forget. And I now have a better understanding of what really happens—the refugees are truly ‘in between lives’ and they spend their time waiting to see what will happen next. I already plan to try and remain active and involved. Had I stayed a week longer, my heart would probably have told me to just stay.”

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