We were filled with anticipation, spaced out among tables in Uspiritus’ cafeteria.  Felt Santa hats and assortments of puffy paint donned each table as our employees excitedly waited for our two cottages of teenage boys to noisily (with matched excitement), burst through the double doors.  This wasn’t our first rodeo with this lively group of guys—our company had been coming to Upsiritus for several months now—but this time felt special: our Accuserv family was celebrating Christmas with our Uspiritus family; a step in our conscious journey to give back.

Conscious business isn’t just a hip trend for the New Year or a buzzword to use in your next HR meeting: “conscious business involves translating the values of the higher system (love) into the lower (business). It means building businesses based on giving, growth and connection.”  Conscious business is what happens when organizations merge meaning and money in order to fulfill their missions not only fiscally, but on a spiritual level both inside and outside of the organization.  Values-centered businesses not only perform better as a whole, but employees see the benefits as well, making community service a no-brainer for your business.

Our relationship with Uspiritus, an organization offering housing, education, counseling and other services with a mission to “heal the hearts and minds of vulnerable youth and their families,” began in August 2015.  As a company, we made a commitment to dedicate the third Thursday of every month to spending a couple hours with a group of 13 to 17-year old guys, on company time, indefinitely.

“We have always supported the community financially, but this was the first time we committed our time, forever, to an organization,” said Buddy Bockweg, Accuserv’s Vice President/General Manager, “the response from our team was overwhelming.”

Our Office Coordinator, Natalie Bratcher, who used to work at Uspiritus, reached out to Stu Perry, Group Volunteer Coordinator at Uspiritus, and the two came up with an incredible way to get Accuserv involved with hands-on activities that could have a lasting impact on these often overlooked members of our community.

Each month, Natalie meticulously prepares our visits, taking weather and holidays into consideration.  From outdoor summer kickball games to Halloween pumpkin painting to an unconventional Tex-Mex Thanksgiving dinner, each activity shares the same, perhaps most important component: donated time.

“These kids have been through more than we can comprehend. We don’t realize how special and sacred our donated time is. Time is something they only wish for with their families,” said Bratcher.

Many groups who volunteer at Uspiritus only come maybe once or twice a year, explains Perry, and a majority of the volunteers want to work with Uspiritus’ youngest residents, often leaving the older residents with fewer visitors and volunteers.  Perry also explains that with the older residents, especially the teenage boys, it’s important to remember that a lot of them have not had positive, influential relationships with adults.

“For you all to keep showing up is just amazing,” said Perry, “they [residents] thrive on the commitment. If you’ll keep showing up, it doesn’t really matter necessarily what you do. Simply being there is key.”

Perry said that Accuserv has made a visible impact, even in the short time we’ve been paired with this group, “the guys have to be on a certain privilege level in order to participate in our activities…in the days leading up to our volunteer events with Accuserv, many of the guys make sure to keep their behaviors positive and encourage their peers to do the same.  This has led to them staying more positive overall.”

Many Accuserv employees have started to see the impact we are making through our partnership with Uspiritus and are realizing the importance of replacing money with time.

“Anyone can write a check,” said Kelli Kessling, an Account Executive at Accuserv, “you’re not seeing their faces though, and actually seeing how you’re truly affecting them. They really want that one on one that shows that someone actually cares.”

“With Accuserv [volunteering] once a month, you obviously get a stronger bond and gain a relationship with the kids. I’ve heard multiple kids say they look forward to us coming,” said Josh Young, Project Coordinator at Accuserv.

We started on this journey to give back because we realize that there is more to a company than the daily ups and downs of the core business.  Making a difference in the community adds exponential value to a company by positively impacting employees, attracting resources for growth, and even increasing sales.  By marrying meaning and money, we fulfill our message, our mission and our vision.  We offer services based in our values, and our commitment to these values keeps our customers coming back.

“Our commitment to Uspiritus is forever.  When I close my eyes and think 30 years into the future, I see a huge extended family of men that we have impacted and who have impacted us, thankful that we have each other in our lives.” said Bockweg.

We indulged in a Christmas feast of chicken tenders and lemonade while we waited for the paint on our Santa hats to dry.  Spirited conversation could be heard from every corner of the cafeteria as our employees mingled with this group of guys we’ve come to call our own.  To be honest, it didn’t really matter what kind of activity we had planned.  We’ve reached that magical realization, not only for impacting these kids, but for our growth as a conscious business, that simply being there is key.

 

If you would like to know more about getting your company involved with Uspiritus, please contact Stu Perry, stuart.perry@uspiritus.org, or find more ways to get involved with the organization here.

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