Giving back to the community is a big part of PRA’s workplace culture. In 2019, our staff volunteered more than 460 hours of their time in the Capital Region and across the country. With regular opportunities to give back during the year, PRA staff members benefit from community service by strengthening the bonds to their local communities.
Research has proven that volunteering one’s time to others reduces stress and symptoms of depression, promotes psychological well-being, and lowers blood pressure. It feels good to help people, and the benefits are felt both mentally and physically. Rather than spending time in solitude, connecting with others in the community is beneficial for social wellness, too. With so many benefits, volunteering doesn’t feel like a responsibility at the end of the day. It’s no wonder our employees are proactive!
Staff at PRA look forward to preparing the monthly made-to-order breakfast for guests at IPH in Albany. Employees sign up to cook, shop for ingredients, and serve meals. PRA staff enjoy cooking up creamy grits, home fries, eggs, bacon, and more, and IPH’s guests enjoy receiving a made-to-order hot breakfast. In 2019, PRA staff volunteered 120 hours cooking breakfasts for IPH guests, and we continue that tradition into this year.
Another PRA tradition is the Morning of Service. Last June, staff volunteered 115 hours of their time amongst six organizations in the Capital Region. Staff built gardens and sorted donations in groups at the Bethlehem Garden Club, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, the Capital Region Boys & Girls Club, Fostering Futures NY, the Veterans Miracle Center, and Unity House. Working together made volunteering a lot more fun, and many hands make light work!
The generosity of our staff members doesn’t end there; our Month of Giving in November is another ongoing tradition with grand success. Each November, PRA highlights four organizations for staff to donate time, money, or goods. In 2019, PRA donated professional clothing to the Young Women’s Christian Association of North Eastern New York’s Soroptimist Closet, donated money to Active Minds chapters across the country, and “adopted” two local families for the holiday season through Albany County’s Department for Children, Youth, and Families. Staff members also volunteered their time at grassroots organizations like Street Soldiers and South End Children’s Café. It was a successful Month of Giving and sets a strong precedent for our next one!
Thorough the year, there are always opportunities to give back. We maintain a collection bin for toiletry donations, such as soaps and shampoo for the guests at IPH. We also keep a Red Bookshelf, where employees can donate gently used children’s books. These books fill bookshelves of children’s books in traditional and nontraditional places where children can bring them home.
At PRA, volunteering is voluntary but encouraged. Little encouragement is needed, however, as many employees look forward to volunteering and giving back to the community. Volunteer work is rewarding and central to PRA’s values. We do good work at a fun place with a hard-working bunch to make an impact, but any place is a fun place when you’re working with our bunch!
Want to learn more about PRA’s volunteering efforts? Check out our infographic!
- Volunteering Is the Best Kept Secret for Mental Health | Vice
- PRA’s 2019 Year in Review | Policy Research Associates