SHIFT is a firm believer in giving back. That takes various forms, from holiday drives for organizations like Cradles to Crayons and crisis fund drives for events like Hurricane Katrina and the Japanese Tsunamis. It also takes shape in our volunteer program, where each SHIFTer is provided with eight hours of company time to engage with worthy organizations like the West End House. One of our most dedicated volunteers is SF office manager Peter Bayuk, who volunteers over 20 hours a month of his own time to make a difference.
Where do you volunteer?
I volunteer at Project Open Hands here in San Francisco. Project Open Hands provides groceries and meals to sick and elderly San Franciscans.
How long have you volunteered there?
A little over two years as a regular volunteer. I got introduced through SHIFT, volunteering with other SF staffers off and on.
Talk about one of your most memorable volunteer experiences.
Meeting and getting to know people I would never have the opportunity to get to know in any other circumstance. People from all walks of life, from all over the world, with interesting lives and stories. You get to step outside your normal every day bubble and interact with other San Franciscans. At any one time you have the most eccentric, interesting, diverse group of people working together.
Why do you find volunteering important?
It is important to give back, especially when you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your head, good health, a job. Not everybody is so lucky. Everybody has a way to give something back to the community, so why not give back? Every little bit helps. A little bit of effort can go a long way.
What advice do you have for others when choosing a volunteer program?
Just go out there and do it. Find something you are passionate about (education, hunger, homelessness, etc.) and find an organization that works to fix that. Try a lot of programs. Each is very different. Find the one that connects with you and keeps you coming back. Not every org is for everybody.