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At Atlassian we’re encouraged as employees to take initiative, and when we do it’s not met with a ton of red tape and approvals. The Atlassian Foundation allows employees 5 calendar days off to work on their favorite charities. Instead of taking a day for myself, I thought it’d be better if we could do a group activity, so last Friday eleven of us met up at Habitat For Humanity’s construction project in South San Francisco for a day’s work.
Habitat is a well known non-profit organization that builds 2- and 3-bedroom houses for working families that otherwise couldn’t afford housing. The houses are built from 90% volunteer effort. Single-day volunteers like us do many of the volunteer hours, while long-term volunteer staff add a bit of expertise and a single project coordinator has the know-how to manage the whole project.
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It went great! We had different approaches. Eugene and Jim jumped at the opportunities to show off their glistening muscles and fabulously manly construction skills by taking on framing and sawing. Trisha thought she had the easy job when she ducked into painting, only to find that it involved a harness and climbing up on the scaffolding. Ultimately she ended up mastering the power tools. Jen, Emily, Boots, Vincent and David hammered and hammered all day. Morgan beat everyone to the punch by being so considerate as to volunteer for the one indoor job (it was pretty cold & misty… such a gentleman). While it seemed like Tim got stuck with the sucker job – ditch diggin’ – sure enough he had a beautifully constructed retaining wall by the end of the day. I myself spent the whole day on the roof, laying out waterproofing that reminded me of kitty litter.
The Foundation will be following up with a contribution to match our attendance – $1,100 for the eleven of us. It seems like having a group activity really kicked us into gear, and we’re planning on continuing the efforts with regular group outings. Even though it was great, I think we’re all glad to be back at our desks pushin’ pencils!
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