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screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-12-02-35-pm-150x150This is a guest blog post written by Allison Riggs, Global Marketing Manager at e-Core, a global leader in Agile methodologies, Application Development Lifecycle Management and an Atlassian Platinum and Enterprise Expert for over 10 years.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Ghandi

When the call to action came to join the Pledge 1% Initiative, the e-Core leadership team realized that this was more than just a chance to do good in our communities, but also an opportunity to inspire our teams to do good together.

Getting started as a team

Our first project started with a small community center, Casinha, or “little house”, for children in the impoverished area outside of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Since e-Core’s largest office and main service delivery center is located in downtown Porto Alegre, it made sense for us to start there. During our first visit to the center we noticed they had a lot of great computer equipment that hadn’t been set up or used yet.

Our tech teams knew this was the best way they could begin helping by building computer stations and putting desktop computers together. After setting up their computer room, our teams starting providing computer classes for kids after school.

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This one small idea then turned into a dedication to bettering the home in multiple areas, including offering music classes, organizing soccer games, and eventually funding and painting the entire house. Our employees turned one small project into an ongoing partnership including monthly events with Casinha.

As the teams in Brazil became more involved, the inspiration spread to our other offices in the U.S. Choosing to combat the issue of local hunger, our New York and Tampa, Florida offices started working with food banks and shelters to package and deliver healthy meals to families in need. In just the past five months, our teams across our four global offices have completed over 190 hours of volunteer hours with four different organizations.

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My Pledge 1% story

My personal journey with the Pledge 1% program started when I joined our e-Core Committee for giving back. The first project I worked on was with a few co-workers at the distribution center of Feeding Tampa Bay, where we stocked shelves of food for local food pantries. After this first small effort, I knew I could give more to people in need.

My husband and I started talking about what we could do for a village that he visited earlier this year in Las Salinas, Nicaragua. Like most under-developed countries, only 20% of Nicaragua’s population has consistent and affordable access to clean water. Contaminated water mainly affects children, often leading to months of missed school and/or serious medical conditions.

This is where we knew we could make an impact. Through my husband’s work in Central America over the last nine years, we had purchased three simple, small, and highly-effective water systems. One of these water systems can provide clean water for up to 70 homes, or an entire school, in a community indefinitely.

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With our expedition bags, the water systems, and our determination to make a difference, we left for Las Salinas for one full week. Working as a team with friends in Las Salinas, we were introduced to Erno, the director of seven schools, and Martita, the director of the local medical clinic. In less than an hour, we had trained them both on how to use the systems in each of their locations.

Martita explained to us that every month she travels to even more remote villages to provide check-ups and health education to families. She was excited to bring the water system with her to provide a solution for children and pregnant women in desperate need of clean water. Their hope for their communities was visible, as laughter, hugs and tears were shared over the next few days. We realized that together we each had a small piece of the puzzle to bringing these water systems to where they needed to be and providing clean water to thousands of people.

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Giving back is part of teamwork

My story is just one of many at e-Core where people are coming together as teams or individuals to make an impact around the world. The Pledge 1% program has provided the opportunities for our team to interact in a new way as people from different departments come together to drive efforts forward. Support engineers, HR Analysts, IT Teams and executives stand side-by-side giving back to those in need.

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Here are some ways your team can get started:

  • Just start! Once we made the Pledge, we created a committee of only four people to implement the program company-wide. Our first project consisted of a few team members who showed the kids at Casinha how to use Google to help with their homework. It doesn’t have to be a big idea to make a big impact in the lives of others.
  • Create easy ways for your employees to get involved. Provide a few examples of places to volunteer and make signing up easy. We use Jira to request, approve and track our volunteer hours.
  • Create a culture of sharing your experiences. We ask our teams to share their stories on Confluence. Teams are motivated to encourage each other and talk about how they are giving back.

We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Pledge 1% community and we hope you will join us and take the pledge!

Throughout October, tweet a photo of you and your team volunteering with the hashtag #TeamUp4Good to show the world all the different ways teams can make a difference. Be sure to @mention the organization you’re volunteering with, too – we’ll RT to give them some extra exposure. And if you’re going to #AtlassianSummit, present your #TeamUp4Good post at the Swag Store and receive a special token of appreciation..

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