The Behailu Academy is an organization that is close to my heart. I started volunteering for them when I was introduced to the organization through a family friend that happened to be on the Board of Directors. I was really drawn to the Behailu Academy because of the direct impact they have made on so many children’s lives in Charlotte. The academy provides arts and recreational projects designed to help teens engage in their creative side, develop critical thinking skills and foster a sense of social responsibility. The results Behailu has brought to our local community have been staggering, leading to a 90% increased interest in the arts and an 88% increase in teenager self-confidence ratings.
I began working with the Behailu Academy a little over one year ago, and my time spent volunteering there has been nothing short of amazing. My first time volunteering for the academy was when we held a mini-concert series to help raise awareness and money for the academy. My role during the event was mostly behind the scenes. I helped them get the venue ready for the concert and helped take care of the kids in between their performances.
I recently attended the Behailu Academy’s Mosaic Award 2017 Luncheon. The Mosaic award recognizes individuals who strive to make a difference in the local and global community. The award was presented to Mary Brand Waite, mother of the late Behailu Academy member John Dalton Waite, who had been recognized for her work performed within the organization and Charlotte community. It was a beautiful event and great to see the kids as they acted as presenters and performed their music.
The highlight of the event was when academy graduate Karina Sorto shared her success story with the community. As a child, Karina had a traumatic upbringing, but through the support she received from the Behailu Academy, was able to graduate high school, find work and is saving up for college and to buy a home for her mother and herself. Karina’s story was very inspiring to listen to, and is just one of the many different examples of how the Behailu Academy has made a positive impact in the community.
It is such a fulfilling experience helping young kids and teenagers discover their passions through art, music and other recreational activities. You can’t help but smile when you are at a Behailu event because of how much love is in the room. I hope that my experience will serve as an inspiration for all to extend a helping hand to their respective communities. Being a part of a company that encourages their employees to give back to the community and help those in need was important to me. So, when I was told that ATR offered a VTO program I knew that I was working for a great company. I really hope that my time volunteering at the Behailu Academy will stand as a testament to the importance of giving and charity within our local community and company.
ATR has a Volunteer-Time-Off (VTO) program which allows each internal employee 40 hours or 5 days off to volunteer an a charitable organization of their choice each year. To read more about our program click here!