Huddled around tables with laptops open, a group of Walmart Global eCommerce employees engaged in a spirited debate around improving the functionality of the APC website. After a brainstorming session that resulted in pages of notes tacked to the walls, the coding began.
Inspired by a challenge to think of creative ways to use her team’s considerable professional skills, Anna Smalley of Walmart Global eCommerce worked with APC’s volunteer coordinator to design projects that ranged from web engineering to photography. Because the agency’s first priority has always been the safety and well-being of its resident community, Anna’s group gave APC staff access to the kind of technical expertise that is often out-of-reach for a direct service agency.
“It was fun to see people contribute skills that are specialized for the first time,” said Anna. “It was really exciting to see them realize that they could actually use what they do everyday to make a direct impact in their community.”
Anna, herself, is no stranger to APC. She has been volunteering at the agency since 2006 when she saw a local news article about the Farm2Market (formerly the Growing Youth Project) and decided to get involved. After spending two company-sponsored volunteer days on the APC farm, she knew that she could increase her impact by recruiting her co-workers to get involved, too. “I could do so much work in a day, but group could do so much more,” she said.
Over the years, Anna has helped to organize groups that have worked at APC’s community garden, farm and at Ploughshares Nursery. During their most recent visit, the Walmart group not only completed several technical projects, but also worked with the APC farm crew to get the fields ready for the first big planting of 2013.
Anna also offered some advice to future volunteers.
“Just know that if you come here you are going to have an awesome experience, and connect with people that will inspire you!”
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