Tales of giving back with Red Cross and Green Cross Italy

  • Posted on July 13, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Tales of giving back with Red Cross and Green Cross Italy

At Avanade, we are committed to encouraging our people to offer a tangible contribution to the community by offering eight volunteer hours to employees each year. Our employees make use of this time to give back in different ways, and today, we’re showcasing the experiences of Talent Acquisition Specialist Barbara Maran and Infrastructure Consultant Vincenzo Petriglieri from Avanade Italy. They each talked about their experiences as volunteers for the Red Cross and Green Cross Italy, associations which offer first response services to the community, free of charge.

Avanade News: What led you to become a volunteer?

Barbara: I do volunteer work because when I put on the uniform, I make my best self available to others. In that moment, no matter how the day has gone, what’s going on in my head or what time it is, I know I can offer concrete help to people. It’s almost as if I lead a double life. My everyday life in which I am Barbara — daughter, friend, a recruiter for Avanade — and my life in my red uniform: a young woman who goes into people’s houses to be a reference point for them.

Vincenzo: We are all part of the same community. Doing little things for others just comes naturally in spontaneous gestures, such as giving up your seat to a stranger on the subway or opening the door for someone. Acts of kindness are not just appreciated by those who receive them; they benefit those who perform them as well. Often, we don’t realize how much we can give, but we’re the ones who create the world in which we live, and everything we do for others, we also do for ourselves.

Avanade News: How did you become involved with this particular volunteer opportunity?

Vincenzo: I was looking for the right activity for me, where I could feel real human contact and make a tangible contribution. There are many initiatives for volunteer work, but I fell in love with being a Green Cross operator immediately.

Barbara: My experience with the Red Cross began in 2012. Being an ambulance volunteer both intrigued and terrified me. I asked myself: “Will I be able to stay calm and lucid in emergency situations?” and “Will I merit the trust people will place in me?” Today, eight years later, I still feel the initial enthusiasm and I know I still have so much to learn.

Avanade News: How has this experience enriched you?

Barbara: Each action can give us — and I consider them to be a true gift — something that is different and unique. That simple “thank you” from patients or their families at the end of a call perfectly sums up what we receive each time we help someone. I have also had the opportunity to meet exceptional people, my teammates, with whom a relationship has been created that is difficult to put into words. But we are all ordinary people who are capable of making life extraordinary.

Vincenzo: This experience has given me so much; it has broadened my awareness. Being in contact with people who really need support helps me to focus and identify the real problems in life and what is truly important. The relationship with my teammates is also fundamental for me. We come from different professions and walks of life, but we’re like pieces in a puzzle that fit perfectly together. We have the invaluable opportunity to compare notes and learn from others as we share this experience.

Avanade News: How are you able to reconcile work and volunteer commitments?

Vincenzo: Each person offers his or her time based on their availability. In my case, this means night shifts and weekends. Of course, it is exhausting to work nights and then go into the office or meet with clients the next morning, but what I get out of every shift is much more than the commitment required.

Barbara: I mainly do night shifts and weekends. As Vincenzo said, reconciling volunteer work and a job is not always easy, but the next morning, sipping my coffee, I know that I have done something that, in some way, has made me proud of myself and how tired I am fades into the background.

Avanade News: How are individuals and organizations contributing during the COVID-19 emergency?

Barbara: The response of the community in this historic period is extraordinary. I realize that anyone who is able to help the organizations like the one I work for is doing so, without hesitation.

Vincenzo: In general, it’s nice to hear people say, “Thank you.” During this emergency, each of us is making a contribution with what we have available — small donations, sanitary equipment, meals. But what struck me the most was a banner which read, simply, “Thank you,” hung from the balcony facing our headquarters.

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