Gareth Jacobs, delivering good energy
11 Dec 2018
This year, we shared the stories of some of our most passionate people in our Sustainability Report and Shareholder Review, and asked what 'good energy' meant to them.
Each year Origin employees donate their time by giving back to the community. Our volunteering manager Ruth Lee describes how their efforts have now been recognised by Workplace Giving Australia.
8,000 hours is almost the entire number of hours in one whole year.
It’s also the number of hours Origin employees spent last year mentoring and supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable students, assembling solar lights and prosthetic limbs for children in developing countries, using their specialist skills and expertise to assist our community partners but also planting trees, sorting groceries and toys and cooking sausages.
So the Gold Award for the Origin Foundation’s Give Time volunteering program from Workplace Giving Australia belongs to everyone at Origin who spends their timing volunteering to support Origin Foundation community partners.
While having our volunteering program recognised as best practice by Workplace Giving Australia is definitely a career highlight for me, seeing our people support community organisations including, Beacon Foundation, The Smith Family, Solar Buddy, Helping Hands, The Big Issue, Foodbank, OzHarvest, Habitat for Humanity, and Conservation Volunteers is what brings me personal satisfaction on a daily basis.
The Origin Foundation was set up in 2010, with Origin people deciding its focus on education – as the best way to help break the cycle of disadvantage and empower young people to reach their potential.
The Solar Buddy project has seen Origin volunteers go into Australian schools, helping students assemble solar powered lights for children in Papua New Guinea who don’t have electricity. While the lights allow the children to study at night without being exposed to toxic fumes from kerosene lamps, the Australian students also learned about the benefits of solar and what they can do to help end energy poverty around the world – nurturing an interest in STEM and its potential to solve global problems.
With Helping Hands, Origin volunteers showed students how engineering can change lives through the assembly of basic prosthetic limbs for children living in war torn countries.
Whether our people are mentoring our First Nations students, encouraging girls to take an interest in STEM or helping a Big Issue vendor start their day the right way by cooking them breakfast, the impact of the Foundation’s volunteering program has been profound – on volunteers as well as those who we are helping.
Those employees who volunteer tell us that it increases their pride in working at Origin, and, through independent evaluation, we know that our community partners value their contribution.
We are proud of our people and our Gold Award and look forward to increasing our impact in the future.