Community involvement is a vital thread in the fabric of our company, even woven into our core Visions and Values. In 2016, an overwhelming number of colleagues demonstrated their commitment to our communities, collectively volunteering more than 62,000 hours across numerous events — helping us reach 124% of our volunteer goal. Recently, we talked with ABRC Business Insurance Consultant Mohammad El-Sawaf, about his work with the Children’s Defense Fund, where he has been a volunteer since 2015.
It ensures that every child gets a healthy, safe, head start in life, as well as successful passage to adulthood through the help of caring families and the community.
My family didn’t have much growing up, but we worked hard and we found a way. Unfortunately, too many youth in our communities face far more challenging circumstances than I did. Because of this, I knew I wanted to find a way to give back.
One day, I was invited by my close friend — who, at that time, was Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund — to attend Beat the Odds event. It was very impactful, highlighting the achievements of five of the brightest students in the Twin Cities and the adversities they faced. I was so inspired that I wanted to get involved. I was asked to join CDF’s advisory board and become an ambassador for kids. I felt strongly that this was one of my opportunities to give back.
As an active board member for CDF, I’m involved in legislative agendas and promoting policy-awareness initiatives.
I have the fortunate experience of participating on Beat the Odds’ scholarship selection committee. This includes selecting five finalists from hundreds of applicants by listening to their stories, reviewing their essays and reading through recommendation letters.
In 2017, I was nominated to be the chair of the Beat the Odds host committee. Many hours go into planning this incredible event and I’m proud that Associated Bank will be a sponsor at this event for the second year in a row.
I’ve become more aware of the challenges that still exist among underprivileged youth in our communities. Another eye-opener was learning about the annual data book called KIDS COUNT, which tracks the national and state-by-state levels of children’s well-being in the U.S. It seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.
Be deliberate about your passions, both professionally and philanthropically. A combination of the two will create limitless opportunities for you and, more notably, those you help.
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