On the morning of December 4, 75 College of Charleston student-athletes huddled together on the basketball court of TD Arena. Instead of running drills, student-athletes from all 18 of the Cougars' Division I teams were standing on either side of long tables, dropping soap, toothbrushes and other items into gallon-sized plastic bags to make hygiene kits. At another table, student-athletes were busy making handmade cards and notes of encouragement to put inside the bags. The first Cougars' Day of Service was underway.
"I had no idea the impact that we, as an athletic community, could have on so many areas in our community," CofC softball player Lexee Emmanuel said. "The locations, the jobs and the opportunities that Trident United Way allowed us to take part in was unbelievable, and so beneficial - not only for those in need, but for our athletics community as well."
TUW's volunteer engagement services have grown exponentially since beginning in 2017 and the ability to facilitate on-site opportunities for companies and groups is just the latest addition to the menu of services it provides.
"TUW has previously assisted companies like Pinnacle and Mercedes-Benz Vans with kit assembly projects that allowed the volunteer engagement team to test our ability to provide onsite facilitation," TUW Strategic Volunteer Engagement Director Melissa Britton said. "It got us to where we are today."
Trident United Way is now able to offer companies tailored on-site volunteer opportunities, providing everything from materials and staff time to project management and facilitation. This reduces a barrier for companies that want to demonstrate corporate social responsibility but may not have the ability to dedicate staff time towards organizing projects.
"The College of Charleston athletic department was thrilled to partner wtih TUW," CofC Associate AD for External Operations Jaamal Walton said. "The TUW staff made this inaugural event run so smoothly because the operation was so well-organized and planned. I look forward to the next Cougars' Day of Service and the opportunity to give back to the Charleston community."
Research shows that company-sponsored volunteer activities result in increased employee satisfaction and retention. Trident United Way offers activities that can have the same teambuilding effects as the more traditional ropes course outings, but that also positively impacts the community where employees live and work. TUW is uniquely positioned to identify the needs of the community and create volunteer opportunities that meet those needs.
In addition to packing 800 hygiene and snack kits that were distributed to six local agencies, student-athletes and staff went out into the community to complete projects with five of Trident United Way's funded partners. A total of 300 members of the CofC athletics community participated.
"We're seeing that there has been a real preference for creating a custom day of service," Britton said. "Like College of Charleston, it usually results in a mixture of off-site and on-site projects but we can tailor the day to fit whatever needs the company has."
Interested in partnering with Trident United Way to plan an on-site volunteer project? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.