Volunteer of the quarter: Sara Matijascic
Hear about Sara's rewarding work helping kids in the Portland area in after school programs.
Employees are our greatest asset, and we share their time and talents with nonprofits around the world through volunteerism. Momentive is building a culture around it, encouraging employees to give back to the communities where they live and work.
In recognition of their generosity, we’re highlighting one employee each quarter who is living our #standforequality value through volunteer work. This quarter, we’re recognizing Sara Matijascic from Portland, Oregon. With this recognition, Sara will receive $500 USD to donate to a charity of her choice.
Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer so I can connect with and invest in my community. I volunteer about 6 hours every week with an after school program for kids ages 6-18 in East Portland and a wellness program for girls ages 12-18.
What is your favorite charity?
We Belong PDX. I love their grassroots origin story—the director started the organization the first summer of the pandemic by bringing games and sports equipment to the parking lot of an apartment complex near a school she used to work at in East Portland. The goal was to get the kids outside to play and interact with each other, and to also provide tutoring for kids who were struggling with the transition to remote learning.
Now we have an indoor space and the programming is more structured, but the focus is still the same - providing a safe, fun, supportive environment for kids in a traditionally under-resourced part of the city. Even though there is some structure, there's also the flexibility to meet the kids where they're at on any given day—some kids just need to run around and play soccer for an hour, others need help with their homework.
This summer we started a 6 week wellness program for the teen girls in the program. We used an app to set weekly goals and challenges like drinking 8 glasses of water per day or reducing screentime, and we brought them to a gym in the neighborhood once a week to try different exercise classes and equipment. At the end of the six weeks, we were able to take them on a tour at Nike HQ in Beaverton, OR, and they each received a $100 gift card to the Nike employee store, thanks to one of our volunteers who works at Nike. It was amazing to see the girls stick to their goals, and now they all want to work at Nike!
Any advice to give to others thinking about volunteering?
Do it! Also, if you pursue one volunteer opportunity and find that it's not for you, don't feel bad about moving on to something different.
Sara’s weekly volunteerism supporting children in her community is an inspiration to other employees at Momentive and we hope it is for you too. You can read more about the ways Momentive supports the community in our 2021 Social Impact Report.