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SEI Volunteering: A Family Affair

By: Darren Wilson

Group of diversity people volunteer arm around

It was a misty October morning when my son’s shovel suddenly hit a huge rock. “Just dig a little farther out son. Don’t let temporary obstacles get in your way… It’s just like life, you gotta keep digging!” Everyone laughed at my poor attempt of humor, but the point was made. The group, a collection of SEI consultants along with friends and family, were volunteering for a Trees Atlanta event. As part of the yearly planting program, Trees Atlanta volunteers grab their shovels and plant thousands of trees in dozens of Atlanta neighborhoods. As with most professions, consultants spend a lot of time working together, but volunteer events like Trees Atlanta provided an outlet for a deeper level of solidarity and friendship. Not only were we helping to protect and beautify Atlanta’s urban forest, we were also spending quality time together as a family, while building relationships with other SEI families.

Family Collaboration

SEI is built around consultant collaboration, and the bonds that we form while getting to know each other on a more personal level, makes this collaboration stronger. SEI distinguishes itself by not only encouraging employees to be active with community support, but also providing the means for the entire family. Events are chosen carefully, so that volunteers have the opportunity to make the most of their precious family time. One such opportunity was at Camp Twin Lakes (CTL); an organization that offers camps for kids with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other challenges. SEI has partnered with CTL for several years – donating time, money, computers, and physical effort. Several SEI consultants and their families had the opportunity for a day of giving back to this worthy organization. We toured the camp, learned about their mission, enjoyed a day of camaraderie, hard work, and yes – even FUN.

Teaching Opportunities

Looking back, I cannot stress enough how these volunteer events have helped my work/life balance, while providing a wonderful teaching opportunity for my kids. Take for example: SEI’s participation handing out water at the Hotlanta Half Marathon in 2014. As the very first elite runners came barreling down MLK Drive, my 7 year old enthusiastically tried, in vain, to give the race leader a cup of water. While the other SEI’ers and their family’s cheered my youngest for his efforts, it was obvious that my pre-race lecture about community service worked, because he REALLY wanted these runners to have some water. I was incredibly proud of his commitment and the fact that both my kids have a greater understanding of community support.

Being EPIC in our Communities

Beyond encouraging my children to engage in community outreach, it also provides my family the opportunity to meet and form friendships with the colleagues I spend the majority of my work week with. As we come together to plant trees, paint cabins, hand out water, prepare school supplies, or even gather presents for disadvantaged families, our families collaborate and demonstrate what highly motivated individuals can achieve together. I can’t think of a better display of the EPIC model than in the excellence, participation, integrity, and collaboration that each consultant and their families put forward to help the communities we live, work and play in.

Come join us in our efforts!

Darren Wilson


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