A summer job means learning the ropes, but at CSL Behring in Kankakee, Illinois, it also means learning to give back.
The biotech facility’s 44 summer workers stepped away from their duties on a recent afternoon to volunteer at the Manteno Veterans Home. The experience was memorable for the college students.
Sophie Marshall, a summer employee in quality control, enjoyed getting to know 103-year-old Josephine, who served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. Just two days before the student visit, the centenarian went fishing for the second time in her life.
“Her stories really touched me because it showed that there was more to her life than just the war. She reminded me that it is important to enjoy the little things,” Marshall said.
The students were paired with veterans for a “Poker-thon,” a wheelchair-friendly event. The students and vets visited 10 outdoor stations for a chance to pick a card and win a prize.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of our veterans. It was incredible to hear all of their different stories,” said Michael Schultz, a student in the Project Management Co-Op. “I give my thanks to all of our veterans for their bravery and willingness to serve our country.”
The millennial and post-millennial generations are known for their commitment to volunteering and seeking meaningful work. According to the Millennial Impact Report, one-third said their companies’ volunteer policies affected their decision to apply for a job; 39 percent said that it influenced their decision to interview; and 55 percent said that such policies played into their decision to accept an offer.
Millennials will soon lead all other generations when it comes to volunteer hours, dispelling stereotypes, according to the book “Thrive” by Ariana Huffington.
“The goal for this event was to enable students to give back into the community and interact with one another. We (CSL Behring) want our students to leave this summer learning new job skills along with the importance of volunteering in Kankakee County or any county where they work in the future,” said Lana Arndt, Talent Development.
The Manteno Veterans Home thanked the students for the visit and their support.
“Their actions demonstrated hope for the future,” said Michelle Shear, Manteno Veterans Home Volunteer Department.
Karyna Sagalai, a finance intern, said a veteran named John gave her and her fellow students words to live by.
“He told us a phrase we will never forget,” she said. “Life is a giggle. If things look bad now – just wait a little and everything will turn out to be just fine.”