What is VTO?
Volunteer Time Off, or VTO, is an opportunity for our team members to give back to the causes, organizations, and groups we believe in. Each year, every AgencyBloc team member is given 8 hours of VTO time. Scroll down to see how we used our VTO time to give back in 2019.
Special Olympics of Iowa Regional Time Trials
To beat the Iowa April chill, Allison from our marketing team headed indoors to help out with Iowa’s Special Olympics swimming time trials.
Her main duty was to time the athlete in her lane and record for final standings. However, her favorite role was cheerleader. The entire room was booming with cheers and chants from other competitors, families, and the local high school swimming students paired with each athlete as their mentor. Those who medal move onto the state-level competition.
The cause: Since 1968, Special Olympics Iowa has been a statewide movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports. Using sports as the catalyst, and including programming on health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice, and intolerance. As a result, people with intellectual disabilities become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.
Learn more about the Special Olympics of Iowa by visiting their website.
Retrieving Freedom—Iowa Division
Nothing beats a day getting paid to pet dogs, and these AgencyBloc team members spent all of their VTO time doing just that (well, and a couple of other things).
Members of all four teams took time to go play with the adorable pups and lend a helping hand. Tayler from our product team, Neal and Tori from client success, Taylor from sales, and Erica and Kelsey from marketing all participated in cleaning the training center and kennels, feeding the dogs, and, most importantly, taking the dogs out to play. All of the dogs they met were in various levels of training to be certified service dogs.
The cause: Retrieving Freedom, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs to help people. Their primary focuses are training dogs to serve the needs of veterans and children with autism. We breed and train chosen dogs that exhibit specific traits necessary to perform tasks to help these individuals, and we believe in matching the dog to the recipient.
Learn more about Retrieving Freedom by visiting their website.
Blank Park Zoo of Iowa
Midway through the summer, multiple members of the product team took off to hang out and work at their local zoo. Becky, Ani, Dani, and Patty all had a blast getting their hands dirty for a cause that was definitely fun.
One crew helped out in the rhino enclosure clearing out brush and digging a deeper trench to help the new little rhino stay safe and secure. They also put their creative juices to work by painting t-shirts for the zoo’s partner-school in Madagascar to raise awareness for conservation. That little rhino, Kamara, is one of the zoo’s newest members born in April 2019.
The other crew leveraged Dani’s artistic abilities to help create pieces to beautify the zoo. They designed and painted fun characters, a surfboard, and even made some cool jellyfish lanterns. To top it off, they created life-sized lollipops that were taller than all of them!
The cause: The Blank Park Zoo is involved in AZA’s SAFE program, which allows for all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to work together to save species on the brink of extinction. AZA SAFE will focus on 10 different species, saving them from extinction: African penguins, Asian elephants, black rhinoceros, cheetahs, gorillas, sea turtles, sharks, vaquitas, Western pond turtles, and whooping cranes.
Learn more about the Blank Park Zoo by visiting their website.
Habitat for Humanity of Iowa
When it comes to knowing a little bit about a lot of things, Dave from our product team certainly fits the bill. He went off to help Habitat for Humanity in rehabilitating homes for people all around the Des Moines, Iowa metro.
For this particular mission, Dave was stationed at the home of a war veteran and his mother. Dave’s team completely demolished an old stairwell, retaining wall, and handrail and replaced them with well-built, sturdy new ones—new concrete and all! He was particularly excited that he got to use a jackhammer and will definitely be adding that to his growing tool collection.
The cause: Habitat for Humanity of Iowa is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions.
Learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Iowa by visiting their website.
What’s in Store for 2020?
Follow our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds to see what our team is doing and how we’re spending our VTO throughout the year. Then, check back at the end of the year to see our wrap-up blog to get the lowdown on all of the fun!