Editor’s Note: Broadcom Community Heroes recognizes civic engagement and volunteerism by Broadcom employees around the globe, who may nominate themselves or their colleagues for recognition under guidelines set forth by Broadcom Foundation. The Community Engagement Committee honors these employees with a $500 gift in their honor from a list of qualifying charities. In this series on the blog, we’ll profile each Community Hero to share stories about their interests and work benefiting their communities around the world.
Kayla Hunter, a Business Systems Analyst in Irvine, Calif., volunteers for the Mental Health Association Project Together Mentor Program, which works to provide mentor services to children and families throughout Orange County.
Below is an edited interview.
What inspired you to get involved with your current charity?
I wanted to spend more of my time volunteering and was set on finding an organization where my efforts directly impacted someone. A friend suggested Project Together, an organization that provides mentoring services to children and families receiving mental health treatment through the Orange County Health Care Agency. Within two weeks of applying, I was matched with a mentee.
What surprised you most about your work with the group?
How much I enjoyed planning outings! I took my mentee roller skating, miniature golfing and laser tagging just to name a few activities. I had so much fun acting like a kid again.
What do you most look forward to when working with the group?
I love making memories and seeing my mentee try new things. I always try to plan outings that I already know she would enjoy, but sometimes going outside the comfort zone is what really enables people to change.
Where do you see the greatest impact in the community from the work this group is doing?
Mentees are given opportunities that their families and society couldn’t provide them with. For some, a trip to Barnes & Noble is the highlight of their week. No matter their mental illness, be it bipolar disorder, depression or social anxiety, all mentees flourish socially and mentally with the help of their mentor.
What would you like to accomplish with your work next year?
I’ve spent time working with younger generations so now I’d like to offer my time to the elderly. I think it will be a new challenge filled with opportunities to grow.
Share with us a favorite story about your work. What made the experience so rewarding?
On one of our outings we went kayaking, a sport I’ve grown accustomed to living so close to the beach. My mentee never stopped talking about that outing as one of the best days of her life. It reminded me to never take life for granted or grow numb to experiences just because they’re constantly made available to us.
What advice would you give to employees at Broadcom who want to become volunteers?
Start small. It’s true what they say about “every little bit counts.” Volunteering can be a huge commitment so find something that you are passionate about and go from there. No matter what the contribution is, every volunteer is a hero to someone.
To see all of the Broadcom Global Community Heroes, visit the Broadcom Foundation website.