Mandi Lemons wears many hats at BPG but she always finds time to give back. Whether it is going out of her way to help a fellow colleague, or through volunteering for one of the many organizations the Buccini/Pollin Group supports. Learn more about her passion for the local community.
Q. Why are you so passionate about giving back and volunteering?
A. “The why behind it is simple…because I am able. My mother instilled in me from a young age that it is always better to give than to receive. I have been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer for multiple organizations that benefit children. It truly warms my heart and at the same time leaves me wishing I could do more.”
Q. Which charities have you volunteered with through the Buccini/Pollin Group and what are some of your favorite memories with them?
A. “Some of the organizations I have volunteered with:
Adopt-a-Family – I love taking part in adopt-a-family annually. It brings me such joy in knowing that children who wouldn’t otherwise have a Christmas, now will be making happy Christmas memories. This is all because a lot of small donations add up and the simple act of donating my time to shop for items on a wish list will bring smiles that light up the room & no matter their background or financial situation, on that day they get to be just like other kids.
Kind to Kids – This is an organization that collects items for children who are being removed from their homes and being placed in foster care. This is another one I am blessed to work with annually from collections that are taken and to name a few things, we shop for items like book bags to carry their clothes to their foster home instead of a trash bag, toys that either they didn’t have at home or didn’t get to bring along and journals that help kids to write about their feelings as they are going through this difficult time.
Emma’s Art Kits – This program is to create art kits for children who are sick and in the hospital or kids in facilities where they are not able to live at home. I worked on this one for the first time last year and through a huge group effort, we were able to create over 700 art kits for Kind to Kids and to the Terry Children’s Hospital.
Mentor Program – I love participating in all of the programs I have worked with so far but my favorite would have to be mentoring. I was given the chance to work at a local school in the inner city where students who were the most behaviorally challenged were identified and matched with a mentor. I think this one impacted me the most because the other volunteer work I completed, you get to picture in your mind the impact it makes but this one I could see firsthand. I was able to form a friendship with my mentee and we worked on things like keeping her hands to herself, not taking things that do not belong to her and to focus on her school work. I was able to give her incentives and work with her in academic areas that she was experiencing trouble with. I could see a change in her. Her smile when she saw me walking down the hall made my heart smile and although no thank you was required, her teacher thanked me and I got to meet her mother who was very grateful as well.”
Q. What would you say to other individuals who are skeptical about volunteering?
A. “I would definitely encourage others to volunteer. There are so many organizations that NEED the help. In most cases, all it costs is your time. Find one that means something to you. You can assist at homeless shelters, clothing closets, food banks, animal shelters… the options are endless. You will be so happy you made the decision to make a difference. The reward is felt in your heart & will boost your desire to be the change you want to see in the world.”