The smallest things really can make the biggest difference.
“Doing good is not just about big budgets or huge change, it’s about finding the time in your day to do small, good things,” says Karen Alexander, Content Excellence Manager for
In between working out at her morning Bootcamp class, holding down a full time marketing position at
“I didn’t set out thinking I would volunteer for so long, but rather that I just wanted to make a difference in some small way,” she says. “But Alice has become part of my life and my family’s life for all this time, I couldn’t imagine it without her.”
“I think most people have a positive memory where a
Karen spends time with Alice on a regular basis, providing experiences for her that many people take for granted as a normal part of family life – such as learning to socialising with people of different ages around the braai – the typical South African barbeque. Karen also takes her shopping to teach her how to manage her money and to make choices about what to buy. She has also taken Alice on a seaside holiday and to Sun City, one of South Africa’s most loved holiday resorts.
“If they’re lucky, children in homes may get to do something funoccasionally, when people feel like giving back, so they rely on registered volunteers to give them these types of experiences more regularly,” says Karen. “I hope to give Alice a more rounded view of the world and an ability to cope in the real world later on,” she says.
Alice is now 15 years old and Karen continues to mentor her on a regular basis.
“I think it’s really important for kids who have grown up in children’s homes, to know that they have someone they can rely on and turn to for guidance through some of life’s ups and downs,” she says. “It’s like having a big sister on the other end of the line.”
She hopes Alice will complete her high school education and continue to further her studies.
At work, Karen also makes the time to do good. She is a member of the Women’s Linc Committee, an internal initiative to empower and support women into leadership levels as well as to showcase the company’s involvement in external women empowerment initiatives, such as the Riversands Upcycling Programme. Riversands provides a platform for seamstresses in nearby townships to develop their technical skills, build their business acumen and access new markets. The committee helped the women display and sell their products to
“To me, giving back means spreading some kindness each day - whether it’s helping to collect blankets, or buying something to eat for someone who’s hungry on your way to work,” she adds. “Doing good makes you feel good.”