Staying Connected through Volunteering
For Kelly Crowder, connecting with coworkers comes one community project at a time.
When Kelly Crowder started her career with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) in 1994, she couldn’t have imagined how technology would allow her to telecommute to work every day. Today, Crowder’s commute is just a few short steps through her house to her desk.
Like many work-from-home employees, she’s not physically present at headquarters and misses connecting with coworkers on a regular basis. But for Crowder, participating through BCBSOK’s employee volunteer program Blue Corps℠, has opened the door to strengthening existing relationships and forming new ones.
It’s easy to get caught up on day-to-day routines and individual problems. Volunteering can bring a new perspective to how you view your coworkers when accomplishing a project to help someone in need.
“When I first made the transition to work from home, I knew it could change how engaged I felt with my team and organization,” says Crowder. “By gaining flexibility with my work schedule, I can participate in activities with Blue Corps and remain engaged with my coworkers. I have built new relationships all while giving back to the community.”
Through her Blue Corps participation, she’s witnessed how volunteer activities can transform teams. When employees come together and work hard for others, they strengthen their own relationships.
“It’s easy to get caught up on day-to-day routines and individual problems,” says Crowder. “Volunteering can bring a new perspective to how you view your coworkers when accomplishing a project to help someone in need.”
Giving back isn’t something new to Crowder. She started volunteering as a child through her school’s Girl Scouts organization. Today, she’s proud to support both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America, the Caring Van program through Oklahoma’s Caring Foundation, the Community Food Bank’s Back Pack Program, and organizations that focus on health and fitness.
BCBSOK’s Blue Corps program is a way for employees to give back to the community through volunteer hours and monetary donations. For every hour Crowder volunteers with a nonprofit community partner, BCBSOK donates $20 per hour – up to $2,000 to each organization through its Matching Dollars program.
A few of Crowder’s 2017 volunteer highlights include ringing the bell for holiday donations for the Salvation Army, participating in Tulsa Area United Way’s Day of Caring with Global Gardens, encouraging young runners through the YMCA Tulsa Kids Running Program, and event support for the YWCA Women Who Care Share domestic violence fundraiser. ,
For those looking for ways to volunteer in their community, Crowder’s advice is to watch for activities that match your passion or interest.
“There really is something for everyone. Plus, it’s the greatest gift to know you’re making a difference.”