Volunteer Spotlight: Jon Munro

J_Munro_9_jpgJon Munro has been a part of the Commonwealth community since 2006 and is currently a supervisor in our Service Center. In this role, Jon coordinates day-to-day operations, oversees personnel, guides efficiency initiatives, and serves as an escalation resource to our associates and advisors. He is one of a select few who were elected to a year-long appointment on the Commonwealth Cares board for a 2013–2014 term.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in Giving Back?
A: I am a firm believer of giving back to people in need. Whether it is learning how to knit a hat to help a child cope through chemotherapy, donating a pair of shoes to help a person needing support in Africa, or spending time with some less fortunate children who live in a homeless shelter, I like to get involved. My twin sister and I were fortunate enough to get adopted by a loving and caring family, so I believe that a lot of my inspiration comes from them.

Q: What was one of your favorite Giving Back initiatives at Commonwealth?
A: I may be a bit biased here, but Birthday Wishes is my favorite Giving Back initiative at Commonwealth. For the past few years, my Service Center colleague Christina McCalla and I have been able to successfully run the Birthday Wishes program, bringing birthday parties to homeless children on a monthly basis.

There are a number of reasons why Birthday Wishes is my favorite, some of which are:

  • This is an ongoing initiative, so it feels special to be able to put a smile on these children’s faces each month.
    The program brings together different groups with Commonwealth, whether it be reserving a conference room to wrap presents and make goodie bags or attending the parties to celebrate with the children and their families.
  • People who may not necessarily work with each other during the day have a chance to get together and help with a great cause.
  • I get to throw a memorable birthday party for a group of kids who may not have had one otherwise. It’s just fun to see how excited they get.

Q: Can you share with us a story about how you know you’ve made a difference?
A: At the first shelter we volunteered at, there was a two-year-old girl who I played games with. Each month, she tended to follow me around and raise her arms for me to pick her up; however, she was very mellow and never said much. When her birthday approached, her mother let me know that she loves Elmo from Sesame Street, so I asked the Commonwealth employees who volunteered to shop that month to pick out Elmo-themed gifts. When she opened the presents, she went absolutely nuts—jumping with joy and shouting “Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!,” while giving the doll a big bear hug. I had never seen her so animated. It was truly a special moment for everyone who was there.

Q: Tell us about some of the charitable work you do outside of the office.
A: It is nice having so many philanthropic-minded colleagues at Commonwealth, as most of my other charitable participation comes from getting involved with the things that are near and dear to their hearts. I’d liked to get around to knitting another cap for the kids undergoing chemotherapy. It has been a while since I picked up the knitting needles, so hopefully it’s like riding a bike.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who’s looking to get involved in Giving Back?
A: Talk to your family, friends, or co-workers and learn about the initiatives they are involved with and enjoy. Supporting them is a great entry point.

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