Colleagues give back during a pandemic

During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place, Roche colleagues found new ways to give back to their communities, some continuing to support nonprofit organizations they had volunteered with prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazingly, they were able to find the right balance of giving back while working from home, adjusting to the new (anything but) normal.

One colleague, Alexis Power, Medical and Scientific Affairs (MSA) Liaison on the Cardiac team in Indianapolis, approached her volunteerism through personal actions. Due to the lockdowns and concern for the safety of her husband recovering from cancer, Alexis’ work mainly occured in her office, where her seamstress talents produced thousands of quality face masks after learning many frontline workers were asked to make their disposable paper masks “last as long as possible.” Word about her masks spread through the community until eventually she was supplying masks to frontline workers, essential workers, the elderly and neighbors. She also started to grocery shop for elderly neighbors. 

When asked to reflect on her overall experience Alexis shared, “I really feel that looking out for your fellow humans, whether they are family, neighbors or just someone in need, is something we should do every day. The pandemic just gave me the opportunity to do it on a broader scale. I also had a great deal of support from my family and friends in not only making but distributing masks.”

The pandemic not only affected working professionals, but their children as well. This sudden change from physically and regularly being with other kids to being at home alone for days, weeks, months can have lasting effects. Before the pandemic, Companion Diagnostics Senior Scientist Erika Walker in Tucson volunteered by bringing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities to kinder through either grade students. But since last spring shifted to volunteering on her daughter’s swim team, FAST, where she now serves on the board of directors.

Being part of a competitive sport was definitely a way she saw her daughter and other team members fight the isolation felt from online school. She stepped up to get involved, helping the team with everything from administrative tasks and fundraising opportunities to planning and (virtually) working swim meets. She quickly learned that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to transition an organization virtually. The experience working from home fortunately helped her create, with other board members, a virtual model for the organization to stay active. They implemented online yoga, dryland training and weekly video calls for the coaches to provide emotional support to the children. 

When asked what her experience volunteering during shelter-in-place has been like she shared “I am having a great experience volunteering. I work with a board of directors and coaches who just want the kids to swim and achieve their goals. Seeing the smiles and pride on the kids’ faces after a good swim has made all our hard work worth it. That being said, I can’t wait to get back on the pool deck to cheer the kids on in person!”

Follow the #RocheGivesBack hashtag to learn about other community organizations Roche partners with.

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