OtterCares Ambassador Spotlight: Meet Lin!

December 08, 2016

Name: Lin

Department: Receptionist – San Diego, CA

Why did you become an OtterCares Ambassador?: Otters get three full days of PAID volunteer time.  That’s a pretty amazing benefit!  I became an OtterCares Ambassador because I want to help my fellow Otters take advantage of the philanthropic spirit of our leaders.

Who or what has influenced your volunteer work (why do you volunteer?): When my nephew was younger I would take him to an annual river clean-up in our neighborhood.  We had some pretty amazing conversations while we were picking up garbage!  It would start with him picking up a cigarette butt and saying how gross smoking is.  He would ask me why anyone would ever start smoking.  That led to a conversation about peer pressure at school and then we might talk about a class he was struggling with, and other ones he loved, which would lead to a conversation about what he wanted to be when he grew up and what it would take to get there.  He would ask me some tough questions about life sometimes, but he actually listened to what I had to say when we were shin deep in mud pulling a tire out of the river!  For me, spending quality time with my nephew was the best part about those events, and the fact that the river was a little cleaner at the end of it all was the icing on the cake.

Describe a volunteer activity you have been involved in that relates to the OtterCares purpose statement: I have been working with Abraxas High School.  They have this amazing community garden that began by transforming an unused tennis court into a living laboratory where interdisciplinary lessons are drawn from real life experiences, encouraging students to become active participants in the learning process.  This garden goes way beyond being an outdoor classroom.  It instills the philanthropic and entrepreneurial spirit us Otters know so well.  About half of the produce grown in the garden will be donated to the Backyard Produce Project to be distributed to families in need.  The other half will be offered to the community for optional donations from a booth that will be set up at certain times in the school’s parking lot and manned by students.  The donated money collected from this farmer’s market style booth will be invested back into the garden.

Describe your favorite volunteer activity (either one time or ongoing): My favorite way to volunteer is working at aid stations at trail racing events.  We offer water, electrolytes, sweet and salty snacks, and sometimes a Band-Aid to the runners.  But most importantly we offer smiles and encouragement.  This kind of volunteering is important to me because I’ve been on the receiving end of those smiles and I know it has helped me cross the finish line!

Why do you think the OtterCares purpose is important?: Because it’s true!  One young and inspired mind can (and will) change the world.  And I want to make sure that it’s a positive change that will make this world a better place for everyone.