PaperFree in the Community

PaperFree believes in community and giving back.  Twice a year our employees volunteer their time at a local charity, foundation, or organization of their choosing.  By doing this, we assist these organizations in furthering their causes, help those who are disadvantaged, and make our community a better place to be.

Below are reflections from our employees on their volunteering experiences.

Joshua Martinez

Carlsbad High School has a program that helps their students develop skills through workshops and internship experience.  The program is called the Academy Program.  As part of that program, students are required to participate in mock interviews that are meant to represent real-world job interviews.  These interviews give the students practice and interviewing skills.  This academic year, PaperFree Corporation was happy to be a sponsor and participant of those interviews.  Providing feedback and advise to the students during those interviews shows one of the many ways PaperFree is able to use its expertise and skills.  Below is feedback received from some of the students and teachers.

“Thank you so much for reaching out and joining us this year for our mock interviews.  This was a great learning experience for our students.”
– L. Papera, Program Coordinator

“Thank you for the great opportunity with the mock interview.  It was great getting to know my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to interviewing.”
– C. Opp, Student

“I am writing to thank you for your time spent interviewing me for the Internship Academy and giving me valuable feedback that I can utilize in my future interviews.  It was greatly appreciated.”
– S. Edelman, Student

Michelle Iglesias

Recently, I had the opportunity to use my graphic design skills to help my nephew's elementary school with marketing efforts for an event that they are organizing.  They are organizing their first ever Latin Festival, which will feature Latin foods, crafts, music, and dancing, and they needed informational flyers with a bit more polish than they are able to do on their own.  I volunteered my graphic design skills to the PTA way back in August and they finally found a project for me :)

With their provided information I created flyers in English and Spanish, with a Latin-inspired design, and revised them several times until they were perfect (there were many people - and opinions - involved in the approvals process, lol).  These flyers will go home with students and also be distributed in the community.  Once finalized, I also created social media friendly versions for distribution on the school's Facebook and Twitter accounts.  The PTA and school officials organizing the event were thrilled with the result and we hope that this event is a success!

The outcome also put me solidly on their graphic design radar and I've also completed some other small professional-level flyers for the PTA since creating the Latin Festival flyer for them.

Mark Cook

Volunteered to help wipe old donated machines to be used in classrooms in LA and Riverside for hardware classes. As part of this, we also allowed members of the congregation to bring in their machines and we did backups/virus scans and all kinds of basic IT support stuff.

Mark Cook

Joined a group from a friend’s church in downtown to pass out blankets and sandwiches to the homeless population. This was the first-time volunteering with this particular church and it was a little unorganized, but it is always humbling to get to talk with some of the people who truly are thankful for any amount given.

Michelle Iglesias

For my second volunteer activity this year I participated in my church group's preparation of hygiene kits to be distributed to the homeless in downtown San Diego.  After organizing all of the donations from ourselves and other church members we each grabbed a gallon-sized zip bag and filled them with items one by one.  In the end, we created about sixty kits, some geared towards men, others for women, and some were generic in nature.  In all, we provided the homeless with toothbrushes, toothpaste, new socks, combs, hand sanitizer, wipes, soap, basic first aid supplies, and more.  Another group distributed the kits a week later.  We were grateful to be able to help the health and wellbeing of the homeless with our kits!

Joshua Martinez

During the summer break, we wanted to do something for the kids of the church and community to keep them away from the usual routine of tv, video games, computers, etc.  What we decided to do was offer free music lessons for those who wanted to join.  The idea was not to focus on creating musical stars (as most of these kids where ages 5-10), but rather to keep them entertained, focused, and busy during their summer break.  Rather than having them spent hours watching tv, playing video games, etc. we had them come in three times a week to practice singing or playing a musical instrument of their choice.  Over these two months we saw them strive to learn as much as they could.  Because of that, we feel that continuing this effort will be beneficial for them.

Daniel Fitzpatrick

BagsLast weekend, I helped to assemble survival bags to be passed out to members of the homeless community. These bags contain food items like nuts and apple sauce as well as toiletries like toothpaste and wet wipes. I started off on the assembly line putting toothbrushes into the bags, and then moved over to help seal and organize the completed bags. By the end, there were over 200 bags ready to be handed out to anyone who needs them.

Bryan Nguyen

Last year I took a part in two volunteering events that help families in need. The first event was with Feeding San Diego. Feeding San Diego is an organization that focuses on fighting hunger in the city of San Diego. They do this by accepting food donations and distributing them to families in need. For the event, local grocery stores donated a huge amount of fruits and vegetables. Our task was to separate the rotten fruits and vegetables so the good ones could be donated to local families in need. The second event was with Harvest CROPS. Fruit tree owners work with Harvest CROPS to donate extra fruits to low income families. I went to one of the fruit tree owner's home to help pick oranges from the dozens of trees to donate. These tasks were fun, challenging, and well worth it knowing that it helped people in need.

Michelle Iglesias

Empty NestersThis month I had the opportunity to oversee and help the teens of my church congregation organize an annual Valentines dinner for the "empty nesters" in the congregation and their friends. We use the term "empty nester" to describe anyone who's raised a family and whose kids have left the nest and moved on, so to speak. The close-knit group runs the gamut from middle aged couples to our stellar nonagenarian Muriel, who loves dishing out life advice and a current headcount of her various degrees of grandchildren.

The idea for this dinner came three years ago after several members of the congregation passed away and left widows behind. We knew that Valentines Day could prove difficult for the widows, so we wanted to provide a fun, upbeat activity with friends so they could still recognize the holiday but without emphasizing the pangs of loss. We decided that a dinner would be an excellent fit for this purpose as it gave us leaders an opportunity to teach the youth a variety of planning and food prep skills, and who doesn't love it when someone cooks for you?

Preparation for the event started back in January with me teaching the youth how to make lasagna from scratch and decorate display cakes, and helping them create decorations. Other leaders who are talented in such things helped organize a musical number for the dinner as well as assisted with the overall organization of the event. I also prepared games for the event - this year was Valentine's-themed bingo and our youth were good to me and ran it while I was busy overseeing cleanup :) (I also made stained glass heart suncatchers as bingo prizes). We also prepared a way for our guests to leave some experiences and insight for the teens with cards that ask them to answer one of several fun questions, such as "What was the best date you've been on?" and "What did you think of your spouse at first?" The teens love this.

In all, it's a fun event that our Empty Nesters look forward to every year and that we are happy to provide for them.

Derek Ihde

DerekMy son Hunter and I were lucky enough to participate in the Wreaths Across America event held at Fort Rosecrans national cemetery December 16, 2017.  It’s a special event that has people help put wreaths on the graves of service men and women.  It was a great turnout, and there was a beautiful service beforehand that went through the history of the event.  They detail how the event is held throughout the U.S. on various site on the same date each year.  Each branch of the military was represented and spoke to the importance of the event.  All in all a very powerful event, that showed you first hand the impact it had.

WreathIt was also a great opportunity for my son to get exposed to the sacrifices the service men and women made to allow us to live the life we live today.  It also showed him the kind of impact he can have by reaching out to help when there is need.  A great event that we were very happy to be a part of.