By: Anthony Matrisciano
January 17, 2013
Pictured above: Blue Cross volunteer Ashley Zingaretti with Serena, Justin and Adam (left to right) at the Beekman Street Center.
Wilkes-Barre, Pa. — Employees from one northeastern Pennsylvania company put their spirit of service into action last year by completing dozens of community service projects throughout the region.
Known as the Caring Corps, volunteers from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) helped local nonprofit agencies serve meals at food banks, conduct health fairs, clean and paint community facilities and provide services to preschool children and seniors.
During 2012, 391 BCNEPA Caring Corps volunteers logged 2,173 hours of community service while completing 36 local projects. Using figures from the Points of Light Foundation, the value of this volunteer service is estimated to have saved local organizations $44,000.
One local nonprofit that benefited from Caring Corps volunteers was Luzerne County Head Start, Inc. BCNEPA employees spent time with the children and helped spruce up the space both inside the Center and in the playground area.
“The Blue Cross employee volunteers started the day in our classroom with the children,” said Jill Urban, Beekman Street Center Manager for Luzerne County Head Start, Inc. “Then, some of the volunteers raked leaves and tidied up the playground while others cleaned our babysitting room and they did an amazing job!”
Urban said that while the clean-up effort was greatly appreciated, the children are the true beneficiaries.
“The fact that the Blue Cross volunteers provided positive attention to our kids was the best part of their visit,” she said. “Spending time with our kids is what makes the biggest difference, and we are hopeful that the Caring Corps volunteers will be back with us soon.”
BCNEPA has always encouraged volunteer service by employees through a company policy that allows full- and part-time employees to take paid time off to assist nonprofit agencies. By creating the Caring Corps nearly eight years ago, BCNEPA took the next step to engage employees in service by actively coordinating volunteer projects for employees to do in groups.
“The Caring Corps benefits everyone involved,” said Cynthia A. Yevich, BCNEPA’s senior director of corporate affairs. “It reinforces our corporate commitment to the community. It gives our employees the chance to develop leadership and team-building skills. It increases employee morale through the personal satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re making a difference. And it provides hundreds of hours of service to help regional nonprofits address the unmet needs of the individuals they serve.”
About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.