Richara Johnson: Making Giving Back a Priority
While some of us are sleeping in or running errands, every Saturday morning Richara Johnson wakes up bright and early to volunteer with Family Services of Greater Vancouver. Despite her busy work schedule and frequent business trips, she dedicates anywhere from 4 – 10 hours volunteering with varying organizations every week.
Through Go Volunteer, Richara was able to connect with a number of ongoing volunteer opportunities, one of which was Family Services of Greater Vancouver. Her Saturday volunteering with Family Services entails working with a group of boys, aged 11-12, that are on the Autism spectrum. The group gives the boys a safe environment to get engaged in social activities outside of their families and their homes. They gather for 4 hours, and Richara and other volunteers help the boys learn life skills and get them engaged in fun activities such as climbing, games, cooking and crafts. Consistency is key for kids on the spectrum so it’s been a long term commitment for Richara, but she explains how rewarding it is seeing the boys make such significant social progress in the group.
Since there are employees at The Answer Company with children on the autism spectrum and with other special needs, the cause hits close to home for Richara. But her work with Family Services isn’t just about the kids, it’s also about the parents. She knows how challenging it can be for parents to find time for themselves so she likes the idea giving them a block of time each week that they can devote to whatever they need. Richara’s passion for her volunteer work is clear as she explains:
“My favorite part is helping people, giving something back. I feel like I’ve been really fortunate in my life and I have gotten a lot of lucky breaks and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to people who are having more of a challenging time and making their life a little better”
In addition to her work with Family Services, Richara has recently become part of the board for Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver, a non-profit organization that builds homes for low income families. Earlier this year TAC did a company-wide volunteer day at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and Richara was introduced to the CEO of the Greater Vancouver branch of the organization. They quickly discovered parallels in their goals and motivations for giving back and the CEO asked Richara if she would be interested in sitting on the board for Habitat for Humanity GV. She was thrilled for the opportunity to get involved, and as part of the board Richara reviews housing applications and conducts interviews to determine the families that get to participate in the program.
Richara’s volunteer efforts make her a role model for everyone at The Answer Company, showing a level of dedication and commitment to giving back to her community that is inspirational. She has two children and for a long time her focus was on building her career and ensuring her kids had everything that they needed, but as her children grew up and she continued to find success in her goals and career, Richara had the opportunity to focus on finding deeper satisfaction in her life. She explained that “Money’s not really that important and when you get to the point that all of your needs are met […] you start focusing on the things that feed your soul, and volunteering is definitely something that feeds your soul”.
Over the years Richara has made volunteering a priority, jumping at the opportunity to give back to people and her community wherever she can. Even though it can be a juggling act to find the time, she describes that there isn’t anything more rewarding that knowing that you’re making a difference in someone else’s life.
Through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, Answering the Call, The Answer Company creates an atmosphere that encourages and facilitates giving back to our community. Everyone in the team receives 4 days a year to dedicate to their volunteer work, and together the team embarks on company-wide volunteer days.