This VIBE Voices story is shared by Tatiana Ware, a customer support analyst at Workday.
Some of my earliest memories are of being separated from my family and living in a foster home. I know firsthand what it’s like being on public assistance, not having many of my basic needs met, and being reliant on the kindness or charity of strangers.
Decades later, I have a career at Workday that I love and that allows me to grow and learn. I'm building a financial future for myself that will make things easier for me and the next generations of my family.
But my material reality is not shared by everyone in my family. My own journey has taught me that just as interest compounds, so do losses from a lack of opportunity. While it’s not impossible to counteract, it does take more effort and investment to make up the difference.
Even as I continue to strive toward my dreams and goals, I’m constantly thinking of all the people who have not had the same privileges I’ve had—in fact, many have experienced barriers to opportunity threefold to what I’ve overcome. Amidst this ongoing global pandemic, the opportunity gap has only widened.
Giving Back Is Critical
That acute awareness and my sense of responsibility to my community, instilled in me by my upbringing, is why I’m so passionate about volunteering.
Making a financial investment to a nonprofit that shares your same passion is a wonderful start to contributing to your community. But we also need to share our time, resources, and skills, and build relationships through volunteerism. I am where I am because someone made opportunities available to me at pivotal moments in my career. And just like me, people are actively looking for a chance to show what they can do.
The areas I care most deeply about are education, healthcare, and access to opportunity, especially because poverty is such a big issue in the San Francisco Bay Area. At this stage in my journey as a volunteer, I want to serve my immediate community in a deeply engaging way where I can make a lasting impact.
When I learned about Rubicon Programs, a nonprofit organization based in the Bay Area, I found an organization that shares my values and passion for partnering with communities to close the opportunity gap. Rubicon Programs assists individuals in gaining the economic mobility needed to exit the cycle of poverty, with the vision that one day no one in the Bay Area will live in poverty. The organization impresses me with its commitment to addressing the needs of the whole person.
For example, Rubicon Programs offers not only training and workforce development opportunities so that people can find thriving-wage jobs, but also financial training so they can build small emergency savings, which is really difficult to do and critical for individuals who fall in the low-income bracket.