Every weekday morning, Becky Lowry and Deborah Valentine get up for their jobs at CSI Gives Back in Jacksonville, Florida. Except neither of them views it as a job so much as an opportunity to fulfill the dreams of children in need. Each day, they get the opportunity to bring smiles to young faces and help families weathering adversity, adding a bit more hope and joy into the world.
As part of the Recruit Group family, The CSI Companies operates in the United States as a recruiting firm. Its activities go beyond providing job opportunities, by meaningfully contributing to local communities through its "CSI Gives Back" initiative. This is the firm's way of showing support and appreciation to the local people and businesses that help make the organization successful.
Deborah Valentine (left) and Becky Lowry have been working together to fulfill the dreams of children in need
CSI Gives Back is a non-profit organization with a mission to "Identify and support local organizations that directly impact those in true need. Providing acts of kindness and bringing smiles to our community." This aligns with the people-centric ethos of the Recruit Group, and is achieved through financial donations, sponsoring education, or providing trips or activities that help children live their dreams.
Opportunities to connect
Becky is the Executive Director at CSI Gives Back and is consistently supported by Secretary Deborah in their activities. Becky has been in the role for two years and loves what she does because she is fuelled by the happiness of others. "Before I joined, I didn't know companies had hearts like this and I was very humbled to see what they do for the community," says Becky.
Deborah has a similar view, "The look you see on a parent's face after you've helped their child is humbling and this is one of many things that fuel us every day. A challenge in what we do is the emotional element, seeing the tragedies and challenges in these young lives. We get the opportunity to meet and connect with people while making their lives better. This drives our passion every single day."
To measure success, the team consistently ensures they identify specific areas of need that are realistic and attainable, but also within their local community. Becky says, "We ensure that all of our activities and fundraising help build the surrounding area in which we live, and it's wonderful to see the change in people's lives as you live your own. In fact, this view has become so much a part of my children's life view, that when we go out and buy things like clothes, they ask me to buy extra for the 'people that my organization helps.' This is simply heartwarming and reminds me that kindness is what this life is all about."
Our latest Dreamer
To date, Becky, Deborah, and the CSI Gives Back team has helped 20 children and their families, each with unique circumstances and challenges.
The latest was Shelby Woods who suffered a cerebral arteriovenous malformation rupture at school during her junior year, causing blood to leak into her brain. For months, she was unable to walk, talk, or even swallow without assistance. Following her diagnosis, she was referred to Dreams Come True, an organization CSI Gives Back regularly partners with to extend their reach in the local community. Once referred, Shelby chose her dream, which was to go shopping at various stores for clothes, school supplies, and accessories for her first year of college. For normal people, a shopping trip may be a simple idea. However, for an aspiring student like Shelby, the shopping trip meant carefully picking out items and accessories that would allow her to start her first semester of college successfully. To support this opportunity, CSI Gives Back sponsored her dream.
Throughout the process, the CSI Gives Back team met with Shelby frequently and invited her to social gatherings, getting to know her and her family, and building a real relationship. Becky says, "Seeing all of the effort and work she's put in to get to this point consistently humbles us. Her perseverance, positivity, and sense of strength are simply astounding."
Shelby Woods, the 20th dreamer
Shelby continues to stay positive and believes she has a purpose. According to Shelby, "After a year of intensive therapies and doctors' appointments I learned that what matters most is the human experience. This inspired me to help others on their road to recovery and is why I am now planning to become a speech pathologist."
Shelby is one of many Dreamers positively impacted, not just through their Dream being realized, but through their relationship with CSI Gives Back. Her story, and many others, are a reflection of the Recruit Group's Mission in action, providing people with genuine 'Opportunities for Life,' and in some cases, even a better life.
The CSI Gives Back team is currently planning their work with their 21st Dreamer with as much vigor and passion as they did for the first Dreamer. According to Becky, "I believe we are not put on earth for ourselves, rather we are here to help other people, which is why I treasure working with each of our different Dreamers and believe that they really do become part of our family."