StandUp for Kids – Orange County
StandUp for Kids – Orange County would like to highlight one of our most recent corporate partners, Walmart, and the dedication their employees have in giving back to their community. The fuel for the partnership came from Neil Sarreshteh, an employee with Walmart for the last 21 years and currently the E-Commerce Manager for 18 stores in southern California. Neil has also been volunteering for StandUp for Kids for the past year, working directly with homeless youth in the 18-24 age range.
Neil came across StandUp for Kids while looking for an organization to get involved with that directly impacted how people in her community were living. She felt it was a good fit for her since she had all the skills needed to make a positive impact on the youth, and Neil’s impact as a volunteer has been felt.
Neil currently leads our virtual group mentoring sessions and has an empathetic heart. She knows that it is not a race but a patient approach that is ultimately what these youth need. During these mentoring sessions we regularly see her inspire both youth and mentors as they interact. Every week she looks forward to seeing our youth and getting to interact with them. Over time she has been able to gain the youth’s trust, and to see them open up and get more comfortable speaking and sharing is a cherished moment.
Neil (upper left) leading an online group mentoring session with our youth
“StandUp for Kids is a great cause, the majority of the money goes to programming and taking care of the youth,” says Neil. “It’s a place where you see people who truly care about wanting to help others. This organization was my first experience with helping homeless youth and I know they are truly making an impact. I’m happy to be a part of the team.”
A big part of Walmart’s culture is giving back to their community. Walmart is involved with thousands of nonprofits, supporting local and national organizations.
“The amount of money that Walmart gives back to the community is underappreciated and unspoken,” Neil continues. “Our culture is giving back because it’s the right thing to do. We don’t need to be glorified for doing it.”
In addition to Neil’s hands on work with our youth she also rallied eight of their stores to give towards the 2020 StandUp for Kids Virtual Gala. The Walmart $10,000 gold sponsorship had a large impact on providing housing for the youth that Neil sees in her meetings each week.
Each individual Walmart store has a budget for charitable giving. Managers review donation requests and ask their associates which ones they feel passionate about. The excitement for supporting philanthropic causes and raising money comes largely from Walmart associates. Oftentimes they have personal connections or experiences with an organization so their stories spread and create excitement. It doesn’t take much for them to get behind an important cause!
One of the Walmart stores that supported the 2020 Gala is in Orange, CA. The store manager Diana has been the leader at that store for over 5 years. Diana explains, “Giving back is a big part of our culture and community commitment. It is one of the big reasons I love Walmart.”
Neil has really found her perfect match in Walmart. Their dedication to giving and supporting their community aligns with her personal values. Being involved with charitable causes is a way of life for Neil and she feels it makes her life more meaningful. Though she has only been with us a short time her impact has been felt immensely, and we are excited to have Neil on the StandUp for Kids team! If you want to make your impact felt by giving back to your community please reach out to [email protected] today!