At Forte, giving back to the community is a key part of our company culture. We encourage team members to engage with charities and initiatives that are meaningful to them by providing opportunities to volunteer and donate. Throughout the year, group volunteer outings organized by Forte team members allow us to donate time to local organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity and more.
Last year, we expanded our reach to a global scale by organizing a volunteer trip to Lima, Peru. On this trip, Forte team members bonded over the opportunity to share a meaningful experience in a new environment. Due to the success of last year’s trip, we once again offered the opportunity for team members to participate in one of two volunteer trips abroad.
With the help of Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS), an organization that arranges international volunteer opportunities and cross-cultural community service, we were able to send two teams of volunteers to Rabat, Morocco and Cartago, Costa Rica.
Lalla Meriem Orphanage
In Morocco, Forte team members volunteered at the Lalla Meriem Orphanage, where they spent time assisting individuals with physical and mental disabilities. This orphanage provides a safe home for these individuals to live and receive the assistance they need from local nurses. Forte helped the residents during meal times and played games with them to create a fun and happy environment.
The volunteers particularly enjoyed taking the residents on a field trip to a local park. At the park, Forte team members led a large group of residents in various songs and dances, making for a fun outdoor gathering.
“We really tried to keep them in good spirits and get them smiling. I think that was really valuable for everyone,” said Wyllis Woods, Forte volunteer and Database Engineer.
Exploring Moroccan Culture
To make the trip more immersive and educational, Forte team members were also given the opportunity to participate in cultural excursions and learning activities, such as language lessons, visits to monuments, and more.
A favorite cultural activity for the group was a cooking class provided by local women in the community. Team members learned how to make traditional recipes and were also given a lesson on proper etiquette for making and pouring Moroccan tea.
Cartago, Costa Rica
While in Costa Rica, Forte volunteers spent much of their time helping at a local childcare center called Casas Comuntarias. This center provides free childcare for families in the local community to give children a safe place to stay while their parents are at work. Once at the center, the children are fed and entertained until their parents are able to come get them.
Forte team members provided a valuable service for the center by playing games with the children, and coaching them through art projects. However, one of the most difficult and rewarding tasks they performed was renovating a vacant lot into a safe outdoor play area. With shovels in hand, the team members went to work leveling the area, removing trash from the grounds and beautifying the space. After a lot of hard work, the volunteers felt their efforts were already making a difference in the community.
“There’s so much more to be done, but even just with what we did, people from the community came by and thanked us. It seemed like they were beginning to feel a sense of pride about the space and wanted to keep it clean,” said Erin Wehmann, Forte volunteer and Organizational Development Manager.
Costa Rican Experiences
Much like the volunteers in Morocco, team members in Costa Rica were given opportunities to further immerse themselves in Cosa Rican culture through excursions and experiences. The guides in Costa Rica kept the group busy. When they weren’t volunteering, the team members were learning how to cook traditional empanadas, practicing Latin dance, hiking volcanos and more.
All participants agreed, one of the most valuable takeaways from each volunteer trip was the opportunity to grow both individually and as a team. To learn more about Forte’s efforts to facilitate community service and personal growth among team members, read about past volunteer opportunities and explore our Culture page.