In early February 2013, iQmetrix brought all of us employees (that had worked with the company for at least a year) on a one-week company retreat to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. A day of team building was scheduled as part of the week’s activities. But instead of playing games on the beach, we wanted to make a difference.
We decided to volunteer in a nearby village. We got in touch with aid organizations in the Playa del Carmen area and came upon an opportunity to lend a hand in a Mayan village called Chan Chen, located about 50 km southwest of Playa del Carmen.
For that day, all iQmetrix attendees (over 200 people, including employees and spouses) loaded onto buses and made our way to Chan Chen. We were assigned to different teams in the village: some teams built concrete wood-burning stoves, others painted houses, others mixed cement to build a basketball court, and others taught children some basic English and played with the children as well.
Prior to leaving for Mexico, a number of iQmetrix employees collected clothing, school supplies and sporting goods to give to the children and residents of Chan Chen at the end of the day. Social Conscience was kind enough to give us a 50% discount on the balls we bought and donated to Chan Chen.
Once our volunteer work was done, a number of iQmetrix employees played soccer with the local kids, using balls provided by Social Conscience (see photos below).
Here are some descriptions of those experiences:
- “The highlight of the day for me (aside from seeing the bright, excited faces eagerly waiting for the gifts we brought), was playing soccer with a group of younger boys. I haven’t played in two years (due to knee surgery), but after I made a series of decent saves, one of the little boys (I think his name was Alfonso) who hadn’t really looked me in the eye all day so far, looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Bueno.’ A pretty decent ego boost! To hear that I was a decent keeper, from a kid who lives and breathes soccer and could kick my butt any day, was pretty cool!” – Heather Russell-MacLean, iQmetrix Finance
- “The whole day was a pretty incredible and uplifting experience but my biggest takeaway from it was that kids are kids, no matter where they're from or what kind of hardships they face in their daily lives. They're all innocent by nature and just want to have fun! It was great that we were able to brighten their days and bring smiles to their faces.” – Kevin Wong, iQmetrix Quality Assurance
- “It was such a great day and a fulfilling experience. The kids at Chan Chen reminded me that happiness can come from very small things around us, such as getting a small ball or running around and playing with friends. I will never forget how their face lit up when they went through the gifts we brought them. This experience reminded me how fortunate we are and how we shouldn’t take anything for granted.” – Faai Steuer, iQmetrix Marketing
- “It was amazing to see the child’s joy through their parents’ eyes. It as an affirmation of the universal desire parents have to see their children happy. Watching the parents of Chan Chen absorbing the energy from the exuberance and joy their children were experiencing was powerful." – Clayton Caswell, iQmetrix Educational Services
- "When lunch was called for the children the soccer field quickly emptied. I was kicking a ball around when one little boy came running back, he must have been first in line because he was already back with a taco in one hand and a drink in the other and he wanted to keep playing soccer. I repeatedly told him to eat, and then we will play, but he wasn’t interested in that. He also refused to put his food or drink down. He kept spilling both of them all over his shirt every time he tried to shoot the ball or pass. Eventually he set the food and drink down because it was interfering with soccer too much. Within 30 seconds of setting down his taco a wild dog ran off with it. He was heartbroken but he refused to go and get more food because all he cared about was having someone to play soccer with." – Steve Dawson, iQmetrix RQ4 Developer
Thank you, Social Conscience, for helping us make an impact in Chan Chen, Mexico!
The iQmetrix Team