Flywire has always had an active role in giving back to our communities and supporting employees with social, charitable, and volunteering programs. In the past, we have even organized and funded many charitable events including our annual trip with School the World.
With that being said, if we truly want to “do better” in the world, we must take real action in our communities. At Flywire, we encourage all FlyMates (Flywire employees) to truly evaluate their own desire to have impact in the world, how they lead their day-to-day life, how they treat others, and whether there are ways that they can contribute to improving their country, community and themselves.
In an effort to encourage FlyMates to take even more action, in June 2020 our leadership team decided to provide FlyMates with two paid days of time off per year to dedicate their time to a social cause they care about. We asked FlyMates to share their experiences with us. In part 3 of this series we spotlight how our FlyMates around the world used their days off.
“I was grateful for my FlyBetter Days to be able to catch up on volunteer work I have carried on for 4 years now, supporting an elementary school in a remote location in the Philippines.
The school was ravaged by a typhoon in 2014 and never fully recovered. My “mother’s helper,” Lin and I support the school through a combination of sending funds and recycled items addressed to Lin’s family, as her sister teaches at the school. Over the years we’ve rebuilt the classrooms and built bathrooms, a library, playground and more. We also provide direct support for the children at school and have provided uniforms, shoes and water bottles, as well as masks for the teachers and the children during this pandemic period.
Since I am the sole funder of the school and do not take cash donations from anyone, 4 years ago I also invested in a jewelry line made out of sustainable wood in the Philippines, curated and sold under WoonHung, a Singaporean label. After everyone else is paid, WoonHung sends me any leftover money which then gets cycled back into improvement efforts for the school, providing me with a sustainable way to finance our support efforts.
Weekdays for me usually start at 5:30 a.m., and I am action packed until 9 or 10 p.m. Lin is just as if not busier than I am, pretty much running the household during the time my husband and I are working. The FlyBetter Days allowed time for Lin and I to go over school needs and budgets, contact suppliers, collect donated goods, pack boxes and arrange for shipment. It also allowed time for me to meet with WoonHung to go over business strategy and financials and report on developments at the school.
A major result of my FlyBetter Days was being able to install a satellite internet antenna at school to support remote learning in the surrounding community. Previously there was only a slow mobile internet connection available, and there is a lot of excitement about what meaningful internet access may bring not only to school but also to the surrounding community.
I’m thankful for my FlyBetter Days. I felt recharged and able to come back to tackle the complexities of my day job with a new perspective, to be able to bring creativity and solutions to issues and opportunities, with renewed purpose.” -Mia Watanabe, Director, Legal and Regulatory, Working from Singapore
“I volunteered to be a poll worker during election day in the USA. The typical volunteer pool for poll workers is largely made up of senior citizens, who as we all know are in a higher risk category for COVID-19. While many chose to take advantage of early voting or absentee ballots, in-person voting still needed to take place.
Thank you Flywire for the ability to take a #FlyBetter day to volunteer at my local polling station. As a first time poll worker, I learned it takes a small army to run the voting process, from the volunteers to the town officials to law enforcement, especially in this day and age, where extra steps need to be taken to keep people safe. I might have spent a good part of my day sanitizing pens, but I was sanitizing pens for democracy! It was also wonderful to experience the gratitude from the community - one mother and her two teenage sons went around to each precinct to hand out snacks.” -Jenna Keegan, Director of Global Demand Generation & Marketing Operations, Working from Boston
“I used my FlyBetter days to write “Please vote” letters as part of Vote Forward’s The Big Send initiative to encourage unregistered or low-propensity voters in Pennsylvania to participate in the 2020 general election.
My letters contributed to the 17.5 million mailed by nearly 200,000 volunteers nationwide. It’s fantastic that Flywire provides us with time to participate in volunteer activities of our choice.” -Tracy Courtemanche, Senior Director, Global Marketing in Education, Working from Boston