We Are Citizen Philanthropists – Learning Through Service in Costa Rica

Jul 2, 2020 4:00 PM ET
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Every waterfall begins with a single drop of water. That’s the idea behind VMware’s Citizen Philanthropy approach to giving—VMware’s impact in the community is the result of the collective actions of VMware people. Core to our ethos is the belief that we can all learn and grow through service. We know that reflection is the key to unlock learning; after contributing to Service Learning, we invite people to respond to the following quote in the context of their service, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi

This month we asked Business System Analyst Raquel Achio to share what this quote means to her and to tell us more about her Service Learning experience with the nonprofit Aldeas SOS in Costa Rica.

Rachel Achio: I am passionate about being an agent of change. I believe that if you don’t like your community’s current situation, be a part of the change by embracing acceptance and thinking about new ways to contribute. We can’t fix the whole world, but let’s start with ourselves in our own.

VMware Careers: Tell us more about Aldeas SOS and why you got involved with them?  

Raquel Achio: Keeping young students in school and motivated is an important contribution to our society because they represent future professionals and leaders. Aldeas SOS has several programs to support at-risk children, including “Youth Can!” which is focused on 15-24-year-olds in the community. It is designed to develop skills that will support the youngsters in getting a job. I was a part of a team of VMware people that helped Aldeas SOS to set up virtual English and Microsoft Office lessons for the young students. Through VMware’s Foundation program we have also been able to contribute to Aldeas SOS by improving the villages where these kids live.

VMware Careers: Why was this program or activity meaningful to you?

Raquel Achio: I believe that youngsters are the future of our society. They are at an age where motivation is crucial, they can be really curious, and willing to learn new things. By teaching them new skills, I hope to open a world of opportunities for them which would support their growth. It’s a chain of positive change, and I hope that by sharing my time and experience with them, it will have a ripple effect, and they will be motivated to do the same for others when they are older.

VMware Careers: What did you learn from this activity?  Is there anything that you were surprised by?

Raquel Achio: When you’re a “teacher” you also learn from your students. Taking tutoring sessions is not something they’re forced to do, it is something they want to do. I’m always inspired by this because you can see their excitement as they improve. This is a reminder to me that even in difficult situations, we can overcome our issues and find happiness through the process.

VMware Careers: As a VMware employee, how does our culture of service impact you?

Raquel Achio: Sustainable Development is a topic that I’ve always cared for, and I know that reaching many of the major global climate change goals wouldn’t be possible without the work of companies such as VMware. I’m really proud to be part of a company that actually cares about climate change and that makes sustainability a corporate priority. I’m also really grateful that VMware gives its employees the opportunity to be part of the change. I’m acutely aware that my “small” actions matter and lend to a wider collective impact.

VMware Careers: What are your plans for community support through Foundation programs?

Raquel Achio: During my time at VMware I’ve been involved mostly in education programs, I would like to explore conservation initiatives and find ways to contribute from home, especially as we live through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

You can learn more about the VMware Foundation’s programs here here.