Corporate Volunteer Day Ends with a Culturally Significant Gift
One Zendesk volunteer, software engineer Carl Goldberg, was so moved and inspired at the conclusion of the program, that he made a gift of $108….108 is a significant number in various backgrounds. In Jewish culture, charitable donations are often made in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word ‘chai(חי)’, meaning ‘alive’, ‘living’, or ‘life’. In Hinduism and Buddhism, there are 108 prayer beads on a mala.
On Friday, September 30, four employees from De Marillac Academy’s neighbor and Corporate Partner, Zendesk, arrived to participate in De Marillac Academy’s “Corporate Day of Service”. Through this volunteer program, De Marillac Academy hopes to educate individuals from local corporations about the neighborhood in which they work, to grow their awareness of the transformative education De Marillac provides to low-income families in the Tenderloin/Central Market/SoMa, and to identify long-term volunteers and donors.
The day begins with an orientation that exposes volunteers to the challenges the students and families face while living in the neighborhood. This is followed by the most exciting part of the day for our volunteers–an hour of getting to know our amazing students! The first activity is 1-on-1 reading with a student during “DEAR” time (Drop Everything And Read). This encounter usually begins with an anxious volunteer being introduced to a welcoming, engaging and inquisitive student. By the time the activity concludes, there is always an enthusiastic “high-five!” and best wishes in the hopes of seeing one another again. Volunteers are then proudly paraded around the school by two Student Ambassadors who have earned the privilege to showcase their school to visitors. During the tour, in between meeting students and seeing our dynamic teachers in action, the ambassadors highlight important historical events in school history and walk by walls festooned with incredible artwork created by the students.
On this particular day, one Zendesk volunteer, software engineer Carl Goldberg, was so moved at the conclusion of the program, that he made a gift of $108. The gift amount was significant, not only because all gifts to De Marillac Academy are significant, but because, as Carl shared, “I was truly inspired walking through the halls and meeting students; I felt I ought to give…. 108 is a significant number from various backgrounds. In Judaism, it is a traditional charitable donation.” According to wikipedia, in Jewish culture, charitable donations are often made in multiples of the number 18, associated with the Hebrew word ‘chai(חי)’, meaning ‘alive’, ‘living’, or ‘life’. A Japa mala or mala (Sanskrit:माला; mālā) is a string of prayer beads commonly used by Hindus, Buddhists and some Sikhs for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as japa. It is usually made from 108 beads.” Additionally, as Carl shared, “I like this derivation: 11 * 22 * 33 = 108.” I am sure our 8th grade math students would enjoy that, too!
Thank you, Carl, for your thoughtful and benevolent gift. And thank you, Zendesk, for your responsible hiring of mission-minded employees like Carl that highlight the power of our partnership!
– Hebrew symbol for “chai”… when giving gifts and donations in multiples of 18, which is called “giving chai”
– 108 Hindu mala prayer beads
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