Damaris Garcia, Administrative Professional in Strategy Marketing and Growth (SMG), says that her call to action is to help others.
“We often take things for granted when they come to us without much effort,” she says. “I wasn’t raised in the most affluent household, but I always had the essentials. My parents made it a point to provide us with everything we needed; however, others are not so lucky and that is why I help.”
Through the organization HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement), Damaris mentors middle school students. “Middle school is the right age to catch these students,” she says. “They are old enough to understand, but are not set in their ways and are open to learning. This is a good time to steer them in the right direction. I talk to youth about my journey because I want them to know that at some point in my life, I was their age and had to make similar decisions that they face.”
“My life has been enriched by volunteering,” she continues, “even if I am helping just one person. Sometimes it is difficult to know how much difference you are making when working with youth because they can be tough, especially if they have been through a lot. But just one ‘thank you’ makes my heart full of gratitude and hopeful that, by helping them, I might inspire that person to, in turn, help others and start a chain reaction of good.”
“I have a 19 year old and I have dedicated the last 19 years of my life to ensuring the best for her. I now want to dedicate the rest of my time to doing the same for other kids. Youth are our future,” she says.
Damaris, who was born in Guatemala, immigrated to the U.S. when she was 4 and grew up in East Los Angeles. “Thanks to my mom’s encouragement, I was able to get a great education,” she says. “My mom was always my inspiration. She passed away 10 years ago, but she made a strong impact on me and she continues to every day. She was selfless and always busy helping others. I saw time after time how she extended a helping hand to anyone who needed it. Everyone could always come to our house for help.”
Since March 2016, Damaris has also been a volunteer with Womanspace, a nonprofit organization that provides an array of services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence. In addition, Damaris can be frequently seen volunteering at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK).
“I initially got involved with TASK through ETS,” says Damaris, “and TASK has been one of my favorite places to volunteer. I started my career at ETS sixteen years ago in the Call Center, therefore, I decided to volunteer as a mentor for the Test Takers Services’ Elevate Program that involves ETS employees mentoring fellow ETS employees to help them grow and pursue other careers within our organization.”
However,” she says smiling, “my greatest accomplishment from my volunteer experience is seeing that my daughter also wants to give back.”
“ETS is a wonderful place to work. Being able to focus on community needs in addition to our business responsibilities speaks highly of what a great company this is. I hope everyone will take the opportunity to sign up for an ETS-organized volunteer activity. It is very easy and you can experience working with many different organizations and causes, learn a lot, and identify your passion.”