Volunteer Spotlight: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

blue cross volunteers

WaterFire would be nothing without its volunteers, and within that enormous group of hard-working Rhode Islanders are those representing their place of employment. Along with student groups, families, and many dedicated individuals, corporate volunteers help bring the magic to the city of Providence. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island not only encourages their employees to volunteer – they truly believe in WaterFire, in getting involved, and in Providence.

Spogga performing on the confluence while the BCBSRI building looms brightly overhead.

Spogga performing on the confluence while the BCBSRI building looms brightly overhead.

Many WaterFire regulars and volunteers will recognize the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) building as the tall, rounded glass building with shades of blue just across from the Providence Place Mall, State House, and Waterplace Towers. This puts their offices right near the basin, offering a breathtaking view and extreme ease of access for WaterFire events. Christina Castle of BCBSRI’s Community Relations Department says the view is incredible. “The best view in the building of WaterFire is from our Café!” she describes. “You can see the whole basin from the windows, which makes it an excellent place to eat lunch. We also have an amazing view of the State House, depending on what side of the building you’re on.”

The close proximity also adds to the volunteer experience, being so close to the fires and to everyone already down on-site working early in the crisp mornings of event days. “WaterFire is a great way for our employees to volunteer together as a team. It is a great experience for them because they know people will enjoy the fruits of their labor, including their family members and children at the WaterFire event.” And, as an added bonus, she says, “it’s also very convenient as all volunteer activities are so close to our building!”

Volunteers from BCBSRI lend a hand leading up to one of our late fall WaterFire lightings. Photo by Gary St. Laurent.

Volunteers from BCBSRI lend a hand leading up to one of our late fall WaterFire lightings. Photo by Gary St. Laurent.

BCBSRI, like many of our corporate partners, has a built-in volunteer program for its employees. However, their program accumulates some pretty impressive statistics.

“Each of our full time employees has 8 hours of paid volunteer time available to them per year, for use during worktime,” Christina says. “Last year alone, our associates served over 7,200 volunteer hours to our local community. Our biggest volunteer event of the year is our annual day of service called Blue across Rhode Island, during which more than 70% of our workforce volunteers at various community-based organizations align with the company’s push to create a healthier Rhode Island.”

BCBSRI volunteers work on their tans and build their community at WaterFire Providence. Photo by Gary St. Laurent.

BCBSRI volunteers work on their tans and build their community at WaterFire Providence. Photo by Gary St. Laurent.

Often, that organization is WaterFire. Employees who volunteer also bring something back to the office: a better sense of teamwork. “It takes a team to do great things. Volunteering together helps build and strengthen relationships needed to make a difference,” Christina says. “One employee shared their experience of building fires from a boat while volunteering at WaterFire. The employee remarked that ‘the process helps teammates learn more about each other and communicate more effectively.’”

WaterFire is incredibly lucky to have BCBSRI headquartered here in Providence. Aside from the company’s volunteer program, there is a true and deep connection to the city and to what WaterFire does for it. “Working in Providence is special because it is a place rich in creativity! Our employees’ value volunteering with WaterFire because it allows them to be part of the culture that makes Providence so unique.”

Yes, the Creative Capital is overflowing with art and unique places to eat, explore, and spend time with your family, which is all the more rewarding after having helped set up the braziers or other installations earlier in the day. “When our employees volunteer with WaterFire, they get to be part of  events that thousands of people enjoy,” Christina says. “It is very fulfilling to help make our community a better place, and we thank WaterFire for their continued partnership.”

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