by Kayla Sheely

Every quarter, Voice System’s Engineering’s Community team runs a fundraising event to both bring the organization together and to raise money for causes that we care about. Jaclyn Torpey, Charity Events Coordinator, surveys VSE employees at the beginning of each year to find out what causes or organizations they care about. She has been filling this role at VSE for over 8 years and is passionate about bringing her coworkers together to give back. “I know that have been very lucky with what I have in my life, and I try to find ways to different ways to give back. It just kind of works out perfectly because I can do it with our work here and help VSE contribute.” 

Here’s a quick overview of VSE’s 2021 charity initiatives: 

Spring 

Event: Most of our VSE employees love a good competition, which is what makes our annual March Madness fundraiser a success. Jaclyn comments that, “anytime we can mix competition with charity, it makes it a lot of fun, and people get really into it.” Usually, the competition is a tournament at the office’s mini basketball arcade game. This year, however, the competition was through an online game called Tap Tap Shot so that everyone could participate virtually. We had a great turnout out and people had a lot of fun with it.  

Charity: There are lots of animal lovers at VSE, which is why the March Madness fundraiser benefited the Wet Nose Rescue. Wet Nose Rescue is an all-breed dog rescue that works hard to “help abandoned dogs and puppies that would otherwise be euthanized or subject to a life in extremely poor conditions, unloved and neglected.” The rescue is foster based, meaning dogs live with and are socialized with families until their forever home is found.  

Summer 

Event: As COVID guidelines began to lift over the summer, our Community circle chose to honor Pride Month with an outdoor walk at VSE’s headquarters in Trevose. The mile walk consisted of four laps around VSE’s parking lot, followed by lunch and water ice in the office. Around 20 people attended in-person, which we considered a great turnout for our first event back at the office since 2020.  

Charity: The funds from the walk benefited The Trevor Project, which is “the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.” Since The Trevor Project has a Philadelphia chapter and is focused on both mental health and LGBTQ+, it seemed like a perfect organization to partner with for the walk. 

Fall 

Event: Our fall event was a food drive that culminated in our Thanksgiving luncheon. This year we had traditional Thanksgiving foods at the office for whoever desired to join in person. There were around 30 people who joined in person, while others joined virtually. The virtual employees were sent a Grubhub gift card so they could still join in on the festivities. The food drive was both physical and virtual – employees could bring cans to the office or donate online to benefit the organization monetarily.  

Charity: Our can drive proceeds went to the Bucks County Housing Group’s Community Food Pantry, a partner of Philabundance's Healthy Pantry Initiative. BCHG “works to advance the interests of people with low-moderate income and people in crisis through the provision of affordable housing and related social service. [Their] primary goal is to assist families in attaining permanent housing and financial security.”  

Winter 

Event: Our holiday event is the biggest fundraiser of the year. This year, we had a specific portal employees could donate through as well as a 50/50 raffle for our annual Holiday Luncheon and White Elephant Exchange.  Employees who chose to participate in the White Elephant Exchange each brought a gift to the office party (or kept it with them if they were virtual) and got to participate in a fun game of surprises and good-natured gift stealing.  

Charity: Normally we adopt a family for Christmas, but decided to support the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Support Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy team this year because their annual toy drive was impacted by COVID. We raised money to enable them to purchase toys to give out to their patients.  

Jaclyn already has big plans for next year. “We are trying to get bigger with our events this year – more planning and more people involved in planning.” Throughout 2021, VSE saw great participation in our charity events, regardless of whether employees were in-person or remote. We look forward to a generous 2022!