Over the past 17 years, our dedicated employees have volunteered countless hours spreading love throughout our communities. From services for youth to low-income families to schools, emergency responders, arts and animal rescue, the nonprofits our employees dedicate themselves to are as diverse as the employees who support them.
Check out the video below to learn more about the Recognizing Excellence in Volunteerism Program and meet our 2017 winners.
Now let’s meet our Award of Excellence, $10,000 recipient – the PSEG St. John’s Soup Kitchen Team.
Picture this: It’s a frigid, snowy day in February. You have the clothes on your back, shoes on your feet and your child at your hand just wandering the cold, gray streets of Newark with two things in mind – finding somewhere to keep your child warm and filling his belly with food. You are just two among many who have nowhere to go day-in and day-out. Then, while wandering, you stumble upon something glorious – a warm, inviting place that accepts you for who you are and understands and empathizes with the hardships you face. That place, St. John’s Soup Kitchen.
In the video below, hear more about the work the PSEG St. John’s Soup Kitchen team does to help those in need.
But, it’s not only about people. Our employees love their fur babies, and this group of Recognizing Excellence in Volunteerism winners goes above and beyond to help the cats and dogs of New Jersey find their warm, safe, forever homes.
“It is amazing how much one person’s efforts can truly make a difference in giving abandoned rescues a second chance at life. Debbie is a role model for our group – not only providing support to the group of volunteers and daily operations, but also providing physical care for the animals. We, including the animals, are thankful for all she does for us. The funding from the award will be a huge help, allowing us to be able to accept more abandoned animals into our program. We may be small, but we are powerful in what we do.” – Joannie Sauermilch, Vice President, FURever Friends
But, that’s not where the giving stops. Our 2017 winners volunteered more than 3,280 hours to 15 different nonprofit organizations in a 12-month time period with one goal in mind – selflessly giving back.
$3,000 Award of Achievement
The quotes and pictures that follow are from our winners describing the passion they have for the work they do.
“I volunteer because it provides the opportunity to take risks, learn new skills and develop personally and professionally while giving back to the community. In my experiences, I have found that the exchange between a volunteer and the population served is one of equality, respect and mutual growth. For as much as I teach, I learn. For as much as I share, I receive. PSEG’s support of volunteerism allows me to do what I love – solve problems, build friendships and experience unforgettable moments.” – Kelly Barb, PSEG Staff Engineer, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
“My son is mildly autistic. When he was seven years old, we became actively involved in Boy Scouts of America – an organization that is arguably the leading youth development program focusing on physical fitness, outdoor activities, leadership and citizenship. My son made Eagle Scout and, subsequently, graduated from college with two bachelor degrees and one master’s degree. He now lives on his own and holds down a prestigious job in the intelligence community. Scouting is what made that possible, and I can never give back what he and I gained from being involved together, but through my dedicated 50 years of volunteer work, I’m trying.
“I am grateful to work at a company that values its employees and their dedication to the communities in which they live. I thank PSEG for this award and the difference it helps makes in children’s lives.” – William Clancy, PSEG Power Plant Manager, Boy Scouts of America, Twin Rivers Council
“For me, volunteering at Cathedral Kitchen – a soup kitchen in Camden, New Jersey – is a way to give back and reach out to people in need with a compassionate heart. I can’t adequately express the joy that I experience by witnessing the goodness given to Cathedral Kitchen’s patrons by their staff and volunteers.
“Being recognized by PSEG for this award is truly an honor, and it speaks volumes to the commitment that PSEG affords to its surrounding community. I am very proud to be a part of this organization.” – Jeffrey C. Cotton, PSEG Principal Engineer, Cathedral Soup Kitchen, Inc.
“I like sparking kids’ curiosity about creating. Students need to know that the world doesn’t just comprise screens and keyboards. Our technology-based world requires that kids know how to analyze things, see how they work, and learn how to use tools to fix what’s broken. That hands-on learning, or ‘making,’ promotes the critical thinking and problem-solving skills kids need to prepare themselves to be active participants in a competitive, global marketplace.” – Michael Holzweiss, PSEG Automotive & Equipment Specialist, Long Island Leads, Inc.
$1,000 Award of Merit
“In the world today where bullying, bias and oppression have been at the forefront of our lives, I felt a need to make a difference in the lives of the youth of New Jersey. I saw the importance of helping young people be more understanding, accepting and tolerant for someone who may be different than them in some way. Most of all, I enjoy showing them how similar they are and helping them find common ground and mutual respect.”
I truly am proud to work for a company that sees the value in the work employees do outside of the office, and am thankful for the recognition.” – Stephen Calvanese, PSEG Employee Service Rep., Roots Project, Inc.
“We started the Aspiring Kindness Foundation in 2010 because we were inspired by a dear friend, Aaron Karol, who passed away in January 2000 when a dormitory fire struck Seton Hall University taking three lives, including Aaron’s, and injuring several others. Since its inception, we have raised over $200,000 in Aaron’s memory and made 16 grants to Seton Hall University, South Orange Area First Responders, The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Burn Center, and many others. The support and kindness from PSEG helps us reach our goals, and we are truly appreciative!” – Michael Merizio, PSEG Principal Staff Rates Analyst, Aspiring Kindness Foundation
“Volunteering at the Carlstadt/East Rutherford Board of Education allows me to give back to the community that I live in while having an impact on the quality of the education provided to the students from Carlstadt and East Rutherford. These young people are our future leaders and deserve nothing but the best. There’s no better feeling than watching them learn and grow and knowing that the volunteer work I do helps them succeed.
“PSEG is very generous and supportive of the communities we serve, and I am very proud to be a part of this great company for the past 32 years.” – Raymond J. Muszynski, PSEG Electric Division Administrator, Carlstadt/East Rutherford Board of Education
Our employees truly make a difference – not only in the community as a whole, but in individuals’ lives.