Pay It Forward

We’ve kicked off 2010 here with a new attitude. You didn’t know? We announced some exciting agency news recently and today I’d like to introduce you to a PerkettPR benefit that is designed to foster the personal gain that can be found by giving back. Ohio State University football coach, “Woody” Hayes said it best when he said, “You can never pay back; but you can always pay forward."

PerkettPR employees receive 40 paid hours of community service time a year, in addition to our regular paid time off. 40 paid hours to get out of the office and use our talents, passion and energy to support an initiative that’s important to us! I love it.

Most of us already spend personal time doing volunteer work but when we have busy jobs, families, professional development commitments, etc., it can be hard to find the extra time to contribute where and when we want to. I’m excited to have this opportunity to supplement the work I’m already doing and I hope you’ll be interested in hearing about what we’re all doing with our #CommunityService time here and on Twitter.

We have found that giving back to our communities makes us better people and provides a sense of accomplishment that is different from what we achieve at the office. How do you strike a balance? Where do you find time to give back? Who supports you?

How I’m Spending My Time

As a two-time Melanoma survivor the work of the Melanoma Foundation of New England is close to my heart. The programs they support, like the monthly support group I attend, are vital to cancer patients in the region. For the last three years I have volunteered my time and energy to help raise money for the foundation and awareness for our cause.

Heather Fraelick with Head Field Hockey Coach/Senior Woman Administrator for Wheaton College, Rebecca Lanseigne Begley.Since January, we have gathered 5,000 signatures from high school students across New England, for the Your Skin Is In program, who have pledged NOT to tan before their prom. I will personally be out speaking at high schools and colleges – sharing my own struggle with Melanoma and encouraging young adults to think about beauty and health as one in the same. Last week I spoke to 50+ female athletes at Wheaton College, my alma mater. As a collegiate lacrosse player, I wanted to convey the life altering events that happen when you go from being an athlete to a patient, facing months of recovering from surgeries where you’ve had tumors and lymph nodes removed. Melanoma is the most common cancer among women aged 25-32. I want these young women to hear my story and see the face of skin cancer – mine and theirs.

People who use tanning beds once a month, before the age of 35, increase their melanoma risk by 75%. This additional 40 hours of paid community service time means that I can speak to more students, educate more young people, and save more lives. I take this advocacy work seriously and I’m proud to say my employer supports me in my mission.

Here is a video the foundation just released – it’s a powerful teaching tool about how indoor tanning causes skin cancer. Won’t you watch it and consider sharing the facts with those you care about?

Tanning Is Out: Your Skin Is In:

Tanning Is Out, Your Skin Is In (60 seconds) from Amy Mason on Vimeo.