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A professional photo of Joanna Trinh, a recruiter at Nelson

Joanna Trinh: I Volunteer beCAUSE...

Posted On08/21/2019

ContributorKaila Prins

At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:  

Meet Joanna Trinh, Recruiter

A professional photo of Joanna Trinh, a recruiter at Nelson

Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.

Downtown Streets is a great organization that pays bills and gives gift cards to those who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless. These people earn the stipends by cleaning up the streets around them: picking up trash and carrying out beautification projects for parks, as well as other areas. They support each other and have a weekly meal together.

The organization is located all throughout the Bay Area, including in Hayward, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?

Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, I volunteered with the Downtown Streets organization to throw a picnic to show appreciation to its members who help keep the cities clean. It was wonderful to interact with different members of the community – they were friendly and had interesting but heartbreaking stories about how they arrived in their current situations. There was a man who couldn’t find a job because he was thrown into prison while being out-of-state and carrying drugs that he was prescribed, and another normal woman made some bad decisions in life and had kids, but the kids wouldn’t help her with her homelessness. The homeless people were just normal people in unfortunate circumstances.

I really enjoyed this volunteer opportunity (which I found through www.volunteermatch.org): I helped the organization leaders prepare and transport the food to a lovely park (with foxes, coyotes, and birds on display!), set up the tables, enjoyed socializing with the attendees, and cleaned up afterwards.

What is your “beCAUSE”?

I volunteer to stay in touch with the reality around me. It can be easy to get caught up in this lucky, employed life and forget that others may not have the same opportunities or money available to them. For me, it’s important to be informed about the community that goes on around me (and the homeless people of this organization are the ones keeping the cities clean!), and ,in California, that community is diverse. I love to see how I can help them in return. Additionally, we tend to have stereotypes regarding the homeless and it’s easier to solve this problem by interacting directly with the homeless rather than keeping them away.