Earlier today, I joined several of our staff in getting out of the office to enjoy the sunshine, some camaraderie and a large amount of dirt. We volunteered with the Allen Neighborhood Center here in Lansing, working at the Hunter Park GardenHouse to do some gardening, weeding, planting and cleaning.
This probably sounds fun to most of you, and it definitely was, especially when the alternative is spending a beautiful sunny Friday sitting at a desk in front of a soul-sucking computer (like I am now).
But it still strikes me as special that even when we at the League are doing something fun and casual, we are looking to have an impact and help others, something we are doing day in and day out. Coming up on my one-year anniversary at the League, that’s one of the things I love about “us.”
I discovered my desire to make the world—and specifically, my beloved Michigan—a better place largely by accident. My first grown-up job was at a nonprofit conservation organization. I was drawn to the work because I like catching bugs and snakes, climbing trees and scraping knees. But it was working for the greater good—protecting Michigan for all to enjoy—that I found the most appealing.
In my next job, I went to work for the Michigan Senate to try to change things from the inside. I spent almost a decade there, and while this work was a lot of fun, my political leanings were such that I didn’t get to celebrate a lot of policy “wins.” But I felt like every day—ok, most days—I was fighting the good fight.
That’s what drew me to the League last summer. I wanted my work, even if it is writing pithy quotes and hounding media, to be fulfilling, to make a difference, to help people. And it has. We’ve even managed to secure some important policy victories for my fellow Michiganians, and are striving every day for more.
But my favorite part about working at the League is the culture of kindness and conscience. Compassion is our compass—it guides us and drives us. It is there professionally, from top to bottom. But it’s also there personally.
Our CEO has dedicated her life to public service, even braving the Legislature to do it. Several of our staff members have been volunteering in Flint to help with the water crisis, blogging about it along the way. Many others are active and involved with a variety of great causes in their communities. We also do an annual staff donation drive for Haven House here in the Lansing area.
And even for a fun day today, we volunteered our time to help others. This is how we roll, and I love it.
— Alex Rossman