Carlos Garcia,
volunteering is a team sport

Even though he is far from being a ice skater champion, Carlos Garcia did not hesitate to lace up his ice skates to accompany disabled children.

“It was in 2009”, says the engineer, senior project manager in Orange Spain’s technical department: “Our company had just launched Solidarios Orange, an Intranet which listed employee volunteer opportunities in different NGOs. One of them, Deporte y Desafío (Sport and Challenge), told me that they didn’t have enough volunteers, which was limiting the work they could accomplish, so I dived in.”

Four years later, the intrepid 40 year old says his self-confidence has grown: “Investing in others is something I would recommend to everyone, because it develops self-esteem.” Moreover, these activities are a great way to gain perspective on one’s own life: “Supporting children’s tenacity in the facing of their mental or physical disability, makes you put your ego aside. Just seeing the smiles on the faces of children and their parents is a reward by itself. That’s worth much more than anything we give them.”

 

That’s worth much more than anything we give them

This literature and philosophy lover’s wisdom is boundless. Apart from his ice skating duties, Carlos helps out on certain Sunday mornings at outdoor education camps. These sessions for disabled children include golf, canoeing, music, and a variety of games to stimulate their senses. Occasionally, he also encourages them to ski and ride bikes to shift things up a gear. He has improved his own fitness by taking part in Pilates classes. Building a close relationship with a young autistic girl was a “highly emotional experience” and is a cherished memory.

“Thanks to the Orange Foundation Spain I was able to live these experiences. These NGOs are important because once we are adults and have embarked on our careers, we don’t always know how to go about offering help.” Carlos has also been able to indulge his love of travel through the scheme, spending a year in Orange Romania, exchanging good work practices with his colleagues in the purchasing department. The name of this Orange internal mobility program could be Carlos’ mantra: Share your Talents.

portrait by Anne-Laure Murier

 

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