Gerri Lynn Ayala was born August 6, 1976, the 15th of 16 children. But unlike the other 14 born before her, Gerri was born with Cerebral Palsy with seizure activity and autism. She is paraplegic, wheelchair bound with limited left side use of her body. She has the IQ of a pre-schooler, will never walk or live on her own. Gerri will never get married or know how it feels to raise a child. But, thankfully, she was also born with a desire to live.
As a child and early teen, I volunteered forty hours per week each summer at my local Naval Hospital as a ‘candy striper’ for the American Red Cross. Through my high school years, I spent many hours at a local nursing home listening to stories, laughing and just receiving joy from the residents who didn’t have regular family visitors.
Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work (formerly CSECC) is a campaign that allows employees to give to a variety of charitable organizations that are vitally important to the community. I am a member and in great support of Our Promise because I have had five kidney transplants.
When I think of how I would want to make a difference in someone’s life, I have always arrived at the conclusion to “just do the right thing” for as long as I can remember, I have always been involved in community service.
This year, we have 35 leadership team members, and counting, joining the Our Promise campaign, some veterans and some new! We are excited to get started on the upcoming campaign. Our leadership team encompasses members from agencies, divisions and departments who are responsible for top-level leadership and inspiration in the implementation and execution of the Our Promise campaign. From recruiting department chairs to mentoring fellow California state employees, these champions will play a critical role in the campaign’s success.
Our Promise has had the fortunate opportunity to have Karen Baker, Chief Service Officer with CaliforniaVolunteers serve as our chair for the past eight campaigns. Under Karen’s leadership, we accomplished overwhelming success in bringing more resources to those in need through the Our Promise campaign. In the eight campaigns that Karen chaired, we raised a combined statewide total of more than $54 million. Now that is something to be proud of!
Join guests from the public sector, nonprofit sector and the general public on August 30 as we come together at the State Capitol to kick off the Our Promise campaign!
Our Promise represents thousands of nonprofit organizations. At this event you’ll have a chance to interact with many of them at the agency fair. The kick-off event will give you the opportunity to learn about new nonprofits, explore causes that you’re passionate about, and discover where your donations go.
Are you passionate about giving back to your community and raising funds for the many nonprofits in need? If so, we need you!
Our Promise Loaned Executives act as full-time account managers during this state-mandated charitable drive. There are many benefits to your department/division for loaning an executive including strengthening external relations with other state departments/divisions and increasing leadership skills. Not to mention all the benefits to you the employee who is able to create networking opportunities, increase leadership ability, and have a deeper insight into the community’s needs.
Secretary Matt Rodriquez, California Environmental Protection Agency, was awarded the Augustus Freeman Hawkins Award of Distinguished Merit in Community Service at the Our Promise appreciation event on March 1, 2016.
The award was presented by Karen Baker, Our Promise Chair and Chief Service Officer of CaliforniaVolunteers. The award celebrates the vision of the man who created Our Promise, Augustus Freeman Hawkins.
The appreciation event honored our committed and hard-working department and agency chairs, vice chairs and other campaign volunteers, who worked to spread the word about the opportunity to give back, and the 37,000 state employees who contributed to Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work.
Thanks to the generosity of state workers, the 2015 campaign raised $6.2 million! View full campaign results here.
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