June 18, 2018
Paul MooreStaff Writer
You know Best Buy employees as the people who can help you pick out the perfect piece of tech. They’re also people who help in their communities, doing things such as tutoring students, serving food and even checking coats.
In the Cincinnati area, employees from the seven Best Buy stores there volunteer in big numbers. They help out at everything from museum fairs and youth symposiums to 5K races and after-school programs.
“There are no limitations on our volunteer programs,” says Brian Stevens, who’s the administrative assistant for the Best Buy market that includes Cincinnati. “We help out wherever we can. At a fundraiser, we might take care of the evening’s registration, or take ‘red carpet’ pictures. It enables the organization staff to be an active part of their own event, rather than stuck behind a table.”
Riq Gonzalez, a Geek Squad manager, volunteers often, including sprucing up his local elementary school garden and his city.
“It’s important to give back to your community,” he says. “People have a responsiblity to maintain the look and feel of where they live and support organizations that help kids.”
Riq says the projects he helps with are usually fun and sometimes hard work. “But at the end of the day, you feel like you’ve done something positive for your community. It makes you feel pretty good.”
Helping with hands and grants
Many organizations are on Best Buy’s radar because they applied for one of the many Community Grants the company gives away every year. The grants total about $65,000 in each market.
“When they apply for a grant, we get more involved with these groups, seeing behind the scenes of the program, getting to meet the people they help,” Brian says. “It becomes obvious that there’s a great opportunity for both their organization and us.”
Best Buy employees hear about the opportunities during store meetings. Then they jump on board, helping out at places like the Music Resource Center of Cincinnati (MRC), which encourages education through music.
“The MRC has a quarterly student-run performance for the community, and we take care of serving food and cleanup,” Brian says. “The center’s staff gets to be out and about, talking with parents. We get a free concert out of it, too. Then our volunteers go back to work and say to their colleagues, ‘You have to come next time — these kids are amazing.’ And that gets even more people interested and excited.”
Summer Rapp, a Best Buy mobile associate, loves working with MRC. “The kids love having us there, and seeing them and being with them is super fun,” she said.
Summer works full time at Best Buy, but she’s also a full-time college student, studying to be a teacher.
“Music is really good for the brain, and knowledge is power for these kids,” she says. “I travel internationally for mission trips, but I volunteer here because I want to be involved with my local community as much as with communities around the world. I love helping people.”
Whether they’re teaching underserved kids about technology, cleaning up a neighborhood or presenting a Community Grant, Best Buy volunteers see a great return on their investment.
“Being able to support these organizations, support the kids, families, anyone and everyone who has shopped with us, you can’t even imagine the wonderful feeling,” says Brian. “I love my job, but the volunteering is without a doubt what keeps me going day in and day out.”
Check out our Community Relations page to see how Best Buy gets involved in local communities.