Spreading Sunshine to Veterans in Assisted Living
What started as a project to impact veterans in the community became an opportunity for mortgage banker Melissa Al-Rifai to teach her children about making a difference, as they brought gifts to and visited hospitalized veterans.
Melissa Al-Rifai, senior mortgage banker
Veterans at Arizona State Veteran Home
After joining a leadership group, Melissa and her fellow group members wanted to come up with a project to impact the community. Once they decided to work on something that would affect veterans, a colleague mentioned that when her dad was hospitalized, his roommate didn’t have any visitors and was lonely.
Melissa’s group spray-painted shoeboxes yellow, and Melissa used her Pay It Forward funds to help fill them with things like travel mugs, crossword puzzles, inspirational messages and other goodies to take to the 200 veterans at the Arizona State Veteran Home.
In addition to bringing the gifts, Melissa and her leadership group spent time visiting with the veterans, asking them questions and learning their stories.
“That was probably one of the most important things to them. They had stories to tell,” Melissa notes. “It was just overwhelming when you can go to somebody who doesn’t have anybody and show them that you care.”
Melissa also brought her children, so they could share in the experience.
“I was able to show them that this is humanity. This is what we do this for. This is really what Bell gives us the opportunity to do is go out into our community and make a difference,” Melissa explains. “I wouldn’t work anywhere other than Bell, mainly because of the Pay It Forward program.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.