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When a Community Outreach Representative from the Children’s Cancer Association visited our office to discuss group volunteer activities at a recent Lunch & Learn session, one program in particular seemed to ignite the most interest and excitement. The Alexandra Ellis Caring Cabin project presented a unique and fulfilling opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause while also creating cross-team collaboration opportunities, building comradery and strengthening relationships. It didn’t take long to assemble a group of 14 volunteers with representation from every internal department at Extensis, providing the ultimate team-building exercise for our semi-annual volunteer excursions.
What is the Caring Cabin? The cabin is a gorgeous and secluded retreat nestled in the hills above the beach, in Pacific City, OR, that provides children and teens in treatment, and their families, with an extraordinary place to retreat, relax and create once-in-a-lifetime memories outside of the hospital environment. Over 40 friends and family members visit the cabin in a typical month. This adventure presents an opportunity for patients and their friends and family to connect with nature and helps restore the energy and hope that kids need to battle their illness over the long haul. Because it is free, it allows families to still get away without increasing the financial impact that cancer and chemo treatments already contribute to.
Here’s how the Caring Cabin helps families.
When we signed up to volunteer at the Caring Cabin on the Oregon Coast on a late September day we expected to spend a few hours doing yard work in typically wet and windy coastal weather. What we got was a rare and picturesque day with blue skies and not a hint of wind. The unusually hot weather had everyone looking for shade and a change of clothing.
Volunteers help keep the cabin and its surroundings well maintained and safe for families throughout the year. For most Extensis volunteers, our activities ranged from general yardwork and weeding to repair and rejuvenation of an aging, weathered play structure. Knowing the kids in treatment would be crawling all over the play structure—as kids do—we took extra care in backfilling of the sand below and cleaning up the structure.
At the end of the day, despite the sweat, blisters and back aches, it proved to be what we had hoped for: an inspiring and bonding experience that left us all feeling like we’d made a difference by contributing to something meaningful, with some laughs along the way.
Carli Edvalson – HR Manager
Carli has spent the bulk of her 18 year career in Human Resources at Extensis, where she has helped cultivate and foster a culture that is familial, fun and fulfilling, all lending to high levels of engagement and impressive tenure across the organization. In her role as HR Manager, Carli has her hands in everything HR: Recruiting & Retention, Performance Management & Employee Development, Payroll & Benefits, HRIS Administration and day-to-day HR Operations. She thrives on the diversity of her role and values the relationships she’s built and maintained over her career. Away from HR, Carli enjoys a different diversity of roles as a wife, daughter, sister, friend, aunt and a mom to 2 very active teenage kids and 2 aging chihuahuas. She enjoys travel, cooking, wine tasting, camping, watching football (and managing her Fantasy team), shopping and movies that make her cry.
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