International Volunteering Day

10,000 Telefónica employees to join children and youth projects

MUNICH/Germany. International Volunteering Day is on 7th October at Telefónica when 10,000 employees will stay away from the office, instead donning work clothes and heading off for a day to help out in social projects in a variety of locations. The focus in Europe is on the youth programme Think Big. In Germany alone, more than 400 Telefónica Germany employees will lend their energy to supporting Think Big initiatives in five cities. Volunteer social work is a firm part of Telefónica's corporate culture, and the company would like to see 285,000 employees taking part in similar ways worldwide.
A total of 29 project ideas submitted by children and young people will be able to count on the active help of Telefónica employees come Volunteering Day. The children of the Wörthschule for example will be learning more about their particular strengths in a skills course under the heading "I can't help liking what I like". Under the guidance of the Telefónica employees, they will try out their skills at a sequence of crafting, technical, commercial, domestic and creative stations. Joachim Kugoth, Managing Director Human Resources, explains: "Volunteer work is a firm part of Telefónica's corporate culture. By supporting social projects every employee can discover new personal attributes. And also the colleagues discover new qualities amongst each other. Volunteering enables the staff to grow on a personal level. For me it is a huge enrichment each time I can help disadvantaged children and young people."
Rostock, meanwhile, will be host to a media workshop for young people, while Hamburg will provide an entertaining climbing afternoon at Jugendhaus Alsterdorf. Staying in the north, Bremen and the Tobiasschule will be getting a revamped garden and the playground on Nuremberg's Tunnelstrasse will receive a facelift in Hundertwasser look. The directors of Telefónica Germany are contributing their efforts in all locations.
"The logistics alone make Volunteering Day a challenge," explains René Schuster, CEO Telefónica Germany. "After all, more than 400 employees have to be informed in good time where they have to lend their help and find suitable project ideas for what are frequently disadvantaged young people, both socially and educationally. But the hard work pays off." According to its latest sustainability report, Telefónica Germany aims to motivate 15 per cent of the workforce to take up voluntary work and thus advance their social commitment and hone their social skills. "As things stand, we have already passed this goal by a long way and can count on more than 1,100 volunteer employees this year," says a delighted Schuster.
Think Big is a social programme sponsored by Telefónica Europe that supports young people in the markets where the company is active through its O2 product brand. Think Big started in Germany in 2010 in partnership with the German Children and Youth Foundation (GCYF) and with the support of Federal Minister of Families Kristina Schröder and rapper Kool Savas. Under the motto "Our neighbourhood. Our idea.", Think Big 2011 supports the involvement of young people in their local environment. It was developed in collaboration with the Fundación Telefónica and builds on the latter's globally recognised expertise in social and cultural issues. Many Telefónica employees have already taken part in the trust's Proniño programme, which supports schooling and training for more than 163,000 children in South America. Telefónica Germany GmbH & Co. OHG and its O2 and Alice brands is part of Telefónica Europe and the Spanish telecommunications group Telefónica S.A. The company offers both its private and business customers in Germany post- and pre-paid mobile communications products, along with innovative mobile data services on the basis of GPRS and UMTS technology. As an integrated communications provider, the company also offers DSL landline telephony and high-speed Internet services. Telefónica Europe has more than 57 million mobile and landline customers in the UK, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.