How one volunteer made the holidays extra special for many families in our community and secured a $5,000 donation from The swinerton foundation
This past year, Ben Trantham of Swinerton, was the recipient of our Volunteer of the Year Award. Ben has been a beacon of light in our community and an outstanding hero for the children and families we serve. Ben has volunteered for our annual Holiday Toy Shops on numerous occasions over the past 5 years. This past year he was able to integrate our Toy Shop Program and a Car Seat Drive into The Swinerton Foundation's annual Fall Giving Challenge. Throughout this, Ben worked closely with our Community Relations Department to coordinate and assist in any way he could. Ben rallied his coworkers to purchase toys, and then he collected them all in a big truck and delivered them to our offices. He also secured 83 car seats for our families, making the holidays even more bright. As a result of the amazing generosity from Ben and Swinerton's Sacramento team, Lilliput was awarded a grant from The Swinerton Foundation for $5,000! Our Volunteer of the Year award is given every year to the volunteer who shows an outstanding commitment to furthering our mission in the community and being a hero within our organization. It is readily apparent why this year, that volunteer was Ben! He truly exemplifies what this award means. Earlier this week we had a chance to catch up with Ben, to ask him a few questions and here’s what he had to say:
How did you first get involved with Lilliput Families?
Through CC Meyers, when I used to work there. We would partner with Lilliput Families during the holiday season and you could adopt a child or two for Christmas to get them all the items on their wish list. That first year, I was instantly hooked from the whole experience of buying the gifts, to volunteering at the toy shop and meeting the children and families in person and receiving thank you cards from them. Overall, just a really good and overwhelming experience. So, when I was hired on at Swinerton, I knew I wanted to bring this program to our Sacramento division. Swinerton participates in an annual Fall Giving Challenge and after a couple of years of participating in that, I was able to get Lilliput’s Toy Shop Drive integrated into our fall giving season. So, this past year during our fall season drive, our Sacramento team collected toys, car seats, and money. As a result, we were awarded a grant from The Swinerton Foundation where we could award $5,000 to a non-profit of our choosing, and so we made a 5K unrestricted donation to Lilliput Families.
When you put together the Toy Drive in your division, donated the 83 car seats with your Sacramento team and awarded Lilliput Families with the 5K unrestricted donation from The Swinerton Foundation, how did that make you feel?
Awesome, very overwhelming and I actually teared up a bit, just knowing that I was a part of something that could actually make a meaningful contribution to a local organization like Lilliput Families.
Why did you choose to support Lilliput Families over the other non-profits and causes in your local community?
Having the previous connection with Lilliput Families through CC Meyers and because of the way that the families and staff have made me feel. The families are so appreciative, and their appreciation is just so real and true. Also, the way staff really cares about these families and how appreciative they are as well. That in itself has truly kept me connected to this organization and cause.
What draws you to our mission, that Lilliput exists to ensure every child has the opportunity to be part of a safe, nurturing, lifelong family?
I don’t have any kids yet, so I like the fact that I am able to help the children in my local community. I also love that Lilliput is right here in our community helping our children find safe and nurturing families.
When your friends, family and coworkers found out that you were volunteering and supporting Lilliput Families, what did they say or ask?
Very positive and overwhelming support. I sent a text message to my childhood best friend's mother, who has adopted/fostered more than one hundred children. She expressed to me how amazing it is and how much of an impact this will make not only for the children and their families, but also how helpful this kind of support is for the social workers. Knowing that we’re helping the kids and also helping the social workers is a good feeling. Overall, friends and family were very proud, and that feels great.
When I shared this with my team at Swinerton, I heard about the personal connections and relationships Lilliput has with some of the members of my team and that was also very heartwarming and inspiring. Also, to learn that one of our very own has actually adopted through Lilliput brought the whole process much closer to a lot of us here at the Sacramento division.
On a lighter note, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play golf, rock climb and be outdoors.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I’m a very eligible 36-year-old bachelor!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting involved with Lilliput Families?
Definitely do it, it’s very rewarding!