I worked for the Disney company for five years (1998-2003) and besides learning retail from the best in the business, I learned about their commitment to the community.  Disney encourages cast members to participate in their community through the Disney VoluntEARS program.   The VoluntEARS program began more than 25 years ago and VoluntEARS have donated more than 5.5 million hours of service in 40 countries.

“The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements, but rather with the things we do for other people.” – Walt Disney

I’m represented in that 5.5 million hours of service of VoluntEARS hours because in my time as a CM, I supported Relay for Life several years in a row. It was my pleasure to represent Disney at such a special event.  Disney thanked us by providing t-shirts and service pins (think Girl Scout Badges – token gifts that meant the world).  I also had the pleasure of donating time to touring Disney family events at local malls as well.

One fabulous aspect of the VoluntEARS program is that is supports all kinds of charitable causes. Environment, kids, families, arts and culture, and more.  As a Cast Member we were encouraged to suggest and head a volunteer event.  Disney provided financial assistance when necessary, and the means to organize and advertise the event.

The benefit to CMs was not just the opportunity to do good in our community, but it gave us the opportunity to work as a team outside of the store.  98%  of our staff were part-time employees, most working full-time as teachers, in the tech field, or other totally unrelated professions. This gave us an opportunity to spend time together, to learn a grow as a team, and to use the new relationships we forged within the store.  It was a fabulous time that I have fond memories of.  I have photos, but I didn’t own a digital camera back then, and digging through boxes of photos didn’t unearth them.  Someday I’ll have them all scanned and can remember my old Disney friends.

Thanks to the Disney Cast Members around the world for donating your time. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting some of them at the Disney Social Media Mom’s celebration last month at Walt Disney World.  Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the fabulous Volunteer Celebration Disney put on for their Give a Day, Get a Disney Day program.

DISCLOSURE: I attended the Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration – I paid a conference fee and paid for my transportation; however, the cost did not exceed the value of the event.  The opinions are my own.