They hope to bring Share the Sunshine back multiple times a year from here on out
ATASCADERO — Local nonprofits gathered in the Solarponics parking lot in Atascadero on Friday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the company’s first-ever Share the Sunshine volunteer sign-up day.
“Share the Sunshine came out of us being a solar company. That’s where the name came from, but also our new mission and vision for the year, which came out of the volunteering, is, we are people first,” stated Chief Marketing Officer Frank Scotti.
“Every year, collectively, the managers regroup and try to think about what’s most important. This year we made people as our primary focus,” added Solarponics President and Owner Christian Emrich.
The local solar company started a program for its employees, giving them one paid day off a year to volunteer in the community. The company noticed that it was hard to find and pick non-profits to work alongside, which is how the idea for Share the Sunshine was born.
“We can’t be the only ones having trouble picking a place to volunteer. It was even difficult figuring out where we wanted to volunteer. We didn’t know where to start,” said Scotti. “It was one easy, ‘well, what if we did all the work for everybody else and we just brought a bunch of non-profits together in one place, and the non-profits knew they were there to look for volunteers.’”
The non-profits at the sign-up fair represented multiple industries in the area, from pets, the elderly, homelessness, meals, crisis intervention, land conservancy, the library, and more. It gave the community members who came out to find volunteer opportunities many options to choose from, all in one place.
“I hadn’t seen any volunteer fairs; I thought that maybe it was an opportunity to get the public involved and to get some people signed up. We made a simple goal of 15 non-profits, and we were hoping for 50 community members to come in, and if we could get three sign-ups for every non-profit, then I feel like we accomplished something,” added Emrich.
Solarponics exceeded their goal of non-profits who participated, and every one of those had multiple sign-ups with people wanting to volunteer.
The non-profits who participated in Share the Sunshine were: Meals that Connect, The Atascadero Greyhound Foundation/Lighthouse, Estrella Warbirds Museum, One Cool Earth, The Atascadero Printery Foundation, Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, Atascadero Kiwanis, SLO Botanical Garden, ECHO, Optimist Club Paso Robles, Lumina Alliance, ECOSLO, Land Conservancy of SLO County, Rancho Burro Donkey Sanctuary, Friends of Atascadero Library, and Alice’s Bookstore.
The sentiment was echoed by all the non-profits who participated that it was great to learn more about each other and make connections while at the fair, in addition to gaining new volunteers. It was also evident that the in-person volunteer sign-up day really helped brake the online sign-up barrier and personalize the experience.
“They [the community] really enjoyed being able to be introduced and learn about multiple community organizations in one spot. It did what it was supposed to do. It made it really easy to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time,” added Scotti.
Scotti also stressed that all the non-profits said they have spots for anyone who wants to volunteer, no matter what their skill set is, and that the community members who went to the volunteer day enjoyed learning what opportunities the Central Coast has to offer.
“The most surprising thing was realizing all the volunteer opportunities. That anybody can volunteer,” he continued.
Scotti said that Share the Sunshine will be back and that Solarponics hopes the next installment will be sometime before the summer of 2023.
“The more non-profits or community organizations we can bring together, the better,” he concluded.