As with so many families in the San Jose area, one of our traditions at this time of year is to visit “Christmas in the Park”, where children – young and old – can experience the beauty and the magic of the holidays. As I strolled through the park with my daughter, we saw the delight in their faces, heard their laughter, and shared in the extraordinary warmth of spirit that the season brings.
“Christmas in the Park” is a non-profit organization that is supported through fund-raising efforts and with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Each year they turn a 2-acre park into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, festive displays, real snowflakes, carolers and, of course, the big man himself, Santa Claus.
A couple of weeks earlier, a team of NetApp volunteers had become busy little elves themselves, joining forces with some of Santa’s helpers to build one of the eight playhouses that are part of the exhibit. With hammers, paint and an abundance of good humor, they went all out, with a Charlie Brown Christmas theme that rocked! It gave me an incredible sense of pride, seeing once again the difference our employees make, not only here at home, but everywhere. Like Santa, we cover the globe.
Being a great company is more than having a great product. We have great employees and great customers, too, but what makes NetApp truly special is our culture of giving back – to the communities in which we work and play, and to those that need a helping hand from outsiders.
In fact, we are so dedicated to sharing our good fortune with others that we offer a unique program to our employees – VTO, or Volunteer Time Off. For five days a year, more than 13,000 employees worldwide have the opportunity to donate their time to their personal favorite charities or schools, while NetApp pays their salaries. These people quietly go about their business of changing the world for the better by helping organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Children International, food banks, humane societies, arts centers, the Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation, to name but a few.
Whether they are building homes, mentoring a child, fund-raising for cancer research, serving meals to the hungry, planting trees, fostering a pet, or doing one of a thousand different activities, these people carry out their work with passion and dedication, and NetApp is behind them all the way.
At this time of year, let us all be reminded to give from the heart – whether it’s in dollars, time, or goodwill – to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Because that is the real beauty, the real magic of Christmas.
Happy Holidays, Everyone!