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Why We Volunteer: Building Homes To Rebuild Lives

Levi Strauss & Co. encourages employees to take five hours a month of paid time to volunteer in their communities. Here’s how one employee, Tina Lee, uses that time.

When Tina Lee first started volunteering, she thought it was a great way to make herself feel good about doing good in the world.

“But as I started doing more and more volunteer work, I learned that it is not about me – it’s about them!” she said. “Being able to see the faces of those who I have helped allowed me to recognize that I was doing real and important work. And I want to keep doing this for as long as I can.”

Tina, an executive assistant to the VP of finance, VP of Levi’s® brand marketing and director of distribution and logistics in Singapore, has been involved with Habitat for Humanity since the devastating tsunami  in Sri Lanka on Christmas Day in 2004. It was one of the deadliest and most destructive natural disasters ever recorded, and Tina traveled to Colombo, Sri Lanka to help rebuild homes. In 2013, she went on another build to Batam, Indonesia – and since then, she has led five house-building trips to Batam, completing 10 homes for families who need shelter.

Why building houses?

“A shelter is one of the immediate basic needs in life,” Tina said. “It protects us from the elements, provides warmth and security and gives us the encouragement to satisfy our other needs. Seeing the happy faces of the families who once had to live in dilapidated housing move into their new and safe homes makes me very happy.”

Tina has been a member of the LS&Co. Community Involvement Team (an employee-led group of volunteers) since the day she joined the company, and joined a Service Corps trip to Sri Lanka in 2016. She also volunteers her time with Tabitha Cambodia, a nonprofit that helps the poorest people in Cambodia develop and meet their financial goals, and has spent time working with groups such as the Missionaries of Charity’s “Gift of Love” home for the elderly, the Patient Care Centre for patients with HIV, and many others. But she is particularly passionate about her work with Habitat, as she believes it helps to raise awareness about the poor housing conditions that exist for many people in less developed countries.

Tina says she encourages others across the company to get involved in giving back, for one very simple reason: “The more people involved in community work, the more people will be able to live better lives.”