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Celebrating Summer and Volunteering the Nelnet Way

July 22, 2016

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At Nelnet, we love summer not only because it combines baseball games and sunshine, but also because it allows us to pair one of our core values with being active outside. Giving back to the communities in which we live and work is even more rewarding when paired with sunny days.

Associates were able to revel in volunteerism and summer heat in May as they took part in the Heart Walk sponsored by the American Heart Association. Nelnet was named a top walker for the third year in a row, with over 218 associates in attendance. Family members and favorite pets joined associates as they took one Saturday morning to come together and raise money for heart disease prevention.

Wellness Program Coordinator Rick Rautenberg said events like the Heart Walk are important for promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness and education for life-threatening issues, such as heart disease.

“Volunteering in the communities we live in is as equally important to our personal well-being as staying physically active and living a life full of balance,” Rautenberg said. “Citizens that get involved and show pride in their community help create a positive environment for those around us. It can be contagious and go a long way towards making positive change in our communities.”

Along with having top attendance, associates helped to raise funds to go toward research and tools to prevent heart disease. This summer, associates were also able to enjoy being active outside in June at Relay for Life sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

“Getting involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event helps to promote cancer awareness and education,” Casey Carl, a supervisor, said. “It’s encouraging when people from within our community come together to support these types of causes, it shows that there are still a lot of caring people in this world.”

Carl previously coordinated Nelnet’s involvement in the walk when he worked in Colorado. Upon moving to Lincoln, he became part of the team that helped Nelnet begin participating in the event in Nebraska for the first time this year.

Associates embodied the 2016 theme and helped “Paint Your World Purple” by walking, jumping in bounce houses, participating in silent auctions, and eating at food trucks, all to celebrate lives, remember loved ones, and fight back against cancer. Nelnet team captain Mary Hulbert said volunteering has been important all of her life because of the good it does in the community and also because of the connections one makes.

“With so many associates and departments within Nelnet, you get stuck in your own little world,” Hulbert said. “Spreading your passion for volunteering for Relay for Life let me meet new people within Nelnet and form bonds that I wouldn’t have if I had just sat in my chair.”

Over 100 associates joined the team and helped fundraise. Next year, Nelnet hopes to double the money raised and the number of associates who participate.

The reasons to volunteer are countless. Spreading good and helping build a more educated world not only helps the community, but is a key part of Nelnet’s mission. Whether it be attending Nelnet-sponsored sporting events, or teaming up for local giving challenges, summer is perfect for using quality time to stay happy, healthy, and give back.

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