Mary Hayes, NetApp Sr. Healthcare Marketing Manager has been on a mission for two years now to help some of the most under-served residents of Guatemala through NetApp’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program. She has just returned from her second stay with Mission Guatemala , a faith-based organization supported by her church.

Through NetApp’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program, full-time employees can take up to five business days of time off, with full pay, per calendar year to volunteer with a nonprofit organization or school, to assist with disaster relief, or to participate in other community volunteer activities. Mary believes she is “fortunate to work for a company that lays a path for us to fulfill both our professional goals and our personal ones as a member of the NetApp family. This company is ahead of the curve in understanding what work/life balance really means. More than a policy that looks good on paper, they fully support time off spent giving back, knowing that it’s good for everyone – the employee, the beneficiary and the company.”

Her work with Mission Guatemala aligns with NetApp’s overarching volunteerism goals around nutrition programs and the goal of completing 25,000 hours of service by the end of NetApp’s 25th anniversary year.

According to the World Food Programme, 47 percent of children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition, which is one of the highest rates in the world. During Mary’s stay, Mission Guatemala launched a new feeding program at an elementary school in Choquec that will offer lunches to every child on every school day. The entire community turned out to attend a ribbon-cutting celebration that included a luncheon prepared by the students’ mothers, as well as presentations from the school children, faculty and community leaders.

Reflecting on the trip, Mary shares, “When we focus on what makes us different rather than the common human experience that unites us, we miss important opportunities to share meaningful interaction with people who teach us important lessons about life – even when we don’t speak the same language, or have the same culture or lifestyle. With VTO, what you give ends up being dwarfed by what you receive.”

Find out more about NetApp’s Volunteer Time Off program here.