When someone asks us what makes AVANT different from other leaders in our space, the first answer is always “our people”.  One of the best things about being a people-company in a people-town like Chicago, is the opportunity we get to connect with our neighbors.  As big as Chicago is, it still has that small-town community feel, and it’s rewarding when one of our own takes the initiative to reach out and help out our neighbors in need.

Most recently, our very own Erin recognized a need in our community and did something about it.

The House of the Good Shepherd in Chicago exists to, in their words, “serve with love and compassion women and children affected by domestic violence by offering a safe place with opportunities for emotional, educational and spiritual growth, giving hope and continued support for a better future.” It is a wonderful mission and one with which we knew we wanted to be involved in the minute Erin brought this certain need to our attention.

Erin found The HotGS through ‘Chicago Cares’, a volunteer connector that matches organizations with a need for volunteerism, to individuals and organizations able to assist. She started by reading to the kids, then working as a volunteer computer teacher; and quickly found it to be as fun as it was rewarding.  Over time she became a mentor to a child.

Over the course of her volunteerism, Erin discovered that there wasn’t much in the way of “sporting equipment” with which to play in the backyard of HotGS; there were two basketballs and one of them was deflated. It had been that way for a decade.

The night she learned of the shape of the recreation area, Erin emailed AVANT CEO Ian Keininger, and explained the situation. That was all we needed to hear.

The rec area at HotGS now consists of tons of new balls of all kinds and sizes, two small soccer nets, a volleyball net, a full-size basketball hoop, and a replacement toddler basketball hoop. Erin and a volunteer team from Avant and HotGS put everything together.

It needed to be done. Erin made it happen.

In Erin’s words, “what Avant finds most important is making an impact. Whether it be in the Telecom world or in our community, we love to have our finger on the pulse. As soon as I mentioned a need in the area, Avant was on it, willing to give me anything required to make it happen.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Erin, and the rest of the AVANT team who supported her effort, for the work they’ve done with HotGS.

Erin says she, “will never forget the little ones too young for school looking out the windows and asking us what we were doing–and their elated response when I said it was for them! The kids loved it!”.  That’s what it’s all about… Great job Erin!