At Erie Insurance, our employees are encouraged to volunteer within their local community and find a nonprofit close to their heart. This often becomes such a big part of who they are that even in retirement, the desire to do good can stay with them long after their last day at ERIE.
In fact, several ERIE retirees still spend time each week as classroom helpers at Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary, a PreK-5 public school and United Way Community School, located a few blocks from our Home Office campus in Erie, Pennsylvania. Erie Insurance became an Adopt-A-School Partner with Pfeiffer-Burleigh more than 30 years ago. ERIE became its Corporate Partner when the Community Schools initiative was developed in August 2016.
As ERIE employees, people volunteer their time and energy outside of work hours, as well as through special work-sponsored events such as our ERIE Service Corps program. Relationships begin to develop – and employees don’t want to lose them after they retire.
Elaine Spizarny worked at Erie Insurance for 22 years under the Office of the President and in Customer Service. She retired in 2017. But before retirement, she spent 10 years volunteering at Pfeiffer-Burleigh during her lunch breaks.
“Remembering what an impact I had on these children when I worked at Erie Insurance and tutored on a weekly basis, I jumped at the chance to help these young people when asked to volunteer as a retiree of ERIE,” Spizarny said.
THE BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING IN RETIREMENT
Another benefit: Volunteering gets people involved in their community in new and meaningful ways. And while retirees make up only 31 percent of the adult U.S. population age 25 and up, they account for 45 percent of total hours volunteered.
Raylene Dill started tutoring at the school just prior to her retirement from ERIE in December 2018.
“I feel happy knowing I can help a child,” says Dill. “It leaves me with a sense of fulfillment after each session. It’s fun to watch the students and the goings-on when I come into the school.”
WHAT KEEPS THEM COMING BACK?
Spizarny is always greeted with a smile from the teacher when she shows up for her shift. She said it’s rewarding to see the students at Pfeiffer-Burleigh respond to individual attention – something all students desperately need to succeed.
“The students get really excited to see who the teacher is going to pick to sit with me for the day,” she said. “I often feel like a celebrity!”
According to Pennsylvania Department of Education statistics, more than 50 percent of Pfeiffer-Burleigh’s students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The school also has a large refugee population. These are a few of the many reasons why this partnership with ERIE – in place since 1988 – is so important.
After 15 years with ERIE, working in several departments from design to education and training, Anna DuShole retired in 2002. She became a classroom helper at the school to assist with ERIE’s concentration on improving school success.
“I think the whole community has become focused on changing the course of inner-city children,” said DuShole. “I have the time and I would encourage others to give it a try because it's a way to make a small difference and to grow yourself.”
Our employees, retirees and agents tutor young students, build homes and feed families. Find out more about ERIE’s longstanding commitment to our community by visiting our Giving Network page or following #ERIEforgood wherever you share on social media.