RBC challenged me make a positive impact at work. Here’s what I did.

Written by: Carolyn Withrow, Talent Advisor, RBC.

In celebration of RBC’s 150th birthday, this year employees from across the organization were nominated to receive $150 with the simple challenge of using the money to make a positive impact.

I was excited to be one of those nominated employees and when I received my kit I decided that I wanted to do something for the environment. A Shoreline Cleanup with RBC employees at HTO Park in Toronto felt like the perfect way to make a positive impact. This brought together RBC employees, my passion for environmental issues, my not-for-profit experience and a great initiative by the World Wildlife Fund.

Image © RBC

As part of my internship with the RBC Career Launch Program I worked with Swim Drink Fish, a charity focused on connecting people to water and advocating for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for everyone. During my time there I joined the team for a trip to the Toronto Inner Harbour to test the water for bacteria. SDF monitors multiple locations in the Toronto Harbour (and many other locations across Canada) with the help of volunteers. They share the water quality data with the public through their Swim Guide app so that people can know if the water is safe for recreational use. On my trip, I saw how polluted the harbour was with litter and learned that this is a persistent problem. Having grown up in the city I knew this to be true for myself as well.

Image © RBC

On May 22, fourteen volunteers from RBC answered my call to help clean up HTO Park and make it beautiful for everyone to enjoy. WWF generously supported the event by bringing supplies and Swim Drink Fish joined us to share the work they do monitoring the harbour and how cleanups like this help make a difference.

I’m pleased to say the park was relatively clean when we arrived but we still collected 7kg of litter. While I have no doubt the park will soon collect more litter I think that our small contribution can go a long way. The more people get involved in these kinds of activities the closer we can get to a healthy environment for everyone.

Thank you RBC for the chance to make a difference, the $150 allowed me to put together this event and support making our communities and water clean for everyone. Special thanks to Swim Drink Fish for sharing your work and helping with the cleanup and to WWF for supporting the event. My biggest thank you to the volunteers who came out to give your time to this cleanup. I could not have done it without you and it’s your efforts that make all the difference!

Do you have a story like Carolyn’s? We want to hear it! Contact us to share how you’ve been taking action for nature with your workplace.