In the sensory room at BACH, a Texas nonprofit that serves kids with special needs, the bubbles floating in a water-filled cylinder in front of vibrant red, blue and green projections on the walls conceal the room’s original identity as a file storage area. Transforming the space from a dusty closet to a therapy room for overcoming sensory issues, Rohit Aggarwal’s Ascend Cares project took nearly 20 volunteers to complete last year. Building playhouses for the organization a few months later brought together another 190. And by June, he would be coordinating more than 1,000 volunteers around the world as he led the first Ascend Cares Global Day of Caring.
A natural fit
Attention to detail was a natural fit for Rohit, a senior project engineering manager in Houston. A typical day might begin with reading status updates on the new Ascend office buildout in Detroit or responding to a local contractor about the Houston headquarters expansion.
It’s detail-oriented work, filled with numbers, spreadsheets and deadlines. It’s also what made him a natural fit to lead the Global Day of Caring.
Since 2011, Ascend Cares volunteers have completed hundreds of projects across our sites. But the Global Day of Caring, with multiple projects would take place simultaneously around the world, would be the largest effort in the history of the foundation – and pulling it off would be Rohit’s responsibility.
Rohit’s Ascend Cares spreadsheet would have a similar format to his engineering projects, but with different content. Instead of calculating square footage, it would track how many cans could be donated to a local food bank. As the Global Day of Caring approached, the list continued to grow.
“It was great hearing about the different projects and events at each site,” said Rohit. “Greenwood built a baseball field for disabled children, Shanghai held a pottery-making activity for blind, deaf and mute children and many sites held food drives. Tilburg and Belgium also held events supporting children. Even the new Detroit office team came together for their first Ascend Cares event and spent an afternoon volunteering at a local food bank.”
Coordinating around the world
Rachell Gold, HR director in Houston and executive director of Ascend Cares, says she tapped Rohit to coordinate the many moving parts of the Global Day of Caring because of his leadership skills.
“I’ve watched Rohit manage Ascend Cares projects and have always been impressed with his creativity and passion for making an impact in our community,” said Rachell. “With the combination of dedication and leadership, Rohit made the first Global Day of Caring a success.”
After the Global Day of Caring, Rohit calculated that the 30 teams around the world had made a difference in the lives of more than 12,000 people.
It also demonstrated our one Ascend value, said Rohit. “I wanted all of our teams to feel connected,” said Rohit. “The Global Day of Caring brought together volunteers and their families, local communities and our company working on projects inspired and selected by the employees themselves.”
While Rohit couldn’t be at every Ascend Cares event, he enjoyed seeing the many pictures taken by the team leaders. Click here to view the photo album on Facebook.