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Global Volunteer Month: KLA Employees Talk about their Volunteerism

Apr 4, 2024 6 min read

April is Global Volunteer Month. For many employees, helping others isn’t just a monthly activity – they volunteer for worthy causes throughout the year. KLA Advance and the KLA Foundation asked some of our people in India, Israel, South Korea, the U.K., France and the U.S. to discuss their good deeds.

Kaushik Ram, associate engineer, Chennai

Kaushik, who joined KLA India in 2023, volunteers as an educator for underserved schoolchildren through AID India.

KLA's Kaushik Ram.

“The fulfillment I experience from volunteering and helping underserved children motivates me to keep contributing to social causes. Volunteering not only helps communities but also enriches my own life by fostering humility within me. I believe that small acts of kindness and compassion truly help make our society a better place for us to live in.’’

Kaushik Ram

Roey Nitzani, senior applications engineer, Yavne, Israel

Once a week during the school year, Roey volunteers as a math tutor, helping immigrant teens realize their full potential at Ayanot Youth Village. The Yavne site, Roey says, “adopted” Ayanot several years ago by assisting with coursework, workshops and mentoring.

KLA'sRoey Nitzani.

“I wanted to be a part of that, and teaching comes naturally to me. I vividly remember how I felt about math when I was that age – it was an obscure concept and knew I had to understand the subject, but I had no ‘feeling’ for it.”

Roey Nitzani

Roey now holds a master’s degree in computer science and believes math doesn’t have to be a “scary subject” anymore. He gives the students a good experience by approaching math more as a puzzle than as an “apply this on that and solve for that” kind of a subject. 

“You know you’re doing something right if both you and the kids smile while going over some algebra,” Roey says.

Changsub Sim, SWIFT product installation engineer, Gyeonggi, South Korea

KLA's Changsub Sim.

After Changsub finished his military service, he had to wait six months before returning to university to complete his degree. He took on a part-time job as an assistant teacher at a technical high school for underserved students – and it proved to be a learning experience both for the kids and him.

“They were from a poor financial environment, and their grades were low, but they were smart and had potential,” recalls Changsub. “I saw that people in these situations could develop themselves if given the opportunity.” 

While at university, Changsub volunteered to take children from an orphanage to a theme park. “We played together and ate together,” he recalls. “For the orphans, it’s really hard to visit because most kids usually go amusement parks with their parents. We wanted to help give them good childhood memories.”

A KLA Korea employee since 2020, Changsub also volunteered at a Habit for Humanity build and has delivered lunch boxes to elderly and disadvantaged people. He also helps at a dog shelter.

“I realize that I am really fortunate, so I want to contribute to society.”

Changsub Sim

Dat Nguyen and Emily Tobita, customer support engineers, Hillsboro, Oregon

Working through Oregon Dog Rescue and Fur Love Haven, Dat and Emily foster dogs from overcrowded local shelters, owners who can no longer keep their dogs and from high-kill shelters. Emily and Dat prepare the pets for adoption by getting them any needed veterinary attention, socializing the animals and just giving plenty of care, love and treats.

One recent dog was a pit bull-mix named Alec who needed immediate veterinary care.

“Our goal was to bring him to good health and restore his trust in people because his past was full of mistreatment and abuse. While taking him to the dog park in our neighborhood for socialization we actually connected him with a family and found him a forever home where he has a sister pup to play with.”

Emily Tobita
KLA's Dat Nguyen and Emily Tobita.

They first became involved with Oregon Dog Rescue by volunteering to walk dogs so they get time out of the shelter and some exercise that would help them become more adoptable. “One thing led to another, and we found ourselves part of an emergency foster by request for Fur Love Haven,” Dat explains. “We look forward to a fostering again and eventually having a dog of our own who will also welcome other pups who need help into our home.”

Adds Emily: “It’s a pleasure to take them on walks, run and play with them, and allow them to feel safe and loved. I have never owned a dog so this was such a humbling learning experience that taught me so much about pups and really excites me to work with more in the future.”

Elin Howells, manufacturing design engineer, Newport, Wales, United Kingdom

Elin volunteers with Girlguiding, helping girls from 10-14 years old have fun, adventure and the space to discover their potential.

As a unit leader, she helps girls build their skills and confidence in supportive environments through STEM activities, survival and outdoor skills, leadership opportunities and more.

KLA's Elin Howells.

“Every week is different. Sometimes I’m teaching life skills like sewing or first aid, the next week I’m running a campfire for 100 girls or watching shadow puppet versions of their favorite books. I’ve such an amazing group of women I volunteer with, and it helps me build my own confidence and leadership skills as well.”

Elin Howells

Elin was a participant in Girlguiding beginning at the age of 5 and grew into leadership positions as she became older. She has been an adult leader for 10 years.

“This volunteer work is really important to me because I have benefitted myself from Girlguiding and know how important those few hours a week can be for young girls,” she says. “These days particularly, kids are under so much pressure. We give them a space where they can just be themselves, they can be imperfect and try new things where they know they’re going to get nothing but support and encouragement.”

Richard Marr, supply chain business analyst, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Twice each month, Richard supports the Alzheimer’s Research Association by volunteering as a musical therapist for memory care patients.

As Richard plays the guitar, he sings traditional, age-appropriate songs the audience will recognize, like “You Are My Sunshine,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “Amazing Grace.”

“Music therapy is direct engagement – they want to sing along, and by doing so they are activating parts of their minds that they otherwise would not,” he says. “It’s an activity that improves their moods, and they typically end up singing and humming throughout the rest of the day.”

Richard has played and sang at memory care facilities for the better part of five years. He’s played guitar for 30 years.

KLA's Richard Marr.

“We all have special talents that can be shared with the world, and just a little bit of time can have a huge impact. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding for me and for the wonderful people I get to sing with.”

Richard Marr

Geetha Paneerselvam, associate lead, talent acquisition, Chennai, India

Geetha Paneerselvam, a KLA India employee since 2022, has volunteered as an educator for people with disabilities at Vidya Sagar

KLA's Geetha Paneerselvam.

‘’I’ve been inspired by the notion that education serves as a powerful catalyst for global transformation, profoundly enriching my own life.”

Geetha Paneerselvam

She adds, “Volunteering has provided me with an avenue to express gratitude for my personal growth. Making a positive impact in the lives of people with disabilities at Vidya Sagar gives me much-needed contentment and fulfillment. Additionally, this experience fosters introspection, empowering me to dispel false perceptions of problems around me.’’

Sylvain Plaetevoet, field IT Europe and IT client services, Montbonnot, France.

For two days, Sylvain volunteered to clean beaches and raise awareness with children at a scuba diving spot in the Philippines.

Initially, they collected all the trash and placed it in plastic bags. However, as plastic bags became scarce, they adapted by learning to construct more environmentally friendly bags using palm leaves. These natural bags serve as a sustainable alternative to plastic, contributing to a cleaner environment and safeguarding the picturesque coastal areas where the children enjoy diving.

KLA's Sylvain Plaetevoet.

“In addition to having a positive impact, volunteering can be personally fulfilling. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, particularly when I witness the direct results of my efforts.” 

Sylvain Plaetevoet

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