by Tonie Hansen

If you caught our last blog post about NVIDIA’s Volunteer Recognition Program, you know that we’re profiling employees who go above and beyond in volunteering for their favorite causes.

We’re hearing this week from Timo Allison and Steven Leong. Each have earned the non-profit where they volunteer a $500 grant from the NVIDIA Foundation.

Timo Allison, based in Santa Clara, CA, is on the board of the Awaso Hope Foundation and serves as technology lead and webmaster:

I’ve been working with Awaso Hope Foundation since 2008 after learning about it from my sister-in-law. This is a small organization, but we’re able to truly change the lives of children in Awaso, a small village in southwestern Ghana.

Our goal is to enable the people of Awaso to help themselves by providing high-quality education for their children, 98 percent of whom don’t currently go on to high school. In the fall of 2010, the construction of Awaso Academy was complete and it began educating its first group of students, with the goal of giving a sound foundation so the kids can continue on in school and ultimately break the cycle of poverty.

A class of students in Ghana, supported by Awaso Hope

Being part of Awaso Hope has been a great experience for me on multiple levels. I strongly believe in the power of education, and by providing funding for Awaso I know we are making a significant impact on the community.

Volunteering has also been rewarding on the family front as my entire family has gotten involved with the foundation. I’m actively involved in our community fundraising events, and I’ve gotten my wife and children involved too. Learning about the children of Awaso and participating in the foundation’s efforts has been a valuable experience for my two daughters, who are now xx and xx years old.

One of the things I have always been proud of at NVIDIA is our community outreach efforts. When I’m interviewing potential candidates or discussing NVIDIA with friends I always point out the exceptional programs, such as Project Inspire and the Volunteer Recognition Program, as a reason why NVIDIA is a great place to work.

Based in Los Altos, Calif., the Awaso Hope Foundation supports a K-12 school in the rural village of Awaso in the southwestern region of Ghana.

Steven Leong, based in Santa Clara, CA, is a volunteer with the Tzu Chi Foundation:

Volunteering brings me true happiness and a feeling of peace. I am so grateful for the things I have when I see so many people who are less fortunate.

I’ve been working for 14 years with Tzu Chi Foundation, in the Bay Area, which helps local communities, in such areas as supporting family services, raising funds for local health care, protecting the environment and contributing to local schools. They also provide disaster assistance and relief internationally.

As a volunteer, I participate in their environmental work, free clinic support, recycling efforts, food service and other activities. I’m involved with providing the residents of local nursing homes with spiritual and physical support as well as in helping school children with computer literacy. In addition to working with Tzu Chi, I also volunteer in my local community through NVIDIA-sponsored events like Project Inspire.

Steve Leong, second from left, serving meals with volunteers of Tzu Chi Foundation

The Tzu Chi Foundation is a worldwide organization with nearly 10 million volunteers in 50 countries. Its four major missions are charity, medicine, education and humanistic culture.