The past year here at Callbox has been about celebration. 2014 marked our company’s 10th anniversary and so we spent the last few months cherishing the things that we’ve accomplished in a rather challenging but fruitful decade. I myself couldn’t be prouder of what Callbox has become and what it can potentially evolve into. We’re all very excited about what the future holds for this thriving company.

However, all these triumphs would not have been realized if it weren’t for the local communities which have, throughout the years, generously provided all the things we needed for Callbox to grow from a small start-up into a globally-recognized marketing company.

This celebration is not only for Callbox but also for the cities of Iloilo and Davao, and most importantly, their passionate, hardworking people.

A tradition of giving back

Even during our early years, Callbox has always been passionate with community service, sometimes even beyond the realms of corporate social responsibility. We pride ourselves on being a homegrown company with humble beginnings — I’ve always emphasized that Callbox is not an American company that was brought to the Philippines just like any other BPO firm. It was, in fact, established in Iloilo City from the ground up.

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That mentality among our employees breeds genuine willingness to give back to these locales that have cradled our company from conception. And Callbox has successfully translated that willingness into well-executed and well-documented acts of community service. We’ve carried out small to large-scale initiatives that cater to various groups of people in need — from undernourished children to typhoon victims.

But that’s not enough. I’ve wanted something more sustainable and deep-rooted, and I realized that it would take more than annual gift-giving events and feeding programs for us to really commit to a long-term objective of giving back.

It starts now

This year we’re launching our official community service program called All Above The Line.

This is to embrace a continuing commitment to humanitarian efforts with particular emphasis on raising the less fortunate members of the community above that poverty line.

I want social responsibility to be embedded in Callbox’s DNA. If we want to take these efforts seriously, we need to make it part of how we operate as a business. And right now we’re taking small, baby steps towards injecting community service into our corporate core values.

Last December, Callbox spent two days out in the field giving out food packs to some 50 fire-displaced families of a small community near the Iloilo domestic port area, and also to some 150 underprivileged children from an old district near the coastal settlement just a few minutes south of the city.

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Callbox Davao, meanwhile, turned its attention to the streets.

Four pickup trucks circled around the city and gave out packed dinner meals to unsuspecting homeless and indigenous people particularly the Lumads, a tribe whose holiday custom is to come down from the mountains and roam around for food and money.

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I’m very proud of the fact that the Davao workforce of Callbox equally shares this passion for helping out as much as their Iloilo counterpart. They consistently go out there whenever they can to extend assistance not because of a mandate from their superiors — let alone from myself — but because they have the purest of intentions.

Our Operations Manager at Callbox, Ian Van Cubing, says it’s “a culture that has grown from within the company” and I couldn’t agree more.  “We’re a dense unit,” he says. “Each of us has always cultivated a deep concern towards our colleagues’ welfare, and naturally, that compassion resonates even outside the office premises.”

Going all-in on compassion

All Above The Line will amplify Callbox’s previous community service efforts into a much bigger scale, this time with more focus on the underprivileged.

Poverty, to me, has always been the most corrosive ailment of society. Whenever calamities or any other unfortunate incidents happen, these underprivileged people suffer twice as much compared to those with adequate means. That’s why the focus should be on the poverty-stricken more than anything else.

Making corporate social responsibility an “official” pledge will encourage not only Callbox employees but also the Iloilo community in general to take part in pursuits that help make Iloilo a better place.

We will be partnering with local and national organizations to strengthen our campaigns and come up with sustainable ways to provide aid. The program will bring about clearer and more specific action plans, encompassing an entirely higher level of dedication.

The opening months of 2015 will see the official launch of All Above The Line community service program with more details to be posted soon on the official Callbox website, www.callboxinc.com.

Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of some of the community service activities carried out by Callbox through the years: