Venti Questions: James Contreras

As a syndicate for philanthropic entrepreneurs, movers, shakers & changemakers, Volatile continues “Venti Questions” to highlight those in the community that are making waves & getting work done. James Contreras, Jetty Team Rider & Human Resource Manager at Wegman’s Ocean Township, graciously accepted our invitation to share his version of philanthropy.

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1. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Loving and promoting the welfare of others over yourself.

2. What inspired you to make a difference?
I know how lucky I am to have what I have, and to be who I am, so I am thankful enough to give back to others.

3. Do you feel a personal responsibility to help others?
Yes, always have.

4. What is the source of your passion?
My parents. They gave me so much growing up, I always just want them to be proud.

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5. What impact would you like to make in the community?
More than what I’m doing now. Whether it’s beach protection, or community giving, getting others involved and watching it trickle is contagious.

6. How long have you been doing this?
Giving back? Started in Point Pleasant Borough High School’s Key Club, haven’t stopped.

7. Is there/what is the ripple effect?
You see others make a difference. It motivates you to do the same.

8. What are your goals and values?
To become involved in something bigger, something I believe in and am proud to represent, not just a “job.”

9. How do your goals and values reflect what you are doing to give back and make a difference?
Outside of “work:” taking the time when I can, and doing something about it.

10. What exactly is your end goal and how do you plan on accomplishing this?
I want to move into a position and live more “simply.”  I’ve already started taking financial steps towards it, which is the first step. One day at a time…

11. If someone would like to contribute a donation or lend a hand in this process, how can they do so?
It’s all about building relationships with people. Introductions can mean the world without even realizing it. I’ve already met so many people that a simple small conversation has led to bigger things on the horizon.

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12. Are you involved in any community partnerships or collaborations?
For those who know me I tend to always find myself acting as a volunteer at any event around. At work we partner pretty directly with the United Way, and the Foodbank of Ocean/Monmouth County. Also, I have been involved with volunteering for David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation. I would love to be more involved in that.

See James’ Shave the Date Ambassador Page & make a pledge to benefit DDBCF!

13. How do your collaborations coincide with your end goal?
All part of giving back. Being bigger than yourself.

14. Why do you believe what you’re doing is unique, in comparison to anyone else?
I don’t feel like it is. I wish I could be more involved….

15. Do you have any advice for those who want to get involved?
Do it. What’s stopping you? Even a little bit can go a long way.

16. How do you encourage volunteerism?
By building relationships. Take the time to get to know someone, and you can change their world, even from a simple conversation.

17. How do you think we can motivate our youth to get involved?
Give them the opportunity to. Even if it’s something small to start with. Get one influential person to show a group what making a difference can look like, and others will follow.

18. What would you like to pass on to future generations?
Just be kind and mindful to others.  It’s a choice, why not make the right one.

19. What inspires you to keep paying it forward?
Believe it or not…. Watching others do the same thing.

20. Is there a specific uplifting quote that best exemplifies what you stand for?
“If you can be anyone in the world…. Be yourself.”

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