Since 2016, Michael Pulvino has impacted our organization in various capacities such as mentoring boys, renovating our after-school program facility, and generously giving support to our fundraising efforts. With his calm, positive demeanor, and passion for serving kids - Making It Better is fortunate to work alongside volunteers like Michael to help transform lives through literacy. Recently we sat down with Michael to ask him a few questions of how and why he got involved at Making It Better. When did you begin your involvement with Making It Better? 2016 How did you get involved? As part of our e2 initiative, Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies chose to partner with Making It Better through annual financial contributions, and supporting employees that would like to donate their time to the organization. Jacque was invited to introduce Making It Better to all of our Houston based employees, where she educated us on all the volunteering opportunities within the organization. Jacque did a fantastic job educating us on the literacy needs of our local underserved communities, and Lunch Bunch seemed like a way that I could help. What are your thoughts on being able to work for a company that encourages getting involved in the community? When your employer’s core values align with your own, it instills a sense of pride and loyalty. Affecting a positive change on the people within our communities is at the heart of all Freudenberg companies. I believe it is important to serve others, and Freudenberg’s support of MIB helps give me the opportunity to do just that. What is the most rewarding thing about being involved in the Making It Better Lunch Bunch program? Developing a relationship of trust with the children that is earned over time. Some of the kids come from challenging circumstances, and it’s not easy for them to open up. However, once we established a relationship of trust, they started to listen, and it has been very rewarding to watch them grow. How has Making It Better impacted your life? My experiences through MIB have impacted me in many ways. No matter how challenging a week has been, when I leave our Lunch Bunch session, I leave feeling re-energized and with a sense of fulfilment that is hard to describe. It’s made me more aware of the daily challenges that some of our youth face, and the significance that a positive role model can have. It has also made me more conscious of the conversations I have at home with my own children. Do you and/or your wife read to your children? If so, what is/are their favorite book/s? We read every day with our children, and it has become part of our nightly routine. Our daughter is five and loves to read. She mostly likes books that are a little funny or silly, and we trade off reading every couple pages. Our son is two and mostly likes character books. Paw Patrol is his latest favorite. In your own words, why is literacy so important? Being illiterate means closing yourself off to the vast majority of this world’s opportunities. Literacy is required for someone to achieve their full potential and is key in reducing societal dependency. What do you do like to do in your spare time? Spending time with family and friends mostly. I enjoy golf, water sports, fishing, hunting, and cooking. What are your hopes for the future of Making It Better as an organization? The success of Making It Better is measured by the number of lives that it improves. I hope to see it grow and reach as many at-risk children as possible. Why would you recommend that others get involved with Making It Better? Success is nearly unattainable when someone is illiterate. A person who is illiterate is much more likely to become imprisoned, raise broken families, or become dependent on society. Making It Better directly impacts the lives of our underserved youth, and helps to ensure that those at-risk children grow up to have happy, fulfilling lives. Being part of this effort has been a humbling and rewarding experience.