#GivingTuesday: Meet Mary Scott Thorne

December 1, 2015

In conjunction with #GivingTuesday and International Volunteer Day, we’re celebrating our employees who give back to their communities through volunteerism. #GivingTuesday, initially recognized in the United States on the first Tuesday in December, has become a global movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy throughout the year. International Volunteer Day, recognized on December 5, was established by the United Nations to recognize the work and the profound impact achieved by volunteers and volunteerism.

Mary Scott Thorne – Nashville, TN

For Mary Scott Thorne, losing a game of Monopoly to a 9-year-old is just another Monday night … but for that 9-year-old, the game is pretty significant. During the two hours it took to play, this particular child was just another 9-year-old at the center of attention, with few cares in the world. In reality, he’s sick and experiencing an extended stay at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. Coping with the gravity of his situation and all that comes with an illness is a lot for anyone, let alone a child. That’s exactly why Mary Scott has volunteered once a week after work at the Children’s Hospital for the last six years – she hopes to make a small difference in the lives of the children she meets.

Volunteering is Mary Scott’s way of paying it forward for the good fortune she’s grateful to have experienced throughout her life. She and her husband are parents to a 3-year-old son, which she says helps her empathize with the parents of the sick children she meets. In addition to rocking and comforting newborns and playing with kids, she spends time talking with the parents, many of whom are struggling with their child’s illness.

When asked why she volunteers, Mary Scott will tell you, “I don’t feel like I can change the world, but I can make small changes that hopefully better the lives of others … two hours a week is pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.”

Mary Scott, a senior credit analyst for Financial Products (Cat Financial), is also an active board of directors’ member for Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee, an organization that provides in-home nursing visits to promote healthcare, education and positive parenting skills for at-risk families. She credits her involvement in the community in part due to the support she receives from Caterpillar and her Financial Products leadership.

“Many of our leaders are involved in the community and encouraging of others to give back in some way. I feel completely supported when it comes to taking a little bit of time away from work to give back to the community ... be it a morning board meeting or work on our United Way campaign,” said Mary Scott.   

Mary Scott admits volunteering at the Children’s Hospital isn’t always fun and games though.

“There are some pretty dark moments, but they normally happen after I get home and reflect. Ninety-nine percent of my time at the hospital is happy … I feel like I’ve made a connection. But, there are nights when I have to work to create a positive experience for that child. Not every child is ready to let you in, but when you stick with it, it’s all worth it.” 

Want to get involved?

To find volunteer opportunities in your community, visit VolunteerMatch in the United States, and Idealist.Org outside the United States.

The #GivingTuesday Series: Celebrating Volunteerism at Caterpillar

In conjunction with #GivingTuesday and International Volunteer Day, we’re celebrating our employees who give back to their communities through volunteerism.

Learn More

Caterpillar Foundation

Together we are stronger. The Caterpillar Foundation’s mission is to alleviate poverty and place people on the path to prosperity.

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