Jeff Conder has been volunteering at Coburn Place for longer than a lot of the staff members have been around. He’s a general manager at Office Depot, where he’s been for six years and has been working in retail for 22 years. He lives in Brownsburg with his wife, Brooke, who is a kindergarten teacher. They keep busy with their two kids, Cassie and Ben. Jeff was born in Northwest Indiana but moved 17 times by the time he was 16. “I changed schools every year, and that was really tough,” he says. “It made me not only appreciate family more, but it helped develop me in how human interaction is such a special skill that so many people take for granted.”
“Jeff has been an outstanding volunteer and supporter of the Coburn Place children’s program,” says Teia Sherrell, Children’s Services coordinator. “He and Office Depot have hosted movie and trivia nights and sponsored seasonal camp activities such as Slime Time Science Fun and the Blue Blitz Breakfast. He’s supported our entire community with his amazing contributions to our Fall FunFest!” Erin Wuertz, community relations manager, agrees. “Jeff is a champion supporter who is always willing to step up and help survivors at Coburn Place,” she says. “Not only does Jeff get Office Depot involved, but he also gets his family and friends involved. His drive and commitment to the mission are incredible and we are so lucky to have him in the Coburn Place family!”
How long have you been working with Coburn Place?
I have been working with Coburn Place on and off for almost 17 years now. I started out volunteering when I worked at Best Buy and fell in love with giving back the first day I was there. I cleaned weeds and swept sidewalks, but I just felt a connection immediately for helping in any way I could. Unfortunately, I went through some family issues and didn’t volunteer for several years. When the opportunity arose shortly after I started with Office Depot, I couldn’t wait to come back. Office Depot was really looking for an organization to give back to and I organized our first general manager volunteer event, and the rest is history. Most of our Indy GMs absolutely enjoy our time there.
What is the favorite thing you have done here?
My favorite thing I’ve done with Coburn Place by far is anything involving the kids. The kids are amazing, and no matter if it has been the slime event we had, to last year’s FunFest! pumpkin patch, I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one. Teia and Erin have just been amazing to interact with and have come up with some cool ideas for us, and I hit the ground running with them as best I can!
What do you do in your free time?
Free time … what’s that? Honestly, I just love spending time with my family, and I love sports. You won’t meet a bigger Cubs and Bears fan than me! I also love grilling – I invested in a pellet grill last year, and it has really opened up my passion for cooking and trying new things.
Why do you think it’s important to support Coburn Place?
Supporting Coburn Place to me is about finding a way to make an impact on someone’s life that may not have been or isn’t as fortunate as I have been. The message of really being there from the minute a survivor steps foot in the door to the way you all support them getting on their feet – learning life skills, helping with schooling, job placement, you name it – is just amazing. For me to just be a small, small part of that makes me feel like a better person, and I appreciate you all letting me contribute.
Have you gotten over the disappointment of Team Thunder’s second-place finish for the Lemonade Stand fundraiser this year?
How do I answer that?! AHH … TEAM THUNDER WE HAD IT! I’m just a little competitive and finishing second in anything is a tough pill to swallow, but at the end of the day, I am so happy I again got to take part in so much fun and know the real winners were the kids! I can’t wait to be a bigger part next year!
“The only thing left to say about Jeff is summed up by a quote from a favorite movie of his, The Sandlot, that he showed during a movie night with the kids at Coburn Place,” says Teia. ‘’’You’re killing me, Smalls!’ He’s killing us with kindness.”