Read to a child program
For too many children growing up in shelters, a birthday is not a big deal. No cake. No candles. No presents. For others, it’s rare to have someone read them a children’s story, which so many other kids take for granted. Meeting planners can help change that all over the country in partnership with organizations like The City of Phoenix Salvation Army.
Little giggles and wide grins will be worth every moment and it won’t be limited to the faces of the little ones. Your meeting delegates will get a thrill bringing joy to children whose families are caught up in the downturn or worse. Here’s where you and your meeting attendees can be the hero.
The Salvation Army, their shelter staff and volunteers can help you organize a drive to collect small gifts, goodie bags, funds for a cake, maybe even a few decorations. They will also help you prepare games or fun activities to celebrate the birthdays that month for the kids in the family shelter. Whether you decorate cookies, play board games, sing songs or tell stories, it will mean the world to a child who feels lost or alone. Your commitment, your company’s support and a couple hours scheduled into a program will help make a young boy or girl feel special.
Groups of 20-25 can create a birthday celebration or game day with arts and crafts, indoor games and outdoor too, like basketball. With notice you can bring your attendees any day of the week.
The City of Phoenix Salvation Army has a new shelter, warehouse and four community centers. Astonishingly, in 2012 they assisted 20,586 people in four main programs. The new shelter houses and nourishes up to 23 large families at a time, staying up to 120 days to escape the streets or a violent home. Last year they sheltered 1,299 community members, mostly children. With 10-15 delegates, groups can arrange to participate in their “Read to Me” after-school program.
Large groups can help in many ways. Energetic delegates will love swinging a hammer and seeing what they create in a few hours, working in teams. Onsite at your venue or their warehouse, The Salvation Army volunteers will supervise building clothing racks, bins or other necessities.
There’s always plenty to do at the warehouse: assembling goodie bags, hygiene kits and USDA food boxes. Just ask Director of Volunteers, Danielle Shankle, what they need most and she’ll plug you into an activity that can fit your meeting objective.
Who can resist the delight and excitement shining in the eyes and smiles of youngsters enjoying just being kids? Whether your group leaves behind a coat rack to last years, or a lifelong memory in the heart of a young child, whether you aim to get your group bonding as teams or making a difference in the lives of a precious few, your delegates will leave with powerful memories etched in their minds and hearts – and associated with your event.
Phoenix staff member Mary Alice McKone shared some thoughts from one mother who spent time in the shelter with her family. Following a visiting group’s visit, she wrote: “Thanks for the smiles and support you provided during our stay. We don’t have the means to repay what you’ve done for us.”
A memorable CSR experience may not be what brings your group to Phoenix, but it may be what brings them back.