Saturday, September 25, 2010

Make A Difference Day - October 23, 2010

This year mark's the 20th anniversary of the 1,000 Points of Light program and October 23, 2010 is the national community service day that encourages neighbors helping neighbors through volunteerism. While Volunteers have a special week of recognition in April, honestly speaking can we really do enough to express our gratitude to those who take their time and talents and invest those into their communities? Unlike the national events to recognize our volunteers, Make A Difference Day is about doing something on that day to help out and is sponsored by several organizations and the HandsOn Network.

As I have mentioned before, I work for Bluegreen Corporation, headquartered out of Boca Raton, Florida. Bluegreen has a long history of both charitable giving and volunteerism. Award winning philanthropy in some cases. Bluegreen and its associates have been recognized for helping out by such organizations as ARDA, the American Red Cross and the Soroptimists. Much of the impetus for all of this, in my mind, goes to Christel DeHaan, an industry leader who opened and operates a charitable organization focused on child development called Christel House. Early in the Bluegreen and Christel House relationship, Christel DeHaan provided a video so that Bluegreen could share the mission of Christel House with all of the associates. Group after group of associates filed in and out of the board room and heard Christel's compelling argument for volunteerism and charitable giving: "We have a duty, and an obligation, to leave this world a better place than when we found it."

This year the philanthropic stories from Bluegreen are extending with such velocity that it is difficult to report them all! One of the most exciting recent charitable sponsorships involves Bluegreen's participation in Junior Achievement of South Florida's JA World's BizTown, where Broward County fifth-graders get a one day experience of civic and business life. Bluegreen has taken a lead in the hospitality industry by providing a complete experience for the students of one segment of the vacation and hospitality industry. If you are local to South Florida, I can't begin to tell you how strongly I recommend that you visit BizTown! From an educational standpoint this is the type of active learning that John Dewey dreamed of and that few educators have been able to pull off!

This week our Charitable Giving Committee was presented with the collateral materials for Bluegreen's participation in its sponsorship of JA World and I was overwhelmed with the creativity and collaboration behind our efforts! Our Creative Group has so much talent. If you allow me a moment of critical reflection, I just want to think about how you could possible go wrong when you invest your human capital in community good works and goodwill? I hope that you have this experience of connectedness and warm-hearted appreciation of your co-workers where you are employed.

Make A Difference Day, although celebrated nationally on the fourth Saturday of October, is really an authentic daily commitment for many Bluegreen associates. Personally, this adds to the important and worthwhile work we already perform. If you have similar experiences, please leave your comments as we begin to ramp up for Make A Difference Day. Thanks.