Archive for 2009

Hong Kong distributors mentoring at-risk children

Monday, 28 December, 2009

In the Amway world, things are so global that it’s hard to get your arms around all of the great programs happening on the ground, especially in some of our smaller markets.

I was fortunate to have a chance to meet with my colleagues from Hong Kong during a quick overseas trip last week. Besides filling them in on the new global initiatives taking place with One by One, I was updated on an amazing program they developed over the last couple of years with distributors in Hong Kong.

It’s called the “Amway Smiley Children” programme, and it focuses on “children and adolescents from families who suffer from emotional stress, low resilience to adversity and even anxiety or depression.” These children are from economically disadvantaged homes, and are referred to the program by schools and medical institutions. They need extra care and attention to become successful, and what better mentor than a successful Amway distributor.

Through a partnership with the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong (not affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America), distributors are matched up with children to provide mentoring and friendship to those who are identified as most at-risk.

In addition to meeting with the children once per month, they can connect over phone and email. Sometimes it’s offering simple advice like how to ride the metro train or how to study for a difficult math test. Other times it involves more personal motivation, like how to maintain a positive attitude and dream for the future.

Amway also sponsors “Fun Fairs” where mentors and mentees come together for a day of games and activities in the outdoors. They see magic shows, rock climbing and ropes courses among other activities.

Already, the government and the NGO world have recognized the unique work of Amway and its distributors, who have donated more than 1,700 volunteer hours towards the Amway Smiley Children programme. Amway recently received the Gold Award for Volunteer Service by the Social Welfare Department. We have also received the Caring Company Award from the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for five straight years.

From the short time I spent in Hong Kong, I could tell it was a culture of big business, hard working people and a competitive job market. The pressures on young children to succeed must be very tough. The help of a caring adult mentor who has experience, empathy and dedication, can be just the thing that some of these children need to ensure their futures are bright, and full of endless opportunities.

Check out One by One on NBC this week!

Tuesday, 22 December, 2009

Amway Global will air two One by One 60-second episodes this Friday as part of a sponsorship of an ice skating competition called “Improv-Ice on NBC.” We are SO excited to show the world what is happening with One by One!

If you can’t catch it the first time, it will be rebroadcast and you download for free online. Here are the detailsfrom the press release:

ADA, Mich., Dec. 21 — Amway Global and Disson Skating are mixing things up this Christmas with a unique entertainment opportunity to air on NBC. Amway Global Improv-Ice is a special competition that adds a twist to standard figure skating. Improv-Ice will challenge figure skating superstars by having them skate on the fly to music they have not yet heard. It’s all about the improvisation, and with that will come great entertainment for viewers to enjoy as they relax on Christmas day.

The Amway Global Improv-Ice nationally televised special will air on Christmas Day from 3 to 5 p.m. ET on NBC and will be hosted by figure skating greats Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano. The Goo Goo Dolls will appear as musical guest entertainers, and Olympic and World Champion figure skaters such as Nancy Kerrigan, Kurt Browning and Sasha Cohen will take on the challenge of improvisational skating. To help promote the show, Michael Weiss will appear on NBC’s Today Show and Kurt Browning will participate in a satellite radio tour, both on Christmas morning.

“This is such an innovative show for us to sponsor,” said Jori Hartwig, Vice President of Marketing for Amway Global. “We love that Improv-Ice gives its viewers the power to choose the winning skater. Amway Global is all about empowering individuals, and we can’t wait to see who the viewers choose as the best improv skater!”

Those viewing Improv-Ice during its NBC broadcast will have the opportunity to vote for the skater improvising the best by visiting Voting will end at midnight on December 27, and the winning skater will be revealed on New Year’s Day during Brian Boitano’s Skating Spectacular on NBC.

As presenting sponsor of Improv-Ice, Amway Global will air advertisements during Improv-Ice, as well as two, 60-second episodes discussing the AMWAY ONE BY ONE CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN®. ONE BY ONE is focused on improving the well-being of children around the world and since 2003 has donated more than $70 million to children’s causes.

Amway Global Improv-Ice will rebroadcast twice on the Hallmark Channel in the United States and multiple times on the Comcast SportsNet channel sometime after NBC’s Christmas Day airing. The show will also be available for free download on from December 26, 2009, until approximately June 30, 2010.

South Africa – Humbled and Blessed

Monday, 21 December, 2009

Following is a moving story from our South Africa corporate citizenship colleague Suna Snyman.  Suna was inspired to share her personal reflections upon return from a recent Operation Smile mission – -

Suna’s story
Much Afraid in Tana
Operation Smile Mission
Antananarivo Oct|Nov 2009

Amongst the necessities that we all need to make it through the journey of life, and sometimes, simply through the night, my maternal grandmother had a blue hard cover book on her bedside table along with a glass of water, her reading glasses, her teeth and a couple of crumpled up tissues. The book was the first edition (circa 1944) of Hannah Hurnard’s Hind’s Feet on High Places. It is an allegory dramatising the journey each of us take to find some peace and make some sense out of this crazy world.

In this classic tale, Much Afraid sets out on a journey with two companions, Sorrow and Suffering. On their way they flee from their dreadful relatives, the Fearings, run into a cast of unsavoury characters; Dr Pride, Miss Bitterness and imagine having Mrs Self-Pity (oh no! not another female with a double barrel surname) as a mother-in-law!

Nearly a century on, and Much Afraid and her companions are still alive and well! The journey might look different and it is certainly called by many other names. Corporate Social Responsibility, nonprofit organizations and lending a helping hand. Apt slogans underwrite who is sponsoring who and good old-fashioned charity doesn’t make the grade any longer. Names should be catchy and cute, at least call it a playful charity challenge and not just knitting by the knee-dy.

So, here we are, nearly at the end of the first decade of the 21st century and lending a helping hand is the latest global trend. It’s the new consciousness and all that, you see, darling. Be it a bit late, we are now in a place where we are giving back. Helping one by one and creating smiles across the globe. Most of it carefully created corporate mambo jumbo to disguise WIIFM (what is in it for me)? But in spite of all the catchy names, the sponsorships, the websites, the banners, the videos, the vuvuzelas and the bells and whistles, the journey, in essence, has not changed. It is still about transforming our human nature into something more tolerable. Something that we can live with. Memories that could sustain us when, as Much Afraid did, we need to travel through the Forest of Danger and Tribulation. Joining each Operation Smile Mission, Much Afraid and her companions board the jet and the first encounter on the journey is usually with Pride and his army!

When do we start realizing that it is us that are changing with each operation counted and documented? With each Operation Smile Mission, just like with Much Afraid, we are the ones that are transformed. We are the ones who return home with thankful hearts and new smiles. It is us that have been humbled and blessed.

It was after a harrowing journey that Much Afraid transformed into Grace and Glory: and her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering, changed into Peace and Joy. And it is after each mission that our faith in humanity is restored; our hopes and dreams for the future renewed and rekindled. It is after each mission that we are able to make sense out of a world that is changing so fast it makes your head hurt. We are the one’s that could be documented and tallied … Us few, us lucky few.

PS: Hind’s Feet on High Places has been republished in paperback by
Tyndale House. ISBN 978-0-8423-1429-9.

See our donation announced on the Today Show

Friday, 18 December, 2009

This morning we will announce a $1 million donation in product to the Today Show Toy Drive. Steve Lieberman, Vice President of Amway Global and Managing Director of our North American business, will appear on the Today Show at 10:55 a.m.

In addition, for everyone who signs up as a fan on the new Amway Global Facebook page, we will donate more products, up to $100,000. Most of the donations are for teenage girls, who are often overlooked during the holidays.

You can participate through Facebook. Here's the link:

This toy drive is a great cause that we join other direct selling companies in supporting. Don't forget to catch the Today Show this morning and check us out on Facebook!

Santa's Secret Workshop Brings Joy

Thursday, 17 December, 2009

Here is a story that ran in the Grand Rapids Press on a program that Amway has been supporting for years. Enjoy!

By Kym
Reinstadler | The Grand Rapids Press

December 15, 2009, 2:27PM

GR1215Santas Secret.jpg

Campau Park Elementary student Briya Malone, 10, wraps gifts she
purchased at “Santa’s Secret Workshop,” Tuesday at the school. Amway’s One by
One Campaign for Children and Urban Family Ministries of Grand Rapids put on the
event, allowing children to buy for their families. Briya wrapped gifts for her
mom, dad, sisters, grandmas, and even her dog.

– Anthony Mabins had $12 to buy gifts for all eight family members on his
Christmas list, but the fifth-grader wasn’t sweating a tight budget.

That’s because he was shopping Tuesday at Santa’s Secret Workshop, a store
that takes over the libraries for two days each December at Campau Park
Elementary School and Southeast Academic Center.

“This is my favorite store,” said Anthony, 11, who attends Campau Park. “They
have the things that make a celebration and make your family happy.”

A selection of gift items are offered at bargain prices through the workshop,
a program of Amway’s One by One Campaign for Children, and Urban Family
Ministries of Grand Rapids.

Anthony chose bubble bath and hand lotion for his mom, a tape measure and
tool kit for his dad, earrings for his grandmother, manly smelling body wash for
his grandfather, pompons for his 10-year-old adopted sister, stocking caps for
his little sisters, and a gliding toy airplane for his cousin.

With a free “Santa Buck” coupon, he chose a $1 toy for his classroom gift

Even students who don’t have money to spend get a votive candle, candy and
coloring book from Amway volunteers to “regift” as they will.

Students shop wearing a lanyard with the word “consumer” to reinforce a
Junior Achievement lesson that buying things is a thread in a tapestry which is
the economy,

“Our people say it’s wonderful seeing young, urban children experience the
joy of giving to someone else,” said Dawnlynn Suttorp, Amway’s volunteer
coordinator. “For some, it may be the first time they’ve chosen a gift for a
friend, a classmate, and it’s a thrill.”

Suttorp and Campau Park Project Coordinator Anne Hoyt scout bargains all year
to stock Santa’s Secret Workshop, one of the most popular volunteer projects
among Amway employees.

Fifty-one percent of the 3,800 employees at Amway’s Ada Township facility
documented 17,160 hours of community service last year, Suttorp said.

Campau Park Principal Cynthia Jones said the school’s 282 students eagerly
anticipate their time to Christmas shop at school. This may be the only
opportunity a young child has to get a surprise gift for a parent.

But Anthony said he doubts he’ll be able to keep the presents he bought and
gift-wrapped at school on Tuesday a secret from his family until Christmas.

“They know this is the day, and they’re going to beg me to let them open
their presents,” Anthony said. “Until I do, they’re going to be annoying me like
a tick on fur.”

India – Hope for 59 orphans

Monday, 14 December, 2009

We’re glad to share more good news on Amway India activities as they expand their 50th Anniversary program “Project Sunrise” which is now bringing cheers to the children of Kohima Orphanage.

Focused on providing a lasting impact on the children of Kohima Orphanage,  Amway will sponsor annual educational sponsorship for all 59 children in the orphanage by supplying all the necessities to make their education possible including – - transportation cost to school, text books, pens, pencils and school kits.

Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF), a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Amway India Enterprises Limited this project as part of its commitment to the holistic growth and development of children in India.

Founded by Zaputo-u Angami in 1973, the Kohima Orphanage aims at securing a better life for the children and helping them become self reliant through its work on education, vocational education, health and rehabilitation.

Amway Day at KFB

Thursday, 10 December, 2009

Here’s a post from guest blogger Bridget Clark-Whitney, the Executive Director of Kids’ Food Basket and some pictures from our Amway volunteer day:

Kids’ Food Basket (KFB) and the 2,080 children of Kent County who receive a sack supper each weeknight are so thankful to Amway for helping KFB grow in several ways.

We were thrilled and humbled when Kids’ Food Basket was designated as the recipient of one of 25 specialized grants (this one for $100,000 disbursed over three years) given around the world in honor of the Amway 50th anniversary.  This grant has allowed KFB to feed several hundred more children in the Grand Rapids community, which is also the home of Amway.

KFB can add three new grade schools and six new summer sites during the next three years of the grant cycle. These children will have a healthy evening meal they can count on each weekday because of support from Amway.  A sack supper consists of 1,000 calories and five food groups, which are so vital to the physical, mental and emotional growth of children.  The kids served by KFB leave school each day with a meal, the comfort of knowing lunch was not their last meal of the day, and their dignity.

Kids’ Food Basket is incredibly grateful for the time Amway and its employees give to feed children in our community.  We would not be able to serve this many more children in our current space if not for the expertise of Amway staff helping KFB become Lean. Christopher Wilson, Amway operational excellence deployment champion/director, and his team have been SO instrumental in improving our processes to gain more from existing resources.

The Operational Excellence team undertook a Kaizen day (term for “continuous improvement”) to train us on streamlining our methods. Our challenges were heard and new systems created with KFB staff and volunteer input. “The time savings obtained with the new process was astounding. The original process required 41 seconds per meal, which means assemblers were able to package 88 meals per hour. Reducing the time to 4.5 seconds per meal meant that 800 meals could be packed every hour—a ten-fold improvement over the old assembly process! Not only did this mean a time savings for volunteers, but it also meant that KFB could potentially serve many more children without having to move into a larger space or requiring additional volunteers,” said Wilson. He thinks “the most spectacular outcome of the lean work we did is not just the incredible increase in throughput, but that by doing this, along with other lean improvements, KFB is able to stay where they are. Now not only can they operate in the space they have, they can also seriously consider increasing the number of sack suppers they produce, depending on food donations of course.”  KFB agrees and is ever appreciative of the thought, training and time invested by Amway in this project.

Thanks to the efficiencies that this project team from Amway created for KFB, we will have the ability to grow our critical services by 30 percent this fiscal year.  Because of the efforts of Amway, hundreds more children in Kent County won’t eat lunch as their last meal of the day.

Also a VERY important part of our partnership with the Amway community are the awesome volunteers Amway continues to provide by sending a group of volunteers to our site weekly to pack and deliver sack suppers.  Different departments and groups also take time at their headquarters to gather ingredients for and put together trail mix, a very healthy and popular part of KFB’s sack dinners.  Several departments have helped with KFB’s continued need for 100% juice boxes by facilitating juice box drives and collecting thousands of juice boxes, another essential part of the sack dinner.

Often teachers of the children that we serve will express the sheer delight they see when the bags, or sacks, of the sack dinners are decorated.  We frequently hear that the first thing kids do when they get their meal is look to see whether or not it’s decorated.  Thanks to hundreds of Amway employees who have decorated bags for KFB for over four years, thousands of food insecure children have taken home brightly decorated evening meals.  Simple gestures that make such a huge difference! Thank you!

Last year, Amway even helped place one if its seasoned executives, Jay Ertl, on the KFB board of directors, which gives a practiced voice to our leadership.  Jay’s been an outstanding addition to the governing body of KFB and we are delighted to have he and Amway so engaged in KFB’s mission.

Support from Amway has been tremendously instrumental in KFB’s ability to efficiently and effectively serve more food insecure children in Grand Rapids and we are extremely grateful for our special partnership.

We are honored to receive this support from Amway, an awesome company and a treasure in our community!  On behalf of the KFB staff, we thank you a million times over for being rock stars in the fight against childhood hunger!!!

Going the extra mile at Achievers and NPC

Wednesday, 2 December, 2009

Katie Blough, public relations specialist for Amway Global, sent us the following post live from Achievers and the New Platinum Conference in Orlando!

From time to time, I receive phone calls from IBOs (Independent Business Owners) inquiring about volunteer opportunities and how they can give back to their community. Normally, I pass the information along, thank them for calling, and continue with my day.

That is, until I received a phone call from a woman asking about volunteer opportunities at Achievers. Let me get this straight. An IBO wanted to volunteer during her reward trip? I was surprised, but that just goes to show what incredible IBOs we have. If a volunteer opportunity is what the IBOs wanted, then it was my job to figure out how to make that happen. And with some help from our Corporate Citizenship team, we came up with a volunteer opportunity for IBOs to partake in on Welcome Day.

Stuff a bag – help a child

Amway Global partners with a number of different organizations to improve the well-being of children and offer them the resources they need to live, achieve, learn, and of course, play! This week, we’re partnering with Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida to give IBOs and their families the opportunity to warm a child’s holiday season. We are packing gift bags for children aged 6-10, full of school supplies and other goodies and personalizing each bag with a hand written note. When the week is done, our goal is to have 2,500 gifts packed.

Search for the missing camera

The stack of completed gifts has given everyone who walks in the room a warm, fuzzy feeling – well, except for one gentleman. About three hours into the first day we had approximately 300 gifts packed when an IBO walked in the room and told us, “I lost my camera. I think it’s in one of the bags.” Sure enough, after searching through each bag, he found his camera!

Happy holidays

After two days, 1,400 bags have already been packed, and we still have one more day to go. Thanks to the help of our amazing IBOs and a number of staff from Boys & Girls Clubs, we’re confident we will reach our goal and are so very thankful for all of those who are helping to make it happen.

Commitment to the Environment

Monday, 30 November, 2009

Since 2002, Amway Japan has been promoting the spirit of environmental stewardship towards an improved quality of life for this and future generations.

For 2009, Amway Japan held coastal-area cleanup activities at 22 different sites.  The cleanup activities also include environmental education and refuse-content analysis all aimed at increasing awareness of the problem of refuse in the coastal areas.  The personal commitment to stewardship? A total 5000 Amway Japan employees and distributors volunteered for this activity so far this year! Amazing!

Even better, since 2002, Amway Japan has held cleanup activities at 133 sites with 44,083 employee and distributor volunteers.  Thanks for caring!

The season for action

Wednesday, 25 November, 2009

This holiday week kicks off an uptick in volunteering that lasts through Christmas. It is amazing how the holidays trigger generosity in people, not only for their families but for those in need.

We've learned to be ready to respond to requests from departments and employees looking for some way to connect. There is a lot of willingness, but people often don't know what to do.

Over the years, we have created a "menu" of volunteer and giving opportunities in our local community. I'm attaching it not as a recruitment for the blog readers, but to stimulate your ideas on the kinds of projects that might be happening in your local community.

Please share what kinds of things YOU are doing. Amway employees participate in …


Campau Park Santa’s Secret Workshop
Witness the joy of giving by helping hundreds of smiling students at Campau Park Elementary shop and wrap gifts for their families. Join staff, students and fellow employees for this rewarding holiday experience.

Kids Food Basket
Help provide take home meals to hungry school children in the Greater Grand Rapids Area by volunteering to package meals and deliver them to local schools for the holiday break.

Salvation Army Christmas Toy Giveaway
Be one of Santa’s helpers at the Salvation Army Toy Shop. Volunteers sort toys, arrange the store and participate in a massive toy giveaway. Individuals are also needed to distribute food certificates to those who have signed up to receive holiday assistance.

Southeast Academic Center Santa’s Secret Workshop
Witness the joy of giving by helping 100+ smiling students at Southeast Academic Center shop and wrap gifts for their families. Join staff, students and fellow employees for this rewarding holiday experience.

St. John’s Home
Make the season a little bit brighter for homes of 8-10 children from St. John’s. Each home provides residential therapy and shelter for children and teens.

Special Olympics
Support Special Olympics during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season by volunteering to help with gift wrapping at Breton Village Shopping Center.

United Way Adopt-A-Family
Many departments find the best way to infuse a little holiday spirit into the office is by adopting a family in need. Agencies will match departments with a family that has a list of needs for food, clothing and personal items. See first hand what a big difference a little generosity can make – especially when your whole team works together.