Archive for October, 2009

One by One Traveling Art Gallery in Japan

Friday, 30 October, 2009

The One by One Traveling Art Gallery is officially on the road!

These 28 drawings created by children who have been helped by Amway One by One programs around the world are an extension of the Amway World Headquarters display in Ada, MI. The art and special artists are just too good not to share. So, starting in September the art went on the road… and in a plane and across the ocean and well, it made quite an appearance when it landed at the Amway Japan Headquarters for a distributor event with 10,000 distributor attendees.

Check out the pictures from our colleague, Takashi Aoki in Tokyo, Japan.

Working with the School of Business, Leadership & Entrepreneurship

Monday, 26 October, 2009

Today we kicked off a new kind of community partnership with the School of Business, Leadership & Entrepreneurship (SBLE) at Ottawa Hills High School.

We’ve been working with the Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than 20 years, with volunteer programs focused on elementary students. Amway employees have tutored, been penpals, hosted Career Day and Job Shadow Days, and organized Field Day and Santa’s Secret Workshop events. Amway has also provided funding for school programs, like building playgrounds and furnishing libraries.

This partnership will tap the business acumen and vast experience of our employee base. Amway is a business of entrepreneurs, and what better way to connect high school students to the business world than by teaching about free enterprise and owning your own business. Doing this around the world gives us a unique perspective that high school students can really benefit from. And of course, we always get just as much benefit from the time we spend volunteering.

Our partnership is already in full swing! We have already started discussions with the school about upgrading facilities to create a learning environment that mirrors the business world. Last week, Ottawa Hills trained a group of Amway leaders to serve as mentor coaches for groups of students working on projects together. Amway and community leaders will also be regular speakers for SBLE classes and events. And of course, students will visit the vast Amway headquarters to see real-world examples of how their education will one day turn into practical experience. There are many other programs in the works.

Grand Rapids Public Schools hosted a kick-off ceremony and partnership agreement signing at Grand Valley State University this morning. The first class of 30 freshmen from the SBLE were there, along with about 50 eighth grade “recruits” from across the district who have shown an interest in business as a focus area for education.

Other distinguished guests were there and welcomed the students, including Dr. John Reifel, Associate Dean of the Business College at Grand Valley State University, Dr. Bernard Taylor, the Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, Rodney Lewis, Principal of Ottawa Hills High School, and Michael Pascoe, Dean of Students for the School of Business, Leadership  Entrepreneurship.

Our own Amway Chief Marketing Officer gave the keynote address to the students. She talked about her experience growing up poor in a family of 18 children, where education was of utmost importance. Despite the passing of her father when she was only 10, Candace and nearly all of her siblings attended college, and many now have advanced degrees. Candace was recently named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Corporate Executive of the Year, and she used that honor to show the students that they can accomplish whatever they want to, saying “It’s your attitude and your aptitude that determine your altitude.”

We can’t wait to see how this partnership evolves. We are honored to be working with a school with such a great vision and students who may one day be leading the Amway Corporation.

Hungarian Amway Distributors reach 50,000 kids!!

Sunday, 25 October, 2009

The Hungarian National Committee for UNICEF  asked for the help of Amway Distributors to organize the Global Hand Washing Day this year in Hungary.  And help they did!

Hungarian students joined the program this year for the first time. 250 primary schools participated, meaning the importance of hand washing was shared with more than fifty thousand kids and their parents!

Preschool teachers in Hungary give a lot of attention making sure that young children wash their hands thoroughly, but when kids go to school, they often become less enthusiastic on hand washing.   So this program is focused on children from ages 6-10.

The Hungarian National Committee for UNICEF had prepared a small program package for schools loaded with information and tips on different activities and competitions. School classes could use this package to design their participation in the program of Global Hand-washing Day.

In each school, Distributors represented UNICEF and Amway. They had a number of important tasks such as providing the soap that the children washed their hands with that day and delivered program packages to schools.  Amway Distributors also helped schools in organizing events, and participated as judges in a drawing competition.

And the Amway Distributor involvement didn’t stop there!!  They offered prizes to winners of school drawing competitions. Even better?  If the prize selected is a UNICEF toy from  UNICEF partner store, then the price of that toy goes to support another children somewhere in the world.

On October 8,  Amway Hungary organized a press conference at a Children Hospital with attendance of Edit Kecskemeti from Unicef, Peter Gardus and Dalma Torocsik from Amway and two doctors, a well known pediatrician and a laboratory leader.

On October 15 Amway Hungary celebrated the day at one of the schools in Budapest along side media.  Journalists and celebrities were invited to the school event.

Amway Hungary is eager to continue this program!

After the Wrath in the Philippines

Thursday, 22 October, 2009

September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy brought a month’s worth of rainfall to Metro Manila and nearby areas in just a few hours, causing severe flooding which resulted in the loss of many lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Proving that Amway is more than just a business, in the aftermath of typhoon Ondoy, more than 30 Amway Philippines employees and IBOs took a day out of their busy schedule to help clean-up Malanday Elementary School in Marikina City, working along with parents of children enrolled at the school.

Amway Philippines expresses a big “THANK YOU” for helping make Amway’s community cleanup drive definitely worth the effort:

Boss Ador – for leading meaningful activities

Bodjie, Jaymie, Cody  – for coordinating with the school and purchase of cleaning materials

Aileen and Meena  – for coordinating the participation of IBOs

Mitch – for ensuring that all volunteers were well fed

Perry/Tess P – for preparing and transporting of products

Jem/Tet – for product training

Chrysty (Perceptions) – for capturing the moments

Amway Philippines applauds the following clean up drive volunteers:

Meena Abeleda                                               Ma. Charisse Lopez (IBO)

Jaymie Anacta                                     Monalisa Argana (IBO)

Billy Aquino                                                     Fe Dela Cerna (IBO)

Lorraine Arrelano                                            Len Baylon (IBO)

Rina Bautista                                                   Julius Tindoc (IBO)

Jem Castro                                                      Rule Cole (IBO)

Jom Diaz                                                         Mary Jea Rona (IBO)

Aileen Gragera                                                Jimmy Miral (IBO)

Edmund Guinto

Francis Ignacio

Rex Lalata

Maries Malabrigo

Michelle Ochoa

Michelle Palayan

Perry Pelino

Tet Tagaro

Cody Tambis

Readyman’s Vicky and Vernie

Throwback to Summer … in China

Friday, 16 October, 2009

As the temperatures in Michigan drop and the skies turn gray, we can look back at summer on the other side of the world, and a camp held at some famous sites with famous people … and some pretty special children.

In July, Amway China sponsored a special summer camp experience in Beijing. This was part of Project Sunshine, Amway China’s One by One program that provides education and health services to children of migrant families.

The program, called “A Date in Capital, Together We Grow,” was a partnership between Amway China, the China Children and Teenagers’ Fund and the Children’s Channel of China Central Television.

The summer camp hosted 50 student representatives and 25 teachers from 25 beneficiary schools of Project Sunshine nationwide. The students became “Little Sunshine Reporters,” traveling around visiting important landmarks and interviewing celebrities. Their hosts were international students from the US, postgraduate students from Capital Normal University, and volunteers from Amway.

The children were hosted by special guest Qian Hong, Olympic swimming champion and former gold medalist. The day included visits to the Birds Nest (National Stadium) and Water Cube (National Aquatic Center). Ms Qian talked to the children about the great feats of Michael Phelps in the Water Cube, and encouraged them to learn from his perseverance and hard work.

The campers also visited the National Library and the Haidian Public Safety Museum, Peking University and Capital Museums where they had access to special cultural experiences. Then, every night, there was an “English Corner,” where the students practiced their language skills with a US student and shared their experiences from the day.

The campers met celebrities of a different sort in a behind-the-scenes tour of CCTV studios, and CCTV Tower. They met famous program hosts “Red Fruits” and “Green Bubbles” from the Children’s Channel, who they all know from television.

At an Amway-sponsored Junior NBA Challenge basketball game, the students watched a great game. Later, they had the opportunity to meet NBA star John Starks and exchange gifts with him.

After all the excitement of the four-day camp was over and the happy, tired children returned home, they were delighted to see their own faces in the news, covered by some of the same reporters they visited with that week.

Here are a few links to the news sites, and some pictures of the camp experience.

With Qian Hong at the Water Cube

Visitng the Birds Nest

Reading at the National Library

Interviewing at CCTV


Practicing language skills at the English Corner

Meeting Jon Starks at the Junior NBA game

Group photo

Amway volunteers with the students

Community Consciousness – Employees from Amway Europe

Monday, 12 October, 2009

From time to time we will be featuring employees from Amway Europe sharing in their own words why they support the European project “Brick by Brick”, designed to build preschools in a remote area of eastern Turkey.

The Van region of eastern Turkey is a picturesque area in a remote part of the country. Despite the grandeur, literacy rates are half those in the rest of the country and only 10% of children attend preschool due to lack of resources.

The Brick by Brick campaign will raise money to build new preschools in the area. This can have a significant impact on the future of children in Turkey. It gives them a solid foundation for continuing education and potentially a path out of poverty.

Amway Europe is striving to raise $450,000 this year, which is the cost of one preschool for 200 children. Additionally, the children will receive one hot meal per day at the preschool. For many of these kids it is the only chance to get a meal that day.

“Why do I support the European project:
Preschools for Turkey”

Early morning. Calm. Light breeze. Somewhere far away the first ray of sun makes it way through and gradually lights up boundless earth. Little flower awoke out of sleep on the large glade as if it spangled with diamonds of sparkling dew drops. Isn’t it beautiful! It needs this world so much, in which it just starts its life, and sky, sun, peace and love so important for it!

Look! But it is not alone – the whole glade is spangled with flowers! They are so different, so wonderful and unprotected. All of them like children in the whole word need love, understanding and help. Children are the flowers of the life. No matter where they live on planet – they must have always and everywhere equal opportunities for full development, growth and perfection. To make a good start in life is very important for little person.

Amway does not just improve life of children in different countries of the world but creates conditions to open the hearts of kind people to support and help children for their full-fledged start in life.

Why do I support “Preschools for Turkey” project? Because there is nothing more important in life than children, than to help children.

I’m proud that I work among thinking people, that my colleagues understand and support enormous and inestimable contribution of Amway to children, their dreams and future.

~Best regards, Yuliya Kozoriz, Amway Ukraine

Amway Korea's work in Bangladesh

Friday, 9 October, 2009

Our colleagues in South Korea put together a great One by One program this spring that included foreign aid, brilliant photography and even international diplomacy.

In April, Amway Korea organized an overseas volunteer program in Bangladesh. Amway Korea President Park Se Joon visited Dahka, Badahra, Mirpur and Ghatail in Bangladesh with employee volunteers and staff of Good Neighbors, a Korean nonprofit organization.

During the volunteer program, they visited Mirpur and Badahra elementary schools, offering educational programs to the students. They also donated class supplies and the first science lab to Ghatail High School. In the city of Ghatail, they went on to build 30 water pumps and toilet facilities for the residents.

They also wanted to take back their impressions of Bangladesh to the Korean people. So when they returned, they held a photo exhibition, called ‘Happiness from the Smiles’ at a gallery in Seoul over the summer.

Amway invited ambassadors from the Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani and Egyptian embassies, as well as Kim Nak-Jung, the Chairman of the Korea Press Photographers Association to the exhibition.

Below are a few pictures from the exhibition.

Help offered to Indonesia earthquake victims

Wednesday, 7 October, 2009

After our last posting about the earthquake in Indonesia, in the West Java area, there was another more severe earthquake near Sumatra.

As part of Amway's Disaster Response Plan, we’ve been working with our local Amway offices to monitor the situation and determine where and how Amway can help in relief and rebuilding efforts. Amway Indonesia is also making special considerations for the business concerns of local IBOs

Following is an excerpt from a note we received last night from Koen Verheyen, the General Manager of Amway Indonesia, with pictures below …

Our standard response for disaster relief is to focus on immediate emergency relief in the form of daily necessities such as food, water, clothes, shelter and hygiene. The funding for these emergency efforts come from fundraising through sms, emails to IBO leaders, donations from staff and PT Amway Indonesia. Under normal circumstances our capacity to raise funds is limited.

From experience we know that we cannot be involved in the rehabilitation of physical infrastructure due to our limited funds. It was only through the exceptional contribution of [Amway headquarters] that we could rebuild the two schools in Bantul (Central Java) destroyed by the 2006 quake.

For both Tasikmalaya and Padang, we sent a team of staff volunteers to coordinate efforts on the ground with IBO leaders in the struck area. In Tasikmalaya, our IBO lead coordinator was Diamond Harry Sampoerna, whilst in Padang our IBO lead coordinator was Executive Diamond Yenni Gunawan.

Our response team left for Padang on October 10 and consisted of three staff and one outside volunteer who has on the ground experience with disaster relief efforts. They had to fly to Pekanbaru since no flights were available to Padang. Our Amway Distribution Center (ADC) operator in Padang had already coordinated the purchase of all relief materials, such as tents, medicines and sandals, whilst we took products from the ADC inventory.

The ADC operator provided us with one of his trucks for the 12 hour journey to Padang. Our team has returned late last night and we will have a debriefing meeting with them today. Telecommunication to Padang is still very difficult and we have to rely more on IBOs communicating with us from Padang which seems to be easier.

Both in Tasikmalaya and Padang we focus our efforts towards IBOs, whilst not turning down others in need. We had only recently opened our Padang APC, serving as a pick-up center for orders delivered from Medan ADC. We also have an Executive Diamond in Padang.

Knowing we probably can't be involved in physical rehabilitation due to limited funds, we [planned to] focus on psychological rehabilitation. However, now that we have a financial commitment from headquarters, we may review our strategy.

Going further, we would like to focus our efforts on providing help with education and nutritional care to orphaned kids. For other help we will wait for the debriefing of the advance team today. A second team of volunteers is ready to go for follow up help.

All our APC staff are safe. Executive Diamond Yenni Gunawan and family are safe. News on other IBOs will be obtained this morning.

Attached are some pictures send by staff when they were on the ground in Padang. Thanks again for your generous support and best regards.

Art gives hope in West Michigan

Thursday, 1 October, 2009

It’s hard to be a blogger in West Michigan and not talk about ArtPrize. True to its objective, the event is changing the conversation on art. But it’s not only happening with the connoisseurs of fine art. Kids are getting engaged too.

A little background on ArtPrize first. It’s an event that was launched as a vision of Rick DeVos, grandson of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos. It’s a contest open to artists around the world that offers ten cash prizes totaling nearly $500,000. Anyone who registers can vote online or by texting.

This event has brought more than 1,200 pieces of art in Grand Rapids, from simple paintings to performance art, from three-story sculptures to symphonic composures. There are 159 venues around town hosting the art, that has come from around the world. Tens of thousands of people have roamed the downtown area in the last week, checking out all the different pieces.

I brought my kids down to see it last week, and it was amazing. They were fascinated by a gigantic table and chairs on top of a bridge. They danced in front of a mosaic of mirror shards by the Children’s Museum. They looked deeply into paintings to interpret their meaning. Then they went home and did some cutting and coloring of their own.

Classrooms are taking field trips and doing art tours. Nonprofit organizations are exposing children to world-class art. Discussions are popping up around town about what is good art and which pieces make you feel good.

The event has been a shining light in an otherwise dark and cloudy environment. Just this week, the State of Michigan announced this week that it will cut funding to the arts by 71%. It’s a difficult economic environment for arts organizations when unemployment is high and basic needs are soaring. But I talked to the heads of several arts organizations yesterday, and they were in high spirits.

The best interpretation of the impact of art came from the Economic Club of all places. This week, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids hosted Bill Strickland, founder of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a center that works with at-risk youth and adults by teaching them artistic trades. The center was replicated in Grand Rapids several years ago as the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, a major ArtPrize venue this week.

Mr. Strickland was an at-risk youth himself, and found hope and inspiration through pottery and a special art teacher in high school. He said that art gives people hope, through creative expression. It allows the sun to shine on them and interpret the world around them. And when people have hope, everything else is possible.

It’s cloudy today, but the sun shines on art, creativity and hope in West Michigan.