Archive for 2010

Santa’s Secret Workshop

Friday, 24 December, 2010

Santa’s Secret Workshop. Sounds pretty magical, doesn’t it? 

The magic this year was how it affected me. I hesitated to set work aside in order to volunteer. It was a commitment during a busy time. 

What I forgot is how good it is to step away and do something generous with no expectation of a return. 

In half hour increments, our team created a true Christmas experience for some kindergarteners and first graders in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Whether they had fifty cents or five dollars, they were given a complete shopping experience for their families. No matter how much they had, we made sure that they had gifts for every family member, wrapped and signed and ready to go. 

After their time at Santa’s Secret Workshop, we brought them back to class so we could help another shopper. Sometimes they stopped for a hug or a high five, but most times they just skipped off, poking through their bag of presents. 

They might not remember us, but we will certainly remember them. And their holidays might just have a little more magic this year … mine certainly do.

Thanks to Dana Boals for getting our team out to volunteer, and to Noelle Gable from Urban Family Ministries for sharing her photos and making this event possible.

A warming tree to celebrate the holidays

Thursday, 23 December, 2010

The Warming Tree

T’is the season of cheer
But for many out there
It’s a time of despair

Our Warming Tree is a start
A place for us to show our heart
Let’s decorate with new scarves, hats and gloves
And together we’ll warm the holidays with charity and love

 

This was sent to me by the Amway team in our Canada office. It’s a call that goes out to decorate a “Warming Tree” in the corporate cafeteria. They ask for donations of new hats, scarves, gloves, mittens and toques.

At the beginning of December, the team collected the clothing and donated it to various youth and adult charities in London, Ontario.

And in case you were wondering, toques are a kind of hat … I had to look it up!

Thanks to Carmela Ianni and Jason Menard for submitting this story.

Celebrating Christmas early in Korea

Wednesday, 22 December, 2010

As you have probably guessed, we are sharing Christmas stories from around the world this week. In Korea, we heard a  story about how Amway and Independent Business Owner (IBO) leaders celebrated Christmas early this year.

During a n October seminar for IBO leaders, Amway displayed a Christmas tree for families to decorate by writing inspiring message to “wish kids” who are suffering from cancer and other severe medical conditions – along wtih a $5 donations. Donors could also read the stories of the children who their funds would be helping.

If Christmas tree decoration wasn’t enough, IBOs could make a donation and dress up as Santa for a family photo.

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After Amway added its own donations to the total, they had raised approximately $40,000 to help with medial expenses for low-income families with children in the hospital. IBO leaders delivered the donations on the last day of the leadership seminar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and three Je-Ju Welfare Centers.

A little early? Perhaps. But just in time to brighten up the holidays for more than 300 children and their families.

Thanks to Kim Drabik and Hye-Sun Kim for sharing this story with us.

 

 

Christmas in the orphanage: A child’s story

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010

This Christmas story needs little set-up, other than a link to St. Johns Home, a shelter and residential therapy home for children in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The agency still exists, and many Amway employees have given and volunteered for the children there over the years.

 

I came to (the old) Saint John’s Home in 1951 at the age of three. There, the Catholic Nuns were our moms and dads and there were lots of kids for brothers and sisters. It seemed like two hundred or so. Four large dormitories separated the little girls, big girls, little boys and big boys. The buildings also housed the necessary classrooms and a large dining area. We had one TV and almost no time to watch it.

One of our summer activities was a group visit to a nearby farm. All the nuns and kids would climb aboard several semi-trailers (equipped with wooden benches) and sing one song after another all the way there. At the farm, there were piles of hay to play in, lots of animals to pet and a good meal afterward.

Another favorite activity was when Buck Berry would drop by the home to play his guitar and sing cowboy songs. He also did impressive rope tricks and showed us how to make corn stalks out of a newspaper.

The playground at the orphanage was huge. In addition to the usual swings and such, there were steep terraced hills for winter sledding. We sledded all day long and we slept at night. It was a good time. I remember learning to tie my shoes by the swings.

One Christmas, I received a yellow stuffed monkey with a plastic face. I loved that monkey and repeatedly asked one of the nuns (my favorite one) to give it a kiss. She always refused (probably out of concern for its cleanliness). At bed time, after the dormitory lights were out, any of the kids who wanted a good night kiss could ask for one. I asked my favorite nun for a kiss and she made her way through the dark to accommodate my request. I held the monkey in front of my face and she kissed it. Laughing, she jerked away and said that I was a naughty boy and we both laughed more. It was a merry Christmas for me.

I have always been grateful that Saint John’s Home was there to provide a loving home for me when I so desperately needed one. The many fond memories of my time there will never leave me. I am honored to have been selected to “give back” some of that care and share my childhood memories.

– Jim J.

Turning the Christmas tree orange in Japan

Monday, 20 December, 2010

In Tokyo, there is a Christmas tree decorated with orange ribbons. Lots of them.

For several years, Amway has supported the Orange Project in Japan, which aims to eliminate child abuse through prevention, awareness and treatment programs.

Every year, more than 50 children die because of child abuse in Japan. While it is not often talked about, the prevalence of child abuse in Japan is increasing, with 40,000 reported cases last year.

The orange Christmas tree is filled with some of the 100,000 ribbons collected from all over the country, sent in by distributors and employees. Amway is giving 10 yen to the Orange Project for every ribbon collected.

Donations go to programs like children’s shelters, and others that help raise visibility for the issue, and provide services for children affected.

Are red and green the “official” Christmas colors? Maybe. But in Japan, we are adding a little bit of orange this year.

 

 

Thanks to Kafuu Toh and Hisashi Takahashi for contributing to this post – and extra thanks to all of the distributors and employees in Japan who have sent in their ribbons!

Text donations for orphans in Haiti

Friday, 17 December, 2010

You can now make text donations to SOS Children’s Villages to help rebuild a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. Here’s how:

  • Send the text message “SOS” to 90999.
  • You will get an immediate response asking to confirm a $10 donation. 
  • You just have to text back with “Yes.”

It will allow you to text donations up to 3 times. Message and data rates may apply, depending on your texting plan. You can still make donations online as well.

Positivity Project announces winner!

Thursday, 16 December, 2010

We are very excited that Caitlin B., the winner of the Positivity Project, will give her $10,000 gift to Girls on the Run, an organization we support through One by One partners in West Michigan. The organization builds self esteem in young girls by encouraging healthy lifestyles.

Caitlin is the founder of Operation Beautiful, another great cause. Here is her winning video submission:

The Positivity Project tied in with Amway’s Power of Positive campaign in the United States. Finalists for the Positivity Project awards were flown to Hagerstown, Maryland on Monday to take part in a volunteer project, then attend a John Tesh concert, where the winner was announced onstage.

I had the privilidge of judging the award submissions, along with John Tesh and several others,  to help narrow down to the top ten. There were some AMAZING stories. The top ten were voted on, so none of us really knew the outcome until it was announced onstage.

You can see all of the award submissions and links to a library of positive stories on the Positivity Project site.

Haiti update: US IBOs boost giving

Wednesday, 15 December, 2010

Amway Independent Business Owners in the US found a new way to raise visibility – and money- for relief efforts in Haiti.

At two of the largest recognition events for IBOs who had achieved high levels of growth in their businesses, Amway set up a brick wall (made of foam) where IBOs could contribute toward building a home for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti through SOS Children’s Villages.

Giving at the Acheivers Conference and the New Platinum Conference helped us propel our fundraising to $16,873.

To see more photos and stories from the event, visit www.achievemagazine.com, and to participate in this drive for SOS Children’s Villages, visit www.sos-usa.org/amway.

Thanks to Adriane Land and Marsha Champion for sharing this story, and for all your efforts to promote this project.

The circus came to me!

Monday, 13 December, 2010

The circus stands for wonder and delight. It features amazing acts and big laughs.

Last week, Amway leaders in Russia brought the circus to some special children who don’t get the chance to see the popular shows in Moscow.

The “Mini Circus Tour” brought performers from Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard, one of the best performances around.

They visited an orphanage for disabled children in Uvarovo, where Amway and UNICEF had previously built special playrooms.

The children were given their own private performance. At the end of the show, clowns handed out age-appropriate presents to each child - things like glass bead kits, embroidery and construction sets.

Amway showed these children once again how special they are. Now they can not only say the circus came to TOWN, they can also say the circus came to ME.

Thanks to Ekaterina Pozhitkova and Karin Schmid for sharing this story.

Ten awards for Amway volunteers in China

Friday, 10 December, 2010

Congratulations to our collegues in China!

Earlier this week, Amway China staff and distributor volunteers won 10 different awards at the Eighth Excellent Chinese Young Volunteer Awards.

You can read more details at the Amway Insider blog.

Thanks to Frances Yu for sharing the good news!