Archive for February, 2010

Amway exec goes off the deep end

Tuesday, 23 February, 2010

I have volunteered at Special Olympics games with my daughter and even attended opening ceremonies of the International Games. It is an incredible experience. But I’ve never gone as far as Jim Ayres, VP of Quality Assurance for Amway.

Jim jumped into an icy lake last weekend to raise awareness – and money – for Special Olympics. He has been a longtime advocate for this cause and has given in many ways … just not this one yet. In Jim’s words:

I have been involved in this great cause for over 20 years as a coach, volunteer and board member representing Amway. Special Olympics impacts the lives of so many people…those in need, their families, and those who volunteer. By contributing to Special Olympics, or just getting involved, you ARE making a difference in our community!

I decided to jump into the frigid waters of Reeds Lake this year as a part of the Polar Plunge, the primary fund raising effort for Special Olympics. Proceeds from the Polar Plunge support year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than 17,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who live in Michigan.

In many states Special Olympics is cutting back on programs due to lack of funds. As you know, Michigan faces similar challenges. The good news is that we have made many changes to make our games and events more efficient, but further cutbacks will mean many athletes can’t participate. We can’t let that happen, and that is why the Polar Plunge is so important!

So yes, I jumped into Reed’s Lake on February 20 for the cause! Thanks to my friends and colleagues I raised over $3,700, which certainly made it worth it. The final numbers aren’t in, but we are approaching $300,000 raised through 19 Plunges across the state. That’s great news for our athletes, their families, and our communities.

Jim’s website can be accessed by clicking here, and it’s not too late to donate!

Yes, Jim was a football player at Grand Valley State University

Still clutching the ball … for dear life!

Amway Haiti relief exceeds $1 million

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010

There are so many milestones worth mentioning, and this is a big one.

Combining the value of our product donations, money raised and affiliate giving, Amway donations to Haiti relief now exceed $1 million, including $823,417 in cash giving.

This includes contributions of the company, our affiliates, IBOs, employees and customers. Our thanks go out to all of you who contributed through our website, and those who have done local fundraisers to help in any way you can.

I could tell you about the teams assembling products for IBOs in Haiti, or the flights that have inspired other companies to step up, or the hundreds of dollars that have been raised by our international affiliate offices.

But perhaps the best update is from one of the doctors who flew to Haiti on one of our corporate planes. This was part of a team that literally saved thousands of lives. Below is the text of the letter, and you can find Dr. Edmonson's blog at


Dear Mr. DeVos,

On behalf of a host of grateful doctors, nurses, pastors, and Creole translators, I want to extend heartfelt thanks to you and to Amway Corporation for allowing us to accomplish a mission in post-earthquake Haiti that few other civilian groups were able to do: establish a MASH-type field hospital near the quake epicenter.

As you are aware, the airport in Port-au-Prince was destroyed, except for one functional runway, and all commercial travel in and out of that airport was suspended. Access, the one infrastructural component upon which all rapid response efforts and other infrastructure repairs depend, was crippled. We had a situation where grave and desperate need could not be immediately met, not for lack of human compassion (there was plenty of that), but for simple lack of access.

Enter Amway. But for the willingness of you and others at Amway to make available your resources of planes, tens of thousands of sick and injured Haitians (perhaps more) would not have had the life-saving medical care we knew we could provide … if we could only get there. Thanks to you, we were able to send three plane loads of personnel and supplies, enough to set up a functional field hospital capable of treating several hundreds of patients every day. This hospital continues operation today and looks to be a sustainable project for some period of time.

Soon after we arrived, other relief organization teams visited our site, adding vital components in making the hospital not only a point of acute medical care, but a strategically-located access point for water (providing the village of Petit Goave with 10,000 gallons of pure drinking water every day), and for forthcoming follow-up care (rehabilitation services, prosthetic limb fitting, psychiatric counseling, etc.).

No way could this have happened without the critical, first-response-type role that Amway played in getting us and our supplies down there in the first place.

I would like to add my own thanks to your flight department for pulling off this logistically-impossible feat … This whole enterprise in human compassion and response has been a great testimony to the power of availability and collaboration and synergy. "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken," Solomon once said. This effort has certainly proven him true.

So, on behalf of the tens of thousands of precious Haitians benefiting from your large and kind hearts, thank you. And from the bottom of my heart I share their gratitude. You have made the world a better place.


Steve Edmondson, D.O.

One by One reaches 7 million kids!

Tuesday, 9 February, 2010

Since 2003, Amway has mobilized its employees and distributors all over the world toward bringing about better lives for children in need.

Now in its seventh year of operation, the Amway One by One Campaign for Children has improved the lives of an estimated 7 million children through locally-developed charitable and service programs that align to make a global impact.

Employees and distributors alike have volunteered more than 1.3 million hours, and the company has contributed more than $112 million in donations to partner organizations aimed at children’s issues.

“In every country, and indeed every community where Amway operates, we have people who act to make a difference,” says Dana Boals, Amway vice president. “Thousands of employees and Amway distributors have rolled up their sleeves to bring about positive change. That is a purposeful reflection of our citizenship, brought to life.”

Amway One by One Campaign for Children – Focus Areas and Examples

Amway One by One Campaign for Children actively supports hundreds of nonprofit organizations in more than 50 countries working to address the full spectrum of children’s needs. One by One is designed to provide each market with the flexibility to forge local partnerships to address specific issues facing children in their own community, with focus areas that emphasize improving the way children Live, Achieve, Learn and Play. Here are some concrete examples of One By One in action around the globe:

In many countries, children lack the basic necessities for survival. But when they are cared for, their future is unlimited. For example, May of 2009 children in Mexico received Nutrilite Little Bits, which is designed to bring one of our best brands to children in need. Nutrilite Little Bits provides vitamins and minerals to undernourished children ages 1 to 5 years through One by One charitable partner Un Kilo de Ayuda.

Children have boundless potential, but they sometimes need help achieving their goals. When programs unlock the potential of children with unique needs – special abilities emerge. This year in partnership with the All India Confederation of the Blind, Amway India has set up eight fully-equipped computer centers for visually challenged children. At these vocational training centers, the children receive integrated personal and vocational development on computer operations.

Education opens doors to a brighter future, and an understanding of the world around us. Whether it is academics, skills or cultural enrichment, Amway and its people are helping children to learn and to grow. In the Philippines throughout 2009, using storytelling as a tool, Amway reaches out to children through a series of road shows in selected elementary school. The two-day road show features a storytelling workshop for distributors, teachers and Amway employees on the first day and a learning festival with children on the second day.

Children grow most through rich experience, which is often found through the simple act of play. Amway involvement helps provide the space and resources for this most basic freedom. Vulnerable children in Russia’s social and medical institutions have a reason to smile. More than 34 new play and sensory rooms have been outfitted with special equipment, toys and furniture just for them.

Training Volunteers in Indonesia

Monday, 8 February, 2010

When volunteering for One by One programs around the world, there is nothing better than leaving a lasting positive impact with the children we interact with.  In Jakarta, Indonesia 40% of the population of 12 million is under the age of 18. Each year, 650 of these children develop cancer, and most are unable pay for medical treatment.   Amway Indonesia is striving to ensure all children with cancer, regardless of financial ability, gain access to the best treatment and care.  As a part of their 50th Anniversary Fund, Amway Indonesia is raising funds to support medical treatment, equipment and services.

In addition to providing access to great care, our volunteers offer comfort to the patients and families. Our volunteer employees and distributors are sure to have a ripple effect through the training they receive in paper craft or origami. While simple, the training provides a caring volunteer with a fun activity they can share with a child undergoing treatment.  And we’re hearing time and again the child merrily passes on their newly found skill with their friends and family.

IBO blogging in China

Thursday, 4 February, 2010

If you can read Mandarin, click here to hear the stories of Amway distributors volunteering in remote areas of China. The rest of us can follow the story below …

Since 2002, graduates from universities in China volunteer to teach in remote mountain area schools through the Amway China Education Aid Program. Why? In the words of one volunteer, it’s to “bring hope, as well as knowledge, to students, and gradually help them find the most necessary things, so that they can look for and find their way to a better future.”

Last month, six distributors and one employee walked a day in the volunteers’ shoes in Liannan, Guangdong. To be exact, they walked 72 hours in those shoes, and experienced some amazing things.

Amway distributors arrived at BaiJinDong Primary School, Yao Minority, with a mission to improve areas of the school and touch the lives of students. They first visited the home of 10 year old Xuehua Shen, who is passionate about learning, and it reflects in her school performance.

The distributors were surprised to learn that in addition to her school work, Xuehua also tends to the housework and other home duties as they only child living with her elderly grandmother. Yet, despite her home responsibilities, school is her first love and remains a priority.

Next, distributors were put to work at the school. In rainy, cold weather they spread piping, put up a water tank, repaired windows, and much more. They worked tirelessly, even with frozen hands and numb fingers, because the warmth in their hearts pushed them on. And when the water tank produced water for the time, the students cheered and enjoyed the not-so-routine task of finally washing their hands. Their hands were clean, yet still stung from the cold.

Students celebrated when they were each presented a pair of warm gloves, which for many were the first pair they’d owned. To her delight, a 45 year old mother with her baby nearby the school received a pair of gloves too. Distributors also spent time in classrooms watching students experience the creative learning tools they brought to share. The laughter of the students echoed off the classroom walls as they viewed an educational cartoon and learned their ABCs for the first time by skipping and playing games.

For these distributors, the hardest part of the 72 hour journey was leaving. But they left knowing this was not the last time students would find hope through Amway volunteers. They would be back to do more and more to help them find their way to a bright future.

Since 2002, Amway China has sponsored 22 institutions of higher education and organized 571 graduate volunteers to launch the Amway Education Aid Program in 21 poverty-stricken counties within 14 provinces and regions. More than 50,000 students benefit from this program each year. To read more stories about this volunteer program visit the story or watch our video on the Amway One by One website.

– From guest bloggers Lindsey Kerstetter and Lisa Xia Li.

Amway chefs cooking with VSA Arts

Tuesday, 2 February, 2010

Unless you have been to Grand Rapids, you probably don’t know that there is a four-star hotel called the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The founders of Amway bought and renovated it back in the early eighties, which helped spur growth within the downtown area and added a treasure to our core city.

You may also have missed out on the experience of eating at The 1913 Room, Michigan’s only five-diamond restaurant, located in the hotel.

Chef’s from the 1913 room and the other eight restaurants can often be found in the community, lending their creative craft. I just came across this article where our chef’s were hosting our local VSA Arts students: