Archive for June, 2010

Every one is the best one

Friday, 25 June, 2010

As we roll out our events this year, each one I participate in becomes my next favorite. Not that they are necessarily getting better each time. It’s just that each one has its own dynamic and things that make it uniquely great.

We finally camped out in our hometown this weekend. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. It’s a place that we’ve volunteered at, donated to, and even have an Amway executive on the board of directors – Lisa Hunter from Integrated Marketing Services.

There were a ton of kids at this event. We split them into four groups so they could rotate into different stations. They shoveled soil and compost; they planted the gardens; they made their own pots with seeds to take home; and  they painted their faces and painted markers for the plantings.

IBOs and employees showed up to help out, and once again we transformed not only the garden, but the landscaping around the Club. Volunteers pulled weeds, spruced up beds, painted fences and planted flowers. We even brought our own Master Gardener to this one – Linda Van Zee from our IT department.

Tomorrow is the next event at another Amway hometown: Buena Park, California. And next Tuesday we will attept our first mid-week event in San Diego. Email us at if you would like to join.

Enjoy the pictures! The full set is at:

A different kind of walk

Tuesday, 22 June, 2010

The Easter Seals walk was very different for me this year. And my kids had a brand new experience too.

In past years, I’ve always attended to support our company. We are a national sponsor, and have been for more than 27 years. It’s important to get lots of people to funraisers so we can create a festive atmosphere and build credibility for the organization. That’s enough to get me and my family engaged.

Our family attends a lot of fundraising events, but we often lump the different causes into one “charity” bucket and just enjoy whatever walk/run/dinner is taking place, knowing that the money will be used for some kind of good, for some kind of people.

On the drive to the walk, my son asked why we were walking. I explained to them that some people had disabilities that kept their bodies and brains from doing things that we can do, and they needed extra help, which sometimes costs a lot of money that people don’t have. I told them Easter Seals helps provide that help and pays for it with the money they raise from these walks and other places.

They asked a lot of questions about disabilities, a subject that had not really come up before.

Later, when we checked in and got our tshirts, we received lanyards that had cards showing Easter Seals “Ambassadors.” These were kids who had disabilities and received Easter Seals services. They were also kids from our town, who were at the walk and could be found if we looked around.

My daughter took time to read the paragraph about her ambassador, and told her brothers about theirs. Then we tried to spot them as we walked, and we talked about how they were the stars of the evening.

It was one of the best teachable experiences we’ve had in a long time.

As a sponsorship coordinator, my focus has been numbers. How many people will attend. How much money will we raise. How many cities will promote the walks. How many execs will show up. What media coverage will there be.

In Grand Rapids, our numbers were fantastic. We broke all of our records and had huge participation from our leadership and Independent Business Owners. Mission accomplished.

But the event also served to create three new little ambassadors for Easter Seals. And those may be the best numbers of all.

Here are some pictures from the event.

See the full set of photos on our Flickr album:

Amway brings sunshine and gardens to Seattle

Wednesday, 16 June, 2010

It had been raining for days … weeks .. and those of us planning to build a garden at the North Seattle Boys & Girls Club were biting our nails and hoping for the best.

Well, the sun broke through the day before our event, and we had the biggest turnout of IBOs yet! Around 70 Amway Global volunteers planted, weeded, painted, pruned, landscaped, laughed, learned and shared on Saturday.

One IBO showed up with his landscaping company’s truck and began sprucing up the field for the Club members to play in. An IBO couple re-set a brick walkway to eliminate a tripping hazzard. Another IBO brought a dozen tomato plants from her garden that were incorporated into the garden design.And some groups that drove from far reaching places like Tacoma (1.5 hours) and Portland (3 hours) to participate.

The North Seattle Boys & Girls Club is what they call a “neighborhood club.” Kids don’t come here just to sign up for sports programs or specialized activities. This is where they spend their time after school and during the summer. Many come from the nearby low-income housing units. Many are from families of immigrants who speak languages from all over the world.

On Saturday, we left the Club better than we found it. A landsaping facelift, a new garden and curriculum, a freshly groomed field for sports and activities.

More important, we left a new team of volunteers, advocates and friends of the Club who will continue to support the important work of shaping our future leaders.

Thanks to all who participated, and who made the Amway Global Positive Sprouts program happen!

Following are some pictures of the day. You can view the full photo set at:

Positive Sprouts in Denver

Wednesday, 9 June, 2010

We had a great time with IBOs and Boys & Girls Club members at the Arthur E. Johnson Boys & Girls Club in Denver this weekend. This is part of the Positive Sprouts program through Amway Global.

Following are some pictures of the day. We hope to see a lot of you in Seattle this weekend at our next event! Email us at to sign up.

To see our photostream on Flickr, click on this link:

What the Red Cross is doing with your donations

Monday, 7 June, 2010

Our IBOs, emploiyees and customers gave more than $280,000 to the American Red Cross through our website after the earthquake in Haiti.

Now that we have a bit of distance from the events, it is helpful to see what our donations were able to accomplish in Haiti. Here’s a recap from the Red Cross:

As part of its largest international response since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the global Red Cross network has helped approximately 2 million Haitians since the country’s January 12 earthquake. In the past four months, the global Red Cross network has collectively:

  • Handed out tarps, tents and toolkits for nearly 450,000 people.
  • Provided relief items for 500,000 people.
  • Distributed 111 million liters of clean drinking water.
  • Built more than 1,300 latrines.
  • Partnered to vaccinate nearly 800,000 people against deadly diseases, including more than 152,000 vaccinated by the Red Cross.
  • Coordinated the shipment of more than 2,100 units of blood to medical facilities.
  • Treated more than 100,000 people at Red Cross hospitals or mobile clinics.
  • Registered more than 28,400 people with missing loved ones on its family linking Web site.
  • Deployed more than 900 responders to Haiti, including 165 representing the American Red Cross.

The director of our local chapter sent me a link to this video that talks about what the Red Cross is doing to prepare the Hatian people for the upcoming hurricane season:

I think we are on to something

Friday, 4 June, 2010

It’s an early morning in Denver. Our second garden project with the Boys & Girls Club takes place tomorrow. Gardening is on my mind.

Once I get past the busywork of the planning, the communications, poring over the gardening curriculum, meeting with Club directors … I start to see signs that we are onto something.

Just this week heard about a new garden program for kids in Ada, near Amway headquarters, which aims to teach them about fruits and vegetables. I read in the newspaper about another new program in the metro area that grows produce to donate to people in need. Then I saw a Facebook fanpage invite about an initiative through our local universities focused on urban gardening.

And as I’m typing in my hotel room with CNN on, they are covering a program in DC where chefs around the country are working with the First Lady to adopt schools and teach them about food through gardening and cooking.

We are tapping into something big here.

When we kicked off the Amway Global Positive Sprouts program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America national conference in May, every Club director and board member we talked to wanted to be a part of it.

Many were already dabbling in gardening, but had not been able to turn it into a formal program supplemented with education and activities that internalized the knowledge and found creative ways to consume the harvest. Others had plots of land they wanted to do something with. Some were even willing to do rooftop or vertical gardens because they didn’t have any room, but saw the value in this sort of program.

One of the Clubs in southern Florida had actually put together a program that was economically self-sustaining, and was providing food to their local communities – even accepting food stamps for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tomorrow, 60 kids and 60 IBOs will come together to build a garden. Simple enough.

But I’m finding that this means much more, and that the program model we are creating will provide the seeds for a passion that is growing around the country.

Stay tuned for more!

Watch IBOs at our first Positive Sprouts project in Philly

Tuesday, 1 June, 2010

This video captures the amazing experience we had at the Boys & Girls Club in Philadelphia. Thanks to all the IBOs who were on hand to make our first project a success.

[If the video does not come up on your screen, you can view on YouTube.]

There are six more cities on the list for 2010, including Denver this weekend. Check out our Positive Sprouts post for details on how to sign up, or email