Archive for July, 2010

Helping out after the oil spills

Friday, 30 July, 2010

We have been watching the reports coming from the Gulf Coast area and just confirmed a partnership with John Tesh helping the families of fishermen in the area when we began to hear reports of an oil spill near our local community in West Michigan.

It’s shocking to hear these stories so close together. Are there other smaller spills that happen and we just don’t notice?

While there is not a lot Amway is able to offer in either situation, we are providing support where we can.

In Calhoun County (Western Michigan, about an hour drive from Amway headquarters), we will be sending just over 1,000 bottles of cleaning supplies - our Dish Drops and L.O.C. products. Both are mild detergents that are ph neutral with degreasing qualities. We plan to double that donation if there continues to be a need.

These products will help with the Circle D Wildlife Refuge in Vicksburg, which is leading the efforts to clean birds and other wildlife in the area after nearly one million gallons were leaked from a pipeline near a river that flows to Lake Michigan.

I spoke with Pam Decuypere from the Refuge this morning. They are working from dawn to dusk, mobilizing veterinarians and other volunteers to pick up animals affected by the oil and bring them back to the Refuge for treatment. They were happy to hear that their need for cleaning products was met. It’s amazing to see how many people have shown up to help out.

In the Gulf Coast, Amway’s North America office made a donation to the Sellecca-Tesh Foundation, which is helping the families of fishermen in the Gulf Coast area. The Foundation is giving financial aid to fisherman for income, supplies, medical care, child care, etc. Additionally, John Tesh is personally delivering supplies to families, and has been featured prominently for his efforts. John Tesh is a celebrity spokesperson for Amway in the US.

We extend our gratitude to the many hands that are offering help in each of these affected communities.

Sunshine School Visit

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

We hear about school classes for migrant children in China from guest blogger Glen Myers, Director of Global Marketing Communications.

After a 15 hour flight to Shanghai, nothing can lift your spirits like a classroom of kids singing their hearts out and showing you what they’ve learned in their summer learning program. I was humbled to be a part of this experience, and I will never forget it.

The Amway One by One Campaign for Children is a sponsor of the Summer Classroom of Project Sunshine (at the school of Fuzhi Migrant Children School in Fengxian District). Here, children can take classes in martial arts, English, painting, nutrition, and safety.

Dana Boals (VP, Global Amway Brand) and I were invited to the closing ceremony of the summer classes. The children were anxious to show us what they’d learned. They even invited us to join them in some of their class activities.

The real magic behind these summer classes are the enthusiastic Amway distributor volunteers and other community partners. I can see why the kids love them. Dana and I had been there for less than five minutes before we were ushered into the first classroom where a group of 12 year olds stood at attention ready to give us a Kung Fu demonstration. Before we knew it, we were paired up with a student instructor. Not as easy as it looks. Even though we spoke different languages, we all shared the common language of having fun and acting like a kid!

At the conclusion of each classroom demonstration, we had the added experience of presenting each child with a backpack as a small gift. I was amazed at how patient each child stood while waiting for his or her backpack to be presented. Every boy and girl smiled and looked directly at us and graciously said, “Thank you” in perfect English. Straight from the heart.

From the Kung Fu class, we were escorted to the adjoining classroom where an equally enthusiastic group of kids had prepared a humorous skit on safety … complete with volunteer policemen from the local area. There were all so proud to share with us what they had learned. Again, with the backpacks, and again with the genuine thank you’s.
More classes awaited our arrival throughout the morning — the English class where we played an alphabet game together, the nutrition class where healthy eating habits were identified, and the music class where “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was belted out at the top of their lungs just like every other kid does.

On this sunny, hot and humid summer morning in Shanghai, I saw the magic of Amway’s One by One program in action: children getting the chance to learn and grow under challenging situations, volunteers taking time out of their busy schedules to make a difference, and Amway staff working hand-in-hand with local communities with one common goal in mind… children.

Why do these Amway distributor volunteers keep lining up for their chance to make a difference? One smile from a 12-year old and the answer is clear. (And the best remedy for jetlag I’ve ever experienced!)

Kung Fu classes

Backpacks and thank-you’s

A gift from the students, presented to Fances Yu (VP, Public Affairs)

Dana Boals with Amway volunteers

Glen Myers with Amway volunteers

Brazilian student meets the president

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

Our colleagues in Brazil forwarded this update about a student getting to meet the President. 

We were excited to learn that the President of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, presented an award to a student attending a school sponsored by Amway through its Nutrilite farm in Brazil.    

On June 26, Leticia Rodriguez, a 7-year-old student at the Humberto Ribeiro School in Ubajara, Ceara, received the award for the best poster design promoting education in Brazil, with the theme: “The prevention of youth drug use.” Leticia is a second year student and like her classmates, she participates in the Permaculture Project sponsored by the Nutrilite farm.    

“The support from Nutrilite has been fundamental since we established the Permaculture Project at our school,” says Clesilene Pereira de Carvalho, a school teacher. “The overall knowledge base of the school children has grown as they learn more in depth all the aspects of the natural environment in which they live.” The school received the highest performance grade, a 10, as the best public school in Northeastern Brazil.    

Permaculture is a project that focuses on knowledge through art education in an outdoor classroom. The room is actually a representation of an agro forestry system where children receive lessons about how to coexist with nature and the importance of reading for a complete learning experience. Within this environment, there are workshops for mosaic applications, recycling and wood painting.    

The creation of an outdoor classroom offers a visually stimulating and healthy environment. The program is an alternative option for the children to develop better skills and applicable knowledge that will help prepare them for adulthood.    

The project involves 404 children who have daily access to the supplemental Permaculture educational offerings, including the opportunity to teach their newly learned knowledge to others through the sub-program Teachers of Permaculture.    

Leticia is one of those students, and we congratulate her on her project, and her opportunity to meet the president!    





Positive Sprouts in San Diego

Friday, 23 July, 2010

We held our last garden build just before spring turned into summer. San Diego was the location and the Lefty Mitchell Boys & Girls Club was the host.

Each event has had a different size and layout, but all have the same sense of outdoor excitement. San Diego was more intimate setting, but had the same levels of volunteer enthusiasm and child wonder at what we created that day.

The Lefty Mitchell Club drew some star power from Connie Moore and April Homes, U.S. Women’s Track & Field Olympians. They shared their stories and worked with the kids on the gardens.

Ashlee Balkan, who was a Club member herself at age 9, is the staff member who will oversee the program. She has been hoping to get a garden program going for some time now.

We are excited to plant the seeds of healthier living for Club members, and look forward to showcasing this and the other gardens as a model for other Clubs to follow as we spread this concept across the country in the next few years.

Below are some pictures, and the full set can be found on our Flickr by clicking here. Read about the program from the local media by clicking here.

Next stop … Orlando on September 18!

Amway and other CSR leaders recognized in Beijing

Thursday, 22 July, 2010

From guest blogger Alan Yi, who is on temporary assignment with our Corporate Citizenship department in Michigan, originally from our Amway offices in Guangzhou, China.

“Without love, human beings will be cold as ice. Without responsibility, the world will not be warm. Corporate social responsibility is like a beacon of light leading others and also leading our long-term future. In 2010, we landed in crisis. When we look back on the waves behind, the partner company that is standing still wins our respect. That is where the light of responsibility comes from.”

The words of Ms. Xiuhong Ma, Vice Minister of the China Commerce Department, set the stage for the Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Meeting in Beijing last month.

At the meeting, Amway was given the 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility award for the work it has championed around CSR in China.

Frances Yu, Vice President of Public Affairs, accepted the award on behalf of Amway. Yuling Ren, the Counselor of the China Sate Council, awarded the prize, and also recognized Pepsi, Motorola, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Nokia.

Participants discussed the management of corporate social responsibility, exploring the balance of promoting business while ensuring sustainable social and environmental development. The practice of a comprehensive management of social responsibility among business is new to China this century, and these recognized companies proved to be on the cutting edge of thought and action.

The event was hosted by China Foreign-Invested Enterprises Association, China Charity Federation, China Private Business Economic Research Community, and China Enterprise News. It was led by the United Nations Global Compact, the International Organization of Employers (IOE), the International Labor Organization (ILO) and China Enterprises Association.

Congratulations to Amway China!

Welcome readers!

Monday, 19 July, 2010

Hey, we’re glad you found us.

We just moved to a different blogging platform that will allow us to expand our conversation about the One by One Campaign for Children to the global level.

There are also more technical features that allow you to easily follow our stories and converse with us.

One by One is a global campaign that has helped 7 million children in the last seven years. But it breaks down into thousands of stories of individuals helping in their communities.

At this blog, we look at the large impact we are having, and we tell the stories of what you are doing individually to make a difference at the local level, in all 80 countries and territories where Amway does business – and sometimes beyond.

We also look at the root issues and innovative solutions to helping children everywhere survive, thrive, and create a more positive future.

Please continue to share your stories and ideas with us. Whether you have been following our blog, or just found us, we are glad to have you!

Walking for Easter Seals in the Big Apple

Friday, 9 July, 2010

We had a fantastic turnout for the Easter Seals walk in New York City. It’s amazing to see Amway IBOs, corporate leaders, Easter Seals advocates and clients, all coming together in Battery Park, with the Stature of Liberty watching over everyone.

This walk has one of the highest participation rates of Amway Global people in the country – it only follows the walk in Amway’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In fact, this walk has been very successful in raising money for the cause. More than $1 million has been given to the local Easter Seals through the New York Walk With Me event since 2002.

Amway Global executive Lisa Hunter attended and helped to kick off the walk. Adriane Land, who manages recognition programs and communications was on hand as well.

Kanti and Lati Gala also helped to lead the walk. The Gala’s have been longtime supporters of Easter Seals, and were recognized at the annual dinner last year.

It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk. You can see some pictures of the event below.

If you are participating in an Easter Seals walk in your town (there are 70 across the country – all sponsored by Amway Global), please let us know and send us some pictures to post.

For more information on the walks, visit

This year, we celebrate $30 million raised for Easter Seals by Amway and its employees and Independent Business Owners over our 27 year partnership.

Thanks to all of you who turn out to help improve the lives of children and adults with special needs!

The creativity of Amway givers

Tuesday, 6 July, 2010

I get a lot of calls asking for Amway to support some great causes that our IBOs and employees are involved in. We have to pass on most of them so we can focus on national partnerships that provide opportunities around the country, like Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Easter Seals.

So I was a little taken aback when I got a call from Vishwas Mahale, who was writing a book and wanted to donate a portion of proceeds to the Amway One by One Campaign for Children.

In fact, I couldn’t even help him out, since One by One is not a formal charitable foundation. Instead, it’s a campaign, a movement, and a way to organize all of our global efforts under one focus area – helping children in need.

So we talked more about One by One and what might be a more appropriate way of carrying out his vision of using literary success to promote the success of underprivileged kids.

In the end, Vishwas decided that 20% of the proceeds from the sale of his book would go toward food, clothing and education for underprivileged children through nonprofit organizations.

His book is called “The Success: How to Achieve Humanity’s Most Powerful Desire.” It is available as an ebook at and Amazon Kindle, which can be downloaded with e-reader devices or on PC and MAC. The hardcover edition will be available soon.

Of course, this is in no way an endorsement of the book itself, either on my behalf or on behalf of Amway Global. Rather, it speaks to the imagination of our IBOs, and the common thread of helping community that we seem to find everywhere in the Amway business.

Best of luck to you Vishwas, and thank you for making a difference for children!

Positive Sprouts with Nutrilite

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

What better place to build a garden than the Boys & Girls Club that Carl Rehnborg helped to found more than 60 years ago!

We had a beautiful – and very productive – day on Saturday. Around 40 Club members came in early to get started on the garden, along with an equal number of Amway employees and Independent Business Owners from the surrounding area.

After all my traveling, I was able to use some flier miles to bring my eight year-old daughter Hannah along so she could experience the event – and life on the road!

The space had been enticing the kids for the last couple of days with a bare picket fence and big, empty rectangle beds. Shovels, rakes, watering cans, seeds, plants, wheelbarrows and a big box with the components of a tool shed had begun to accumulate around the site, just waiting for busy hands to make them work.

I was amazed to see how quickly and happily the Club members and Amway volunteers jumped into the work. In fact, we had to slow them down because we were at risk of finishing with the project before lunch was served!

A petite woman in white pants and a fashionable scarf was shoveling mulch and staining the fence. Yet she finished the day totally clean! Others embraced the dirt, and showed signs of their labor in blackened gloves and dirty knees.

It was clear to see that this was only the beginning of something big at the Buena Park Club. They already have a strong focus on health and nutrition, championed by Bruce Hird, the Executive Director. In fact, Bruce recently lost 62 pounds after committing to be an example to the Club members, and shave some of his own bad habits that had accumulated over the years.

We were so proud to have Lisa Rehnborg give opening remarks, carrying on the tradition of her grandfather who provided funding to start the Club in 1948. She now serves as chair of the board and is among the Club’s biggest advocates and supporters.

The Club members made the garden their own. You could see their senses opening up to the plants, with a new understanding of the source of our food. They touched, smelled, tasted and then planted seeds, seedlings and full plants. There was a blend of fruits, vegetables and flowers, all divided up into thematic gardens like the Pizza Garden and the Salsa Garden.

One boy was given a water can to drench the new seedlings. He covered the gardens over and over again, embracing his role in making things grow. Another small boy found a loose flower, and “planted” it with care, then showing it off to all the grown-ups. Another stayed behind to gently place bean seeds, one at a time, in a perfect circle around a bean pole. And a girl called me and others over to show us the sign she painted that informed the world that OKRA was planted here.

We delivered curriculum booklets to the Boys & Girls Club staff that was designed by experts from the Green Education Foundation, who were also on hand, working with local Master Gardeners to ensure we had the best organic gardens and local plants. They were perhaps the best examples for the Club members, passing on an intangible asset – enthusiasm for gardening.

In the end, volunteers not only built a garden, we landscaped the area and beautified the grounds. There was a real energy and excitement. Volunteers were already asking when they could come back and what else they could do, even those that drove from long distances.

Marvin Laster from the Boys & Girls Club national office gave final remarks. He talked about growing up at a Club in Atlanta himself, where he still pays his annual dues. He told the story of a turtle that someone found on a post. He said when you see a turtle on a post, you know that he didn’t get there by himself. He said we are great individuals but we can be so much more together.

Fitting words to close a wonderful day!

Following are some pictures. You can see a bigger set on our Flickr account at: