Archive for August, 2010

Japanese reaching out to Haitians for rebuilding

Monday, 30 August, 2010

We are hearing less and less about Haiti these days. It has been six months since the earthquake struck. Yet our colleagues in Japan have continued their efforts to help the 1.5 million Hatians refugees displaced by this disaster.

In April, Amway Japan contributed $80,000 to the Japanese orgaization called JEN to support reconstruction.

JEN has completed the distribution of a “shelter kit” to protect families from rain and wind prior to the hurricane season. In May, JEN began to restore water facilities in Grand Gorve and Leogane (located in the western part of the capital, Port-au-Prince) with Amway’s donation. This made it possible for children to drink safe and clean water. In addition, JEN implemented mental care and hygiene education programs incorporating training on disaster prevention.

With our support, this recontruction contract will continue until the end of this year.

In the next few weeks, Amway will announce a rebuilding project through our One by One Campaign for Children that will allow our distributors, employees and customers to participate in a project to help orphaned children in Haiti.

Stay tuned!

Children create ways to help peers

Friday, 27 August, 2010

It’s touching when you see children of low-income families push their problems aside and creatively think of ways to help their peers in developing countries.

For three days in July, that’s exactly what happened at the Kids G20 Global Camp in South Korea. As part of the ongoing “I Love One by One” campaign, Amway Korea and the International Vaccine Institute hosted this camp, which was attended by 350 Korean children from 18 welfare centers across the nation, ranging from third to fifth grade.

Through fun activities, the goal of the camp was to educate children about global poverty, pollution and ways they can help their peers in Africa.

Referencing an article published by The Korea Times, children created ideas such as saving and donating 100 Won per day, using less water to wash dishes, stopping wars, and producing a “Magic Bottle” that will provide continuous clean water to children, which won first prize for creativity.

Stimulated imaginations and innovative ideas resulted in an understanding among children about Africa’s challenges and led to an overall success at the first Kids G20 Summit.

Leah Zuber from Amway Corporate Communications contributed to this story.

A Very Special Trip to DC

Wednesday, 25 August, 2010

Michele Suchovsky from our local VSA (Very Special Arts) sent us a recap and some pictures from the VSA International Festival in DC this summer, which Amway sponsored. We were very proud to see our local artists take part in this global event.  – JH

From Sunday June 6 through Saturday June 12, 19 students, chaperones and VSA staff from Grand Rapids participated in the International VSA Festival in Washington DC.  VSA is a non-profit agency that connects people with disabilities to the arts.  The International VSA Festival is held only once every five years and brings together over 2,000 arts and education leaders from over sixty countries.  The Festival celebrates the arts and disabilities through performances, workshops, exhibits, receptions, art activities and so much more.

This year, VSA in Grand Rapids was privileged to participate in this amazing celebration with a wonderful group of students- aged 12 – 22 years.  The adventure began with  a first-time airplane ride for the seven students, including a move up to first class, snacks and many laughs and smiles.  After settling in at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Hotel, we quickly travelled to the Smithsonian Art Museum for VSA’s “Start with the Arts,” a series of hands-on art activities and crafts.  The exciting first day ended with an Opening Ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, hosted by Academy Award Winner Marlee Matlin.  The Opening Ceremony included performances by Patti LaBelle and the China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe.

Other highlights of the week included a visit to the Department of Education, where our group met Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and founder of VSA and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  Another day included a trip to the National Zoo and eating space ice cream at the Air & Space Museum.  The girls loved the exhibition of dresses from First Ladies at the American History Museum and everyone loved seeing and taking lots of pictures of DC landmarks like the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.

Students also had the opportunity to see many performances highlighting people with different abilities, including dancers in wheelchairs, singers with visual impairments and actors with developmental disabilities.  The week was not only one of fun and education, but also one of confidence building and expanding possibilities

On Wednesday August 18, 2010, all the students and chaperones came back together to celebrate the trip with their families.  The reception included a wonderful slide show highlighting a few of the over 2,000 pictures that we took during the week.  

The trip was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity—an adventure that will never be forgotten.

Click here for more coverage in the news.

Nutrilite “Little Bits” in Zambia

Monday, 23 August, 2010

This post is from Angela Nelson in our Corporate Citizenship department, who recently visited an Amway-funded project in Zambia, Africa.

Working for a global company like Amway leads to a myriad of opportunities, and one of the best opportunities that I’ve experienced so far took place this past June when I traveled to Zambia to observe a feeding program, Milk and Medicine, run by a Zambian nonprofit, the Chritian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ), which is a ministry of the Alliance for Children Everywhere.
  
Since 2004, CACZ has been providing nutritional supplements through a Milk and Medicine program to mothers with children under the age of 2. Mothers who enter the program are in need of formula for their babies and are referred to CACZ by either their physician or social worker. Many of the mothers are either HIV positive and cannot safely breast-feed or are simply too poor to buy the formula.

Well, I didn’t realize the impact this trip would have on me until I met Julia, a mother of five boys and diagnosed HIV positive, during my site visit to the KuKu compound, one of two local compounds we visited.  Julia was quite fragile.  You could tell by what she wore that she couldn’t afford much, but inside she was strong, rich in spirit and concerned most with doing what was best for her youngest child in the program.  In fact, when I asked her why Milk and Medicine was important to her, she simply stated that “she wouldn’t be able to feed her child if it wasn’t for Milk and Medicine.”   

At that moment I knew my trip was not in vain …

So, why did I go all the way to Zambia to observe this program you may ask?  I went because Amway just finished piloting a successful trial study of a micro nutrient product called Little Bits.  Little Bits was developed using a formula based on a joint statement by the World Health Organization, World Food Program, and UNICEF. It is also powered by the expertise of Amway’s Nutrilite scientists and innovative technology and ingredients.  Most importantly, Little Bits provides undernourished children, ages 1-5, with 15 essential vitamins and minerals.

This life changing product helps children thrive and is most effective when offered in conjunction with programs like Milk and Medicine, and integral health and education program.  CACZ is an organization that has built strong and trusting relationships with their clients and who share in the mission of eliminating malnourishment in children.

As a company, we are just beginning to grasp the potential of the Little Bits product on the programs we support through the One by One Campaign for Children.

Personally, I’m just beginning to grasp the effects of a child not having basic minerals and vitamins. Amway has given me the opportunity to see this first hand. That’s why I am so proud to be a part of a team that help provide a “Little Bit” of hope to children around the world…One by One!

A note from the fire chief

Monday, 16 August, 2010

Few people know that Amway headquarters are so big that they require a Protection Services department and a dedicated Fire Chief, Mike Larabel. Even fewer people know about all the volunteer work this group does in the local community. Here’s a guest post from Mike about their work at the Renucci Hospitality House. – JH

Protection Services’ commitment to providing superior customer service does not stop at the Main Gate. For the last couple of years, several members of our division have provided meals at the Renucci Hospitality House.  Renucci House was started almost 10 years ago to serve the families of patients at Butterworth and Blodgett Hospitals.

It has been our pleasure to prepare and serve the evening meal for the residents on numerous occasions. It is truly heart warming to see the difference that a simple, home-cooked meal can make to these folks. Many of the families come from Northern Michigan. It is stressful enough to move into unfamiliar space for anywhere from a few days to several months. Through the Corporate Citizenship and Protection Services departments, we are able to offer a little bit of Amway hospitality to these families. 

As we serve the evening meal to these families, we engage them in conversation and are able to make them feel more at home and more relaxed. We have received numerous “thanks” in the form of: “What a great meal, this is just like my mother used to make, you don’t know what this means to us” to thank-you cards that the children have drawn. I am not sure who receives more benefit - them or us. 

Patients of the families are confined to the hospital for everything from scheduled surgical procedures, to premature births, to automobile accidents, to severe medical treatments.  Many of these families are thrust into this situation suddenly and unexpectedly.  I spoke with a young mother whose premature infant was going to be in the Neonatal Unit six months. The wife of a patient who had contracted a lung disease said they had already been there ten weeks and probably would not leave for another three weeks. That’s a long time to be away from home and still have to care for other family members and your residence.

I don’t know if it is true or not, that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but it sure does help folks staying at the Renucci House. We have served everything from burgers and brats to baked chicken (one of the favorites) to pot roast. The “Terry Celori” mashed potatoes remain one of the favorite dishes. But then, what’s not to like about real potatoes, lots of butter and sour cream.  Many of the residents have indicated that they came to eat because they could smell dinner cooking throughout the facility.

As a result of our activities, other organizations have become involved and have provided breakfast or evening meals, and continue with this calling on a regular basis. 

It is my belief that we are all called to be “servants” for one another. Renucci House is one of the best ways I know of doing just that. We are feeding more than just a body; we are feeding the person, our brother or sister. It is more than just preparing a meal; it is an experience. By serving others, we are living life to the fullest!

Thank you Amway for this marvelous experience!!

Back to School with Stuff the Bus

Sunday, 15 August, 2010

Guest blogger Katie Blough from Corporate Communications invokes nostalgia to introduce a program to “Stuff the Bus.”

Traveling back in time, I still remember my first day of middle school. My parents took me shopping for new clothes and school supplies, and it was the first time I wore makeup. Walking into the classroom on the first day, I felt completely confident in my new sunflower dress and new back pack swinging off my shoulder.

Every student should feel as confident as I did on the first day of school, but we know some children don’t have the opportunity to go back-to-school shopping. That’s why we’ve partnered with our friends at Fifth Third Bank for “Stuff the Bus.” Our goal is to provide 2,500 back packs to middle school students, a segment that tends to be overlooked during back-to-school drives, and fill them with nutrition, personal care, and back-to-school items.

We’re inviting the community to get involved! Drop boxes have been placed at Fifth Third banking centers around West Michigan to encourage everyone to contribute a few items. At select banking centers, our big yellow school bus will be there so we can literally, stuff the bus full of items as the community drops them off.

We’ll be accepting items now through August 25. Then, Amway volunteers will stuff the backpacks, and the Student Advancement Foundation and Hand2Hand will help us distribute the backpacks to schools, so they can have a great first day.

A love story

Wednesday, 11 August, 2010

A love story
Guest blogger Alan Yi passed along the story of a volunteer couple that met, courted and married during their experience with the 72 Hour program, which we blogged about in May. 
  
 

Dong

My name is Dong and this is the story of discovering my wife Vivi. Amway had not only given me a job, but also the opportunity to meet my future wife. This is our story about two Amway members who met through a volunteer program and fell in love, resulting in a loving couple that became husband and wife. 
  
 

Vivi

72 hours is a volunteer program, designed by volunteers, that helps grade school children in rural areas of China by sending groups of volunteers. Three teams have participated, with the first working at Yangshan Hope Elementary School in Guangdong Province. The volunteers bring happiness and help within 72 hours through a process they call, “Discover-Action-Change-Joy.”

  

Dong

I am a 72 Hours program team leader and was born in 1969. I became an Amway member in March, 1995 one of the first in China. My current position is Emerald. My parents have always encouraged me to enjoy life and to help others.

I have participated in many different volunteer programs since I started to work at Amway. I have helped form a volunteer team that has grown to over 200 members who come from all different walks of life. We all share the same spirit of love and commitment. We have received much joy by helping those in need. Many of the members have joined the Amway business.
 

  

Vivi

I am also a 72 Hours program volunteer. I was born in 1973 and joined Amway in 2002. I have known of Dong for 8 years. However, I did not have any opportunity to meet him until I participated in the 72 Hours program. This program offered us an opportunity to get to know each other and help each other with the children.

I noticed right away that Dong cared deeply for the kids and the volunteers. He taught the kids Christmas songs in English, and shared his Nutrilite vitamins with volunteers who were feeling sick. This really touched my heart.

 

Dong

I was impressed by Vivis commitment to poor children. She didnt avoid the children who were dressed in dirty, ragged clothes. On the contrary, she gave every child a hug and did all the dirty work herself. We began to fall in love.

One evening at dinner, I asked Vivi, “Do you have a passport?” She thought this was a strange question and looked puzzled. While she was still wondering, I said, “Please marry me! I have been invited by the company to attend a seminar in Los Angeles. I hope to go with my wife, and show her the world. Vivi calls this the sweetest moment of her life. 
 
 

Vivi

We wanted to have a special wedding, so we chose to have our ceremony in the school where we volunteered. We wanted the children to share our happiness. If it wasn’t for the children, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet my husband. We also thought that this would raise more attention for the hardships of poor students and the disadvantaged groups.

We invited 72 Hours volunteers, our friends’ and relatives’ children in the city to attend the wedding. Most of the children had never been to a rural area and we hoped to offer these city kids a chance to see how their peers live in the rural area. Much to our surprise we received a special wedding gift, presented from Eva Cheng (Chairman of Amway China) and Steve Chan (Vice president of Amway China). It was a very special day for us in so many ways. 
  

On May 22nd, after weeks of preparation, Dong and Vivi implemented another 72 hours plan. Back to the place they met, the dedicated couple, together with 20 volunteers, made a nutritious lunch for the school, repaired the broken equipment on the playground, gave the children recycled books as gift for Childrens Day.

The most special part of the trip, of course, was the wedding ceremony. That day, hundreds of children presented a picture they made and their wishes to the couple. Without wine and feast, the wedding was very simple, but for Dong and Vivi, it was the best wedding they could imagine. It was the love for children that brought them together, and they completed their love story in the most meaningful way.

We wish them the best. — Alan Yi

An unconventional intern assignment

Monday, 9 August, 2010

Amway interns find themselves performing “other duties as assigned,” at Urban Family Ministries, as Kristen Wassink, Corporate Citizenship Intern, shares with us as guest blogger.

Each summer a new group of interns arrive at Amway. We get eight weeks of intensive immersion into an aspect of the company, and a powerful experience to carry forward on our resumes.

But at Amway, it’s not just business as usual.

We broke away from our desks a few weeks into our assignments to participate in the “community volunteer” aspect of Amway culture. For the last three years, summer interns have staffed a neighborhood carnival working with Urban Family Ministries, a nonprofit organization helping inner-city youth in Grand Rapids.

It’s hard to break away from our busy schedules, but we soon find that it is time well spent.

As the kids poured in to the carnival, we took up our stations. We set up games, handed out prizes, painted faces, and cooked up some great summer food: hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn!

None of the kids went home with empty hands or empty stomachs. Some had 20 plus prizes jammed into their pockets. There was a sense of community that day, and new friendships surfaced as kids competed, shared and laughed together.

Yeah, it was really hot and we were tired from being in high-energy mode all day (some of us were a little smelly). But these are the memories you take back with you and experiences that I hope will always be a part my job.

LTD using time together to give back

Friday, 6 August, 2010

This Spring, Amway Global Independent Business Owners from Leadership Team Development (LTD) decided to use their time together to help the local Ronald Mc Donald House in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Because LTD members are growing IBOs who are in the business of building teams, what better way to foster team unity than serving the community together? This provoking question was the genesis of reaching out to the communities that open their cities to LTD members during weekend conferences.

“We saw what Amway was doing at Achievers with the One by One Campaign with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and we liked what we saw,” recalls John Dumproff, LTD’s CEO. “Amway is making a real difference in the lives of children with this campaign.  We wanted to see if we could get our members excited about working towards the same goal.”

As a company, selecting RMHC as the outreach was quite simple for a variety of reasons: it has great name recognition; many RMHC locations are in the major cities LTD has events; and, most importantly, the houses serve as a “home away from home” for families of critically ill children being treated at local hospitals. In fact, some of LTD’s members have utilized the RMHC and were blessed by their experiences – the staff just knew it was the charity for the company and its members.

Leading up to the IMPACT events, LTD spread the word to its members about the outreach and the ways they could participate. They could donate household products, collect tabs from aluminum cans, and, for Greensboro attendees, purchase a RMHC t-shirt as a donation for that house. Obviously, as an IBO support system, LTD was most excited about seeing those Amway Global household products and tabs from XS Energy Drink cans!  

In all, LTD is proud to have donated approximately 400 lbs of pop tabs and 30 large cases of products which were delivered directly to the houses in each city.  For the curious-minded, 400 pounds of pop tabs is approximately 572,000 tabs collected in less than six weeks! And through this small act of popping those tabs and bringing them to IMPACT, LTD members helped pay for 20 nights at a local RMH. The donated products included vitamins, laundry care, cleaning supplies, toothpaste & brushes, shampoo, toiletry items, snack foods and more.

And to help the LTD Staff manage the products and tabs, over 30 LTD members volunteered their time Saturday of the weekend conference. Along with staff, they assisted by collecting, sorting, boxing, and loading the items donated to the homes.

The collected donations during the six-week campaign are surely impressive, but the message behind this generosity is more impressive.

“We can’t thank (LTD & its members) enough for choosing us and we look forward to working with (LTD) in the future as well,” shares Lisa Westmoreland, Community Events Director of the Durham, NC RMH. “(The) support will ensure that we continue to be a ‘home away from home’ for the families of critically ill children, so that they can focus on the health and wellbeing of their critically ill children by keeping families together who are in need of a community of hope, comfort, and empathy.”

This was LTD’s first collaborative Community Outreach Project, but it won’t be the last. They are proud of what was accomplished. More importantly, they are excited about the giving spirit of its members and see this is a stepping stone into more great opportunities for the team to make a community IMPACT wherever they go.

LTD’s Outreach Project Coordinator Robyn Roode sums up the heart behind this experience best: “I was so excited to help get this project off the ground.  I am continually amazed at our members’ hearts for serving.  It makes me so proud to be part of such an incredible organization.”

 

 

Employees volunteer “fore” U.S. Junior Amateur

Monday, 2 August, 2010

The Junior Amateaur Golf Tournament was not your typical West Michigan sponsorship, as we learn from guest blogger David Madiol, Brand Manager for Amway.

It’s not every day you get to watch the world’s best junior golfers compete in your own back yard.  But that just happened to be the case for Amway last week when the 63rd U.S. Junior Amateur Championship came to town – and we had the honor of being the Champion Supporter.

When I was first asked whether I was interested in being an Official Scorer during the Championship, I was a bit hesitant. What if I happened to call in the wrong score on a hole and ended up ruining the career of one of these young golfers? But once I was got the process down, I felt much better – and walking the 18 holes alongside these future golf stars was an experience that I will always remember.

I hope that each of the 150+ Amway employees that volunteered during the week-long event have similar memories. Not only was it a great week of golf at the beautiful Egypt Valley Country Club, it was a testament to the dedication of our employees. While it may not seem like a tough duty being at the Club watching golf, I will tell you that many of the work shifts started at 6:30 in the morning and lasted six hours or more. The whether was hot and humid, but everyone showed up as assigned and on time. Way to go, colleagues!

But let’s not forget why we got involved in the tournament: community. This was yet another fantastic event that put Grand Rapids on the map. This Championship is never held in the same place twice, so we were lucky to have it in our great city. Additionally, it was a chance for the folks in our community to experience top-notch golf – and many of them took advantage of the free admission!

Most importantly, Amway agreed to lend our support so that kids in our community would have the opportunity to learn the game of golf. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Western Michigan Junior Golf Foundation. Now, kids who have never had the chance to play will have access to some great golf courses in West Michigan.

And that’s a win for all.

On the first day, a 15 year-old beat the course record with a ten under par

Jordan Spieth, the defending champion

Bobbie Shelton, who would defeat Jordan Spieth by two strokes in this match play

 

David Madiol, volunteer and volunteer coordinator for Amway