Archive for November, 2010

An update on Forest Therapy in Japan

Monday, 29 November, 2010

Last year, we introduced you to the “Forest Therapy” program at the Afan Forest in Nagano, Japan.

Amway organized more projects at Afan year fall, in partnership with C.W. Nicol, a well-known writer and naturalist in Japan who restored the mountain village and made it available for outdoor therapy programs.

Amway also brought children to Kiyosato in Yamanashi Prefecture. Approximately 500 children have participated at both locations this year.

There are two target audiences for Forest Therapy. The first is blind or visually impaired children. For them, the forest is a magical place where they can open their senses to receive input that is not available in the city.

The other group is children from the welfare system in Japan. These children are often recovering from situations of abuse or neglect. The forest is a place for them to find peace and harmony, with mentoring and therapy from counselors who accompany the children.

Following are some photos of their experience. It’s been two years since I visited Afan Forest, but the silent sounds, the cool air, the smell of roasted mushrooms harvested from the forest floor, and the faces that start suspicious and finish beaming … all these will always stay with me.

Afan Forest:



Thanks to Hisashi Takahashi for contributing to this post.

Fruit and Veggies for Thanksgiving

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

What’s on your Thanksgiving Day grocery list? How about fruits and veggies?

Over the last week, we closed out the Positive Sprouts program for the year by celebrating with Boys & Girls Club members at seven new gardens across the US.

And of course, we sent the families home with fresh fruits and vegetables for the holidays.

It was amazing to see how much had bloomed in just two months at the Orlando Club. Our hosts toured us through the garden and let us taste some basil and some beans.

In Orlando, they made foods from around the world, using ingredients from the garden. They served them to parents and staff members, and shared their recipes.

In San Diego, the Club made pizzas with garden ingredients. In Buena Park, California, they played nutrition quiz games and gave away prizes, like a set of Disneyland tickets for a family. In Grand Rapids, MI, a local chef made recipes emphasizing the flavors in vegetables. There were also events in Denver and Philadelphia.

I’ll be headed to the store tonight for final ingredients for the turkey. But I’ll be sure to make room on our table for the fruits and vegetables this year … and thinking about our new gardening experts at the Boys & Girls Clubs!

A cheerful ambulance ride in Indonesia

Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

Is there such a thing as a fun ambulance?

In Indonesia there is. They have happy hospital wards too.

Amway Indonesia’s foundation, “Yayasan Amway Peduli,” teamed up with the Dharmais Hospital’s foundation in Jakarta, “Yayasan Pita Kuning,” in 2008 to renovate sections of the children’s cancer ward by painting the walls with cheerful colors and fun murals.

This year, Amway donated an ambulance unit to transport young patients to and from the hospital. The interior of the ambulance was decorated with bright colors and fun characters similar to the hospital wards.

Koen Verheyen, General Manager of Amway Indonesia said, “We want the children to receive care immediately and comfortably. We want them to imagine going to happy places.”

Amway also invited health experts to talk to parents about ways to detect the early stages of childhood cancer. And every third Saturday of the month is an Amway volunteer day in Indonesia. Employees and Independent Business Owners are encouraged to give their times across the country.

While they may not ride in a colorful ambulance to the hospital, they do visit regularly to read books, draw pictures and play together with the young patients to speed their way to recovery.

Thanks to Ita Sembiring, Iin Marsutji and Sri Soekarmoen for sharing this story.

Volunteering on the beach

Monday, 22 November, 2010

The best way to teach kids about protecting the environment is to take them out into it!

In Taiwan, over 200 Amway employees and their families volunteered to clean up the Wa Zai Wei Nature Reserve, the river outlet of Tamsui River in the north of Taiwan, in September. They organized the project in partnership with the Society of Wilderness.

Amway employees and their family members had the opportunity to not only clean up the area, but observe and experience the natural ecology of the area, hosted by Society of Wilderness representatives.

At the end of the day, the group collected 300 kg of litter from the wetlands.



 Thanks to Julie Wu for sharing this story.

From the lowest lows to the highest highs

Friday, 19 November, 2010

Although we usually talk about the accomplishments of children and children’s programs on this blog, sometimes a powerful story comes along that we just have to share.

Earlier this year, Colombian athlete Nelson Cardona scaled Mt. Everest on an artificial leg after overcoming an accident during his attempt to scale the Nevado del Ruiz in the Andes Mountains – an accident that cost him his leg, his teeth and what doctors said would be any use of his body. His recovery has been nothing short of amazing.

Here are Nelson’s words:

On May 17, one of my biggest dreams came true: to be on the top of the Mount Everest. This event was (and still is) a wonderful thing and one of the toughest in my life.

It is important not to lose the sight of your objectives. After the [Nevado del Ruiz] accident, I woke up and knew that I was going to be able to walk and do sports again.

Once I recovered, I went through stages of physical adaptation and food preparation. I undertook a constant diet of vegetables, proteins and vitamins, which was fundamental to try any kind of activity again.

I want to share with you that Amway accompanied me on this great challenge. I always say that disability only lives in people’s minds. I think I’m a good example of that.  

Amway Colombia sponsored the expedition team by providing Nutrilite products. Thanks to Jeff Dahl, Maria Rey and Adriana Restrepro for sharing this story with us, and thank to Nelson for your inspiring words … and actions!


“Oscar Night” highlights activities in China

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

Tim Ruffini from the Amway Brand team recently attended “Oscar Night” in China and shares his experience.

Two weeks ago I had the great privilege of attending ”Oscar Night” in Beijing, China. This event was hosted by Amway China, and celebrated and recognized their efforts in the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Over 80 CSR events were judged, then awarded, based on different categories.

Going into this, I was not sure what to expect….now, with a first hand perspective of seeing what “Oscar Night” means to Amway China, I can tell you that it is all the things one would typically associate with an Oscar-level event: A large, gorgeous venue; bigger than life stage props; accompanying videos and performances that motivated, inspired and entertained; hosts and hostesses, moving speeches, laughter and emotion.

Despite experiencing 80% of the dialogue not in my native language, I still was able to understand 100% of the meaning.

The CSR programs were amazing. The lives they touched, both near and far, was beyond what I would have imagined. Pick two or three of them, implement in another market, and you have a significant change….but, 80? In China alone? What an incredible accomplishment. Hats off to the teams and volunteers.

Key takeaway? At Amway, we do not work for a “company.” We work as a family, that believes in creating changes in lives, living out values and foundational fundamentals. After this experience, the Amway family got bigger, and the world got even smaller.


What have Special Olympic athletes taught us about business?

Monday, 15 November, 2010

As an Amway Independent Business Owner, the weekends are Andre’s busiest time. But he sets aside one weekend each June to volunteer his time to escort an athlete who is competing in the Special Olympics of Indonesia (SOIna).

Andre was among more than 290 Amway’s Independent Business Owners (IBOs) and employees who volunteered their time to help 900 SOIna athletes from 33 provinces across Indonesia. 

Amway volunteers worked as information and field officers, photographers and cheerleaders. They hoped one of the athletes they helped would compete at the International Special Olympics in Athens, Greece in 2011. 

By volunteering his time, Andre earned more than just money or new customers. He says he found a new outlook that changed his life forever. “Those children have taught us the meaning of enthusiasm, determination and spirit to overcome obstacles. Nothing is impossible if we are passionate about what we do.” 

It was a special weekend for Andre and other Amway volunteers in Indonesia. They say the experience transforms them into enthusiastic and determined “olympians” in the business world.

Thanks to Rossy Waworuntu and Sri Soekarmoen for writing this post.



A Real Hope Maker in Taiwan

Friday, 12 November, 2010

A couple of years ago, I visited Taitung County, a remote area of Taiwan where school is sometimes out of reach for children whose families struggle with low income. We were kicking off a new project in honor of Amway’s 50th anniversary through Amway Taiwan’s Hope Maker program.

Three years later, we received a report from our colleagues in Taiwan that the program has raised $433,920, sponsoring tuition and educational programs for 7,772 students in 20 schools in the Taitung area.

This year, Amway Taiwan is also focused on helping the local economy in Taitung. Through the Hope Maker program, Amway is selling a tea set with high-quality herbal teas from Taitung, and a locally-made teapot and cup set with an aboriginal design native to Taitung.

To promote the Amway Hope Maker project Amway Taiwan is also promoting the campaign through television commercials, print ads and an internet campaign.

The Amway Hope Maker program started in 1999, raising funds by distributor sales of special gifts with proceeds going to charitable organizations. Since 1999 the program has raised $1.4 million, helping 9,784 people.

You can watch the video clip below. I recognize the school we visited, and it makes me think of a bold principal, dancing students, and a young boy who hoped to run a business one day. With the help of Amway Taiwan, that hope continues.




Thanks to Julie Wu for sharing this update, and for all the amazing work you are doing on this program.

In the halls of Amway HQ

Wednesday, 10 November, 2010

There is a unique display for employee volunteers who roam the halls of Amway headquarters in Ada, Michigan. Katie Blough from Corporate Communications tells us how it inspires her.


Volunteering plays a big role in Amway’s culture. Our employees and distributors roll up their sleeves and dive into community projects, not because they have to, but because it’s something they want to do. As a way of sharing all of our volunteer efforts around the community and all over the world, we post it for all to see on the volunteer board at our World Headquarters.

The volunteer board captures a snapshot of the latest projects where our employees have made an impact. It lists a calendar of upcoming activities in which they can get involved and clocks volunteer hours and the number of children the campaign has impacted this year (by the way, we’re currently at 750 children impacted and 18,793 hours volunteered!)

One of my favorite ways to volunteer is by writing to my pen pal, Adam. We wrote our first letters to each other when he started third grade and two years later, we still keep in touch. I’ve also had the opportunity to speak to eighth grade English students about my career in public relations, and I’ve even learned how to shingle a roof when I volunteered to clean up a local camp.

These are just a few examples of volunteer activities we post to the volunteer board. Check out some other activities our employees have gotten hands into right here in West Michigan all the way to Malaysia.

Amway Receives China Children Charity Award

Tuesday, 9 November, 2010

Last week, Amway held an award ceremony in Beijing to recognize regional leaders and distributors for their support of local charitable organizations.

It’s fitting that the same week, we received word that Amway China received the “China Children Charity Award by the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) and the China Children and Teenager’s Fund (CCTF) thanks to its contributions to children’s welfare in China in the last ten years.

Mme. Chen Zhili, Vice Chairman of National People’s Congress attended the ceremony, along with the presidents of ACWF and CCTF. Amway China president Audie Wong delivered a speech at the ceremony as the only representative of the 86 awardees (see photos below). Other awardees include the likes of China Mobile, China Unicom, Nike, HP and Cargill.

CCTF initiated the program, called “Good Health” in 2000, aiming to help children stay away from illness, harm and crime and ensure as many children as possible to attend school. Amway China responded to this call by a series of actions, such as establishing schools for migrant children; supporting college students to go to remote and poor areas to provide education; and providing and nursing care and treatment for more than 200 disabled children across the country.

Congratuations to our colleagues in China … keep up the great work!

Thanks to Frances Yu and Claire Lan for sharing the good news.