Archive for May, 2011

Current leaders grilled by future leaders

Monday, 30 May, 2011

Last week, our Amway president and chairman were both inducted into the West Michigan Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement, following the steps of their fathers.

This year’s event was not all suits and ties and speeches (although there were plenty of those). Kids had a big role to play.

Junior Achievement students served not only as the emcees and storytellers. They also served as a panel of hard-hitting interviewers that grilled the new inductees.

The very first question for Amway President Doug DeVos was, “What did you do when you got all of that money?”

Before the crowd stopped chuckling, Doug was ready with his philosophy for money management: “You save some, you spend some, and you share some.”

Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel was also given a pretty direct question: “Is your job hard?”

He laughed and shared that both he and Doug had just gotten back from overseas trips. With the long hours and jet lag he hardly knew which time zone he was in. But he talked about how much he liked the job, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

The remaining questions, while awkward for an adult to ask, were what many of may secretly want to hear. Yet our business leaders were honest and open about their experience running a $9 billion business with a family legacy attached to it.

In the end, the event reflected the Junior Achievement experience. It humanizes business and business leaders, and allows students to learn about economics and business on their terms.

After all, aren’t these young students the future leaders?

A very happy birthday

Friday, 27 May, 2011

What better way to celebrate your birthday than to give gifts to others!

Amway of Australia is celebrating its 40th birthday by offering $100,000 AUS in funding to help children. The funding can be for new projects or to scale up existing projects.

Recipients will be charitable organizations registered in Australia that are nominated for one of five $20,000 grants by an Amway employee or distributor. The recipient programs will demonstrate certain aspects of impact, including the engagement of volunteers and the focus on children’s issues.

Amway of Australia has been a strong supporter of the Amway One by One Campaign. They have provided close to $1 million to help children with disabilities ride a bike for the first time. To date, more than 1,000 modified bicycles have been built and donated by Amway and its distributors and employees in Australia.

Find more or apply at this special site.

Thanks to Kevin Lowe for sharing this news with us.

New recording studio in India

Monday, 23 May, 2011

Getting books in Braille for higher studies is always a challenge. But Amway and its partners are making it easier with a new audio recording studio with partner Sewa Mandir.

The Talking Book Library is a special initiative of the Amway Opportunity Foundation in partnership with Sewa Mandir and senior Amway Business Owners.

Local residents will volunteer to record special curriculums such as political science, history, law, sociology, and Hindu literature, as well as study materials for competitive exams.

The Library has new computers with special recording software. More than 90 digital recordings will be available to borrow or download, for sighted and visually impaired students. 

Already, many golden-voiced Amway Business Owners have called to volunteer their time to record more audio books.

Thanks to Raj Narain for sharing this story.



Donation innovation or noise pollution?

Friday, 20 May, 2011

What compels you to donate?

If it’s convenience, there is a new solution rolling your way. If it’s personal interaction, you can click through this one.

A student in Scotland recently created DON-8r, a robot that roams the street, propelled by donations. It has been tested in New York and Korea. It’s automated and weather proof, so it shouldn’t need special handling.


Don’t expect these robots to replace nonprofit agency staff just yet. In a nine-hour mission, it only collected $43.

Dr. Clarence

Wednesday, 18 May, 2011

During a recent One by One program building houses for families in Guatemala, we met Clarence Freed.

Clarence is an Amway Independent Business Owner (IBO) in the US, but he is also a doctor – so of course he became popular for those of us with cuts, bruises and stomach ailments during our trip.

But until I started cutting rebar with Clarence and sharing stories, I didn’t realize how highly engaged in international medical volunteering he really was.

Clarence talked about his experience in Haiti. He was there when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-Au-Prince, giving medical care in a nearby village. He was immediately caught up in the massive relief efforts.

While it may have tested the limits of his skills and endurance, his commitment to care was already well established.

“Being in Amway over the years has changed my attitude and priorities significantly. This business has nurtured my dream to do third world medicine and it gave me the time to do my dream.”

Clarence continues to return to Haiti, and we hope to see him again next year in Guatemala.

Read more about Dr. Clarence Freed at

1 day, 64 cities

Monday, 16 May, 2011

How do you coordinate activities across 64 projects in as many cities throughout India?

Give them a date. Give them a mission. Let them loose. 

That’s what happened on May 5, when the Amway Opportunity Foundation set a day aside to volunteer and give to children, working through partners across the country.

At Amway India’s head office in Delhi, every department from HR to IT to Marketing and Finance participated. More than 25 volunteers visited 70 children at the Deepalaya School.

Amway leaders Arvind Kalra and Yoginder Singh joined senior Amway Business Owners Rashmi and Sushil Pachnanda, and Harpeet Kaur and Bhupinder Jeet Singh to host the event.

The team gifted notebooks, toys and lunch boxes, and introduced magic shows, games and storytelling for the kids.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the space to tell 63 more stories, but each carried its own energy, enthusiasm and dedication to supporting children in need.

Thanks to Raj Narain for contributing to this post.




Sidewalk chalk masterpieces

Friday, 13 May, 2011

Art comes in many forms. It could be a painting, or a poem, or it could be swirled sidewalk chalk on a playground.

At the 25th Annual Very Special Arts (VSA) Festival, 1,300 students found out what art was to them. 

VSA of Grand Rapids works to bring art to students with disabilities. Art helps build self-confidence and personal satisfaction and breaks down emotional and psychological barriers, allowing these students to grow in and out of the classroom.

Last Friday, more than 1,300 students from West Michigan participated in the Festival, where they created and performed in mediums like pottery, dance, sidewalk chalk and miming. They used art tools made specifically for their needs.

Amway employees joined 500 other volunteers from schools and arts organizations around the city to help run the Festival. More than 40 activities allowed the students to experience art in many forms.

Because sometimes, even sidewalk chalk creates a masterpiece. 

See photos on the VSAGR Facebook page. Thanks to Samantha Bourque for submitting this story.

A lost art is a literacy tool

Wednesday, 11 May, 2011

Do you still write letters? You know, stationary with envelopes and stamps.

I’ve found that there is little call these days for me to write. It’s all type and click

Yet for the past seven years, I get out pen and paper once a month and write a letter to my pen pal.

It’s a program we established at Amway years ago for busy employees who want to volunteer, but didn’t have time to leave their desks every week to participate in inner-city mentoriing programs. So we exchange letters monthly, and hold an ice cream social at the schools once each year so we can meet our pen pals face-to-face.

I received the last letter of the school year today. My fourth-grade pal colored me a picture and was interested to hear about the book I had been reading (The Diary of Anne Frank).

As I look back at his letters, I can note improvements in spelling, longer sentences and better use of punctuation.

There is still a long way to go, but it is easy to see that this small act – one I look forward to every month – does make a difference.

Pen pals meet for the first time at this year’s ice cream social

Watch the the building of something new

Thursday, 5 May, 2011

We recently shared the story of Amway distributors who have been building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. This partnership spurred a larger commitment by Amway to grow the program across Latin America.

This video takes you to the building project in Guatemala, and the launch of a new Amway One by One partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

From Russia with Futbalishka

Monday, 2 May, 2011

Score: 3 to 3

The match between the Russians and Italians ends in a draw.

This was the culmination of the Equal in Sport program we introduced in January. Ten youth from the team “Futbalishka” in Moscow beat out seven other Russian teams to earn a trip to meet the world-famous AC Milan soccer team in Italy.

The players in the program have a range of physical abilities. Half would be considered disabled, but for this program, they blended with their friends from mainstream teams.

While in Italy, Team Futbalishka watched an AC Milan game and visited the locker rooms to meet the players. They also received special training at the AC Milan Academy Junior Summer Camp.

Later, a game between Russian Futbalishka and the Italian AC Milan Junior Team ended in a 3-to-3 tie. 

For Futbalishka, it was not Veni Vidi Vici. Instead, they would say: We came. We played. We won together.


Thanks to Sri Soekarmoen for contributing to this story.