Archive for May, 2012

Some partnerships just keep growing

Wednesday, 30 May, 2012

You can never anticipate all of the spinoff activities that come with an Amway One by One partnership.

In Southern California, home of our Nutrilite headquarters, we’ve had a longstanding partnership with the Buena Park Boys & Girls Club. In fact, the Club was first established by Carl Rehnborg, the founder of Nutrilite.

So when Nutrilite began sponsoring the Orange County Marathon a few years ago, it was only a matter of time before our employees would find some way to include Club members.

This year, approximately 4,100 children from 65 schools participated in the Orange County Marathon Kids Run, which included many Boys & Girls Club members.

 

Preparation for the Kids Run began long before the event, with a school curriculum that promoted active, healthy and nutritious lifestyles. The runners trained through their school running clubs, and actually completed a marathon – one mile at a time, over several weeks. Their final mile was achieved with great fanfare during the Kids Run.

And it wasn’t just the individual accomplishments that counted. One Boys & Girls Club member was seen re-joining the race after he crossed the finish line when he noticed a struggling teammate. He put his arm around her ran with her, making sure that she too was able to finish.

 

Thanks to all the runners and all of the volunteers for making it a great race … and a great partnership!

Lighting up the world through the classroom

Tuesday, 29 May, 2012

During the 2012 Chinese New Year, a group of volunteers helped the world of some elementary students become brighter … literally!

Two elementary schools in Qiujiadian Village in Tai’an expressed their wishes for brighter classrooms to improve the learning environment.

Volunteers from the Amway Shandong Branch heard about the wishes, and raised money to install new dust-free blackboards with fluorescent lamps for all ten classrooms in the school.

The volunteers themselves donated 18,000 yen ($2,800 US) and another 95,000 yen ($15,000) from the community.

The project was delivered as part of a wish-granting program to kick off the national holiday. The updated classrooms give a reason to celebrate – and a bright path to a new year.

Thanks to Rowley Luo for sharing this story.

A special day in Fiji

Friday, 25 May, 2012

Three hundred volunteers. One hundred students. Five villages. One future doctor. It all adds up to what happened on May 21, 2012 in Lomawai, Fiji, at a local school near the Amway Australia and New Zealand Achievers event.

There, Amway Independent Business Owners renovated a flood-damaged school that serves remote villages and provides hope to students whose families are likely living on less than $5 per day.

An invitation from an eight-year-old student at the Wai District School prompted IBOs to spend the day constructing new tables and benches; repairing desks; repainting blackboards and ceilings; bringing new life to the outdoor play areas and the bus shelter; and making the library a fuller, happier place to study.

The students showed their appreciation through dance and song, and welcomed the help with open arms and smiling faces. One IBO described the day’s work like this: “It’s nice to be here and contributing, really making a difference so when we leave here, we’ll leave behind something a lot better.”

As the invitations stated: “No experience necessary – just a giving heart.”

When it comes to Amway IBOs, those are never in short supply.

 Thanks to Cindy Droog and Kevin Lowe for sharing this story.

Girl Scout Cookies to share

Thursday, 24 May, 2012

From guest blogger Angela Nelson, who leads Amway corporate citizenship programs in West Michigan:

What do you get when you bring together girls and cookies? You get Girl Scout Cookies of course.

Like many across the United States, I look forward to the sale of Girl Scout Cookies every year. While it is easy to assume that everyone has enjoyed the yummy goodness of a Thin Mint or Caramel deLight, there are many who cannot afford to purchase this unique treat.

That’s why Girl Scout Brownie Troop #13979, from Collins Elementary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, decided to ask their customers to purchase one additional box of cookies that would be donated to Kids Food Basket, a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to attack childhood hunger.

In doing so, these Girl Scouts sold an additional 450 boxes of cookies, providing more than 6,000 cookies to children who rely on Kids Food Basket for evening meals.

Amway recently hosted these Girl Scouts to tour our headquarters, and told us all about their innovative service project. We thought this story was as sweet as … well, cookies. And certainly worth sharing.

Expanding our scope of impact in Vietnam

Tuesday, 22 May, 2012

After successfully supporting 2,200 life-changing medical surgeries for children, Amway Vietnam is expanding its reach.

In a new partnership with the Department of Child Protection and Care under the Ministry of Labor, children and families in Thanh Hoa will receive medical aid, educational support, vocational and agricultural training.

Thanh Hoa is an economically-challenged province in the North Central region of Vietnam with a large area, rough terrain, an under-developed transportation system and a high rate of households in poverty. Thanh Hoa also has a significant number of children who are abandoned, disabled, HIV-infected or dioxin-infected.

Efforts to help children in Thanh Hoa have achieved some success, but there is still much to do to stabilize the community and provide opportunities for children.

Through the Amway-Ministry of Labor partnership, three communities will be targeted with phases of data collection and need assessment, raising awareness, and providing direct support.

Amway Vietnam has committed 3 billion Dong ($144,000 USD) to kick off the programs, and expects to support approximately 2,000 children. The partnership kicked off in November, and the work is already underway.

Learn more and follow our progress on the Amway Vietnam One by One Facebook page.

Thanks to Dang Ngoc Thu Ha for sharing this story.

The emerging role of volunteerism

Friday, 18 May, 2012

Take note. Volunteerism is evolving, both in the United States and around the world.

In the US, what was once just a thing you did for your neighbor, your school or your congregation, has become much more formalized.

Some high schools require it for graduation and most colleges consider it a major factor on an application. You can now count volunteer time as experience on your resume. Many of those out of work volunteer to exercise their skills or build up networks. And those building their careers often volunteer to gain experience in a different environment. The New York Times called it a “Gateway to a Career.” It can certainly be a consideration when we hire employees at Amway headquarters, and most of our college interns are seasoned volunteers.

There is even a standardized value placed on volunteer time by the Independent Sector: $21.79. Now nonprofits can even quantify it as the value of a donation. It means more resources are devoted to critical issues, and people can sometimes provide more impact than money alone. In 2010, Amway volunteers logged 1 million volunteer hours. If taken in US value (although many of our hours are global), this equates to more than $20,000,000 in donation value.

We’ve begun to segment the types of volunteerism. There is individual volunteering, like school mentors. Group volunteering takes on projects like building playgrounds and cleaning up beaches. Skill-based brings expertise to improve the effectiveness of a charitable organization. Nonprofit board service means dedicated, strategic support at the leadership level. We exercise every one of these types of volunteering with Amway employees and distributors, and see significant benefits to our employees and to the community.

Globally, volunteerism is picking up the pace. For countries that have traditionally relied on governments to be the sole provider of social services, it is a relatively new concept. Yet it is gaining traction as a way to improve communities and help the disadvantaged, particularly when the economic downturn means cutbacks in government services. In Russia, we’ve had to introduce the concept to Amway distributors, but it’s taken off in a big way from there. In China, where the United Nations says perceptions of volunteerism are advancing rapidly, Amway has built a network of more than 68,000 volunteers – the largest volunteer group in the country, involved in everything from education to disaster relief.

The business community sees only growth in engaging employee volunteers. According to a recent Forbes survey of 311 global executives, most from multibillion-dollar companies, more than two-thirds say that they believe their focus on volunteerism will increase over the next three years and that volunteerism is an essential part of their company’s leadership development strategy. Harvard Business Review also recently acknowledged the important role that volunteerism plays in making corporate social responsibility a focal point for business.

So is volunteering becoming institutionalized? Perhaps. And this many not be a bad thing.

While we find valuable and innovative ways to use our time to help improve the world – and improve ourselves – the hours that won’t get logged are the ones where we help the elderly neighbor next door, or the co-worker who is battling an illness, or the friend who lost their job.

As long as we follow our hearts as much as our strategies, then the changing role of volunteerism will be a very good thing.

Sichuan sunshine in the wintertime

Tuesday, 15 May, 2012

Holding popcorn and sitting in front of a large screen to enjoy a movie may not such a big deal for children in urban communities. However, it can be a daydream for children who live in remote areas of China.

This winter, the daydream came true for 5,000 students from 25 boarding schools in the Sichuan Province.

Amway volunteers helped organized the Ba Ba Film Festival, named for the flat, open spaces where the films are shown.

Behind the scenes, Amway volunteers spent twelve days traveling through the mountains from place to place, carrying heavy equipment to set up the shows.

The volunteers dedicated themselves to the idea that “every drop of sweat could nurture a seed in a child’s mind, and help them grow faster to see the beauty of outside world.”

Thanks to Rowley Luo for sharing this story.

Contributing to a success story

Monday, 14 May, 2012

Heliópolis is located in the southeast part of São Paulo, in Brazil. The community is divided into 14 plots called “glebas,” where tens of thousands of people live in crowded spaces. It was considered one of the largest slums, or “favelas” in Brazil, but through a process of urbanization, it is improving and now has the status of a neighborhood district.

Amway volunteers have been helping to speed up the development of Heliópolis by remodeling homes for families in need, working with Habitat for Humanity. Last month, 36 Amway Business Owners, employees and suppliers joined Habitat to remodel 15 homes, working alongside the home owners.

Here is a short video documenting their efforts:

Thanks to Nancy Cortez for sharing this story.

Calls to action across India

Friday, 11 May, 2012

Amway has elevated its activity level for children in India over the past few weeks. There has been a flurry of action – mobilizing employees and distributors, as well as elected officials and nonprofit organizations. Here are a few highlights:

APRIL 1: After a visit to Amway headquarters earlier this year, Deepalaya School leaders asked for more education about direct selling for some of their older students. Business Development Manager Kanwardeep Narula gladly volunteered, leading a session that taught students about the socioeconomic impact of the direct selling industry, and how a person-to-person business is owned and operated.

APRIL 20: After sponsoring a FICCI Ladies Organization session recognizing visually impaired women who have achieved great things, Amway employees welcomed the award recipient, Dr. Kanchan Gaba, who is Secretary General of National Association for the Blind, a long time partner of the Amway Opportunity Foundation.

MAY 1: In honor of International Labor Day, Amway worked with AASHIANA to create a forum to discuss how government, the courts, citizens and the business community can work together to eradicate child labor. Local leaders and dignitaries – including the Minister for Labour and Employment, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development — discussed strategies and tactics to make a difference for the children of India.

MAY 5: Amway once again coordinated a day of action for its distributors and employees at its 64 partner orphanages across the country. While support is focused on basic needs throughout the year, this day is an opportunity for volunteers and children to have fun together, with gift giving, entertainment and laughter.

MAY 6: Amway entered into a partnership with the Balaji Charitable Trust to re-establish the Shri Radha Banke Bihari Hospital in Vrindavan – one of the oldest cities in the country. Upgraded maternity and gynecological facilities and equipment will meet the needs of local mothers and their children.

A preschool rises up in Turkey

Wednesday, 9 May, 2012

On the outskirts of the Eastern Anatolian city of Elazığ, an area with a high population of low income families, a brand new preschool is taking shape. 

For years, Amway Europe has combined efforts of Amway Business Owners, employees and the company to support projects through the Amway One by One campaign.

From direct donations to the sales of pins and mugs, these efforts have added up to big results – this year producing a new preschool in an area of high need, the third one built with support from Amway in Turkey.

The preschool in Elazığ should be open in time for school in September, and will accommodate 100 children.

Thanks to all of the ABOs and employees across our 29 countries affiliates in Europe for your hard work and generosity!