Category “Uncategorized”

Puppy Dog Eyes – For the Blind

Thursday, 17 July, 2014

Imagine losing your sight.

How would you get to work? Catch up with friends? Pick your kids up from school?

Everyday activities like crossing a road or driving a car are taken for granted by many New Zealanders. Yet for more than 11,000 who are blind or have low vision, simple can be a real challenge.

That’s why Amway staff in New Zealand pulled out their rolling pins and put on their aprons to bake delicious Red Puppy Bikkies to help raise funds for the Blind Foundation to support local guide dogs.

Guide dogs help visually impaired people maintain their independence by moving around hazards, negotiating traffic, visiting the supermarket or riding a bus.

With funds raised from the Red Puppy Bikkies, cute little puppies go through two years of rigorous training.

Once they graduate as guide dogs there is not much these little furry friends can’t do … and not nearly as much standing in the way of people reaching their potential, regardless of their ability to see.

Thanks to Alison Hush and Antonia Krunes for sharing this story.

Five Reasons to Boost Volunteering

Thursday, 3 July, 2014

We tell many great volunteer stories on this blog. So why the importance on volunteering?

In the US, where volunteering actually saw a dip last year, thousands of people gathered in Atlanta recently to find ways to scale up cross-sector volunteering at the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service.

The star power was blinding. Neil Bush and Chelsea Clinton served as spokespeople and moderators to boost discussions around volunteering. Filmmaker Tyler Perry, Actress Mira Sorvino and Quarterback Drew Brees used their influence to inspire and introduce compelling causes. Civil rights leaders who marched and suffered with Martin Luther King Jr. shared their thoughts on the need for this generation to coalesce around a vision to change the world.

The conference was followed by intense two day meetings of corporate social responsibility leaders from the IAVE Global Corporate Volunteer Council. We shared learnings and feedback with each other, all on the road to leveraging each of our company’s people power to improve communities at the local and global level.

Boiling down all of the discussions, following are five key insights on the direction of volunteering.

1. VOLUNTEERING IS ON THE GLOBAL AGENDA.

The United Nations is focused on the next phase of post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations Volunteers makes a strong case that volunteerism as a key tool to support development work. UNV is working to mobilize the private sector and advocating the inclusion of volunteering in discussions of new Sustainable Development Goals.

2. COMPANIES ARE INVESTING HUGELY IN GLOBAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS.

The CEO-elect of UPS made a pledge on behalf of its 300,000 employees. They will attempt to generate 20 million volunteer hours by the year 2020. Amway has reached the mark of 1 million volunteer hours in a single year, as have a few other companies. Recent research by LBG Associates is working to identify the challenges and solutions to accommodate a wave of company volunteer programs going global for the first time.

3. VOLUNTEERING MAKES FOR MORE ENGAGED EMPLOYEES.

A 2014 study from Deloitte revealed that millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society. And new CEB research announced at the conference by the Points of Light Institute showed that employees who volunteer are 8% more engaged than their peers. Higher engagement means improved employee productivity and reduced costs of employee turnover. In fact, for the companies surveyed, by improving employee volunteer rates from 36% to 75%, they demonstrated a $14 million return for every 10,000 employees.

4. THERE IS A MIGRATION TOWARD PROFESSIONAL SKILLS.

More than 500 companies have joined a new initiative in partnership with the White House called A Billion + Change. It aims to boost the amount of pro bono and skills-based volunteer service in the United Sates. Already, they have garnered 2 billion hours in pledges, and hope to reach 5 billion by 2015. This initiative is a response to a growing trend of focus in volunteerism to fill gaps in the nonprofit sector by lending the time and expertise of professionals. From nonprofit board service to free consulting, volunteers are seeking new ways to burnish their skills and use their expertise and leadership outside the office.

5. CROSS-SECTOR COLLABORATION IS KEY.

Corporations are not the sole leaders of the conversation around volunteering – neither are nonprofit organizations, neither is the public sector. It will take ALL sectors working together to improve the world and address critical needs. Groups like the UN Volunteers and the International Association for Volunteer Effort are serving as conveners. And new organizations like Catchafire and Good Deeds Day are connecting and mobilizing. New frameworks of thinking like the Shared Value Initiative are making us smarter about how we approach critical issues. And innovations in online volunteering, crowd funding and microvolunteering are looking to serve a new market of needs to grow volunteerism.

The world will continue to be faced with challenges, but also opportunities to create. As civil rights crusader Reverend C.T. Vivian said to a crowd of 5,000 people, “The world will never be good enough for the next generation … you have to make the world you want.”

The Best Way to Spend a Saturday

Friday, 13 June, 2014

Every year, rain or shine, a group of volunteers meets in Grand Rapids, Michigan on a Saturday to help with the Michigan Special Olympics.

Sometimes the drive is short – just a few minutes to the Spring Games.

Other times, they load up on a bus and drive an hour and a half to Mount Pleasant, where Central Michigan University hosts the  Summer Games.

It’s not always easy to find a volunteer activity that provides so many benefits.

At the Special Olympics games, volunteers can participate in groups with their friends and family – and even young volunteers can play a role.

Volunteers work directly with the athletes who benefit from the program.

And they often learn about a new sport along the way.

Nonprofit expert Joanne Fritz has identified 10 ways to make sure volunteers come back, which include:

  • Welcoming them
  • Making them feel welcomed
  • Providing good training
  • Offering interesting work
  • Being clear about the time commitment
  • Making them feel appreciated
  • Communicating well and often
  • Letting them feel like they are improving the world
  • Facilitating social connections
  • Helping them learn something new

Special Olympics has created exactly this kind of experience for volunteers.

And while weekend volunteering can be the most difficult time to attract corporate staff, Amway employees keep coming back, year after year.

It might just be the best way to spend a Saturday.


Thanks to Julie Boehr, Jim Ayres and the many volunteers who support Michigan Special Olympics.

Latest Amway CSR Report Published

Tuesday, 10 June, 2014

Our 2013 Global Corporate Social Responsibility Report has just been published.

It covers a lot of activity and progress towards engaging our PEOPLE, utilizing the expertise of our PRODUCTS, and ensuring sustainable PERFORMANCE.

Some highlights include:

  • A recap of our 10 year, 10 million children milestone celebration for the Amway One by One Campaign for Children
  • The launch of the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign to fight global childhood malnutrition
  • Gains in waste recycling, alternative energy use and product lifecycle analysis

Find out more at the Amway Newsroom.

Adventures in Babysitting

Friday, 30 May, 2014

As a father of four, I’m very selective about who takes care of my children. Our babysitter list is short and in most cases we call on the grandparents.

Now that we have a daughter who is old enough to babysit on her own, we want her to be prepared, and able to take care of other people’s children.

Fortunately for her, she will soon get a chance to attend Adventures in Babysitting.

It’s a program hosted by Amway Protection Services staff who, in addition to overseeing the protection of employees and property, lend their expertise to help in our community, and around our offices and manufacturing facilities.

Adventures in Babysitting is a free program for youth children and friends of Amway employees. They learn child and infant CPR, first aid, diaper changing, feeding time, where to call in an emergency, home-alone safety, the responsibilities of babysitting and more.

Our experts also draw on the expertise of community partners, including the DeVos Children’s Hospital, the Ada Fire Department, the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the Big Steps Little Feet Childcare Center.

While there is no way to cover every situation that comes up, I will feel more confident knowing my daughter has been trained and thought through different scenarios.

I’ll also be much more likely to expand my list of babysitters to include those who have been trained … and give the grandparents a rest.

Written by Jesse Hertstein. Thanks to Julie Boehr and Brian Savin for sharing this information.

From the Mouth of Richard Branson

Wednesday, 28 May, 2014

“Business leaders who are entrepreneurially minded should get out and tackle the issues of the world. Small business can address more local problems. Larger business should take on global issues.”

Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur, adventurer and philanthropist, spoke at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, near Amway headquarters, last night.

He talked about starting more than 400 companies that include Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records. He recounted his crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon after accidentally losing two fuel tanks.

He spoke of being knighted by the Queen of England, and his fear that she would chastise him for a song produced by his company that did not speak fondly of her. And he spoke of his latest venture – making space travel available to all – or at at least, for now, all who can afford the $250,000 price tag.

But mostly, he spoke about changing the world for the better.

His company created the Virgin Unite program, which is utilizing the strengths of the company – entrepreneurial minded thinking – to create solutions to poverty. You can’t help but draw parallels with Amway One by One, which mobilizes the generosity of our own business owners and employees to address local issues.

Branson also shared his experience working with The Elders, a group of global leaders founded by President Nelson Mandela to reduce conflicts around the world. He believes that in this day and age, we should be able to resolve differences without war and strife.

Here are a few more nuggets from the night:

“Businesses owners looking only to make money usually don’t succeed. People who are successful often start their business out of frustration.”

“Business gets a bad rap … they are generally created to make people’s lives better. At the end of the year, they hope more money comes in than goes out.”

“If you find yourself in a position where you can make a positive difference in other people’s lives, it would be a shame not to give 100 percent to help.”

Big recognition by the Chinese government

Wednesday, 30 April, 2014

Our own President of Amway Greater China, Gan Chee Eng, was among 15 people to receive special recognition by the Beijing municipal government.

The Great Wall Friendship Award is given to honor outstanding contributions to the development of the city of Beijing.

Gan Chee Eng received the award because of the efforts of the Amway Charity Foundation in promoting public welfare projects.

On a Mission to Tacloban

Thursday, 20 March, 2014

It is almost gone from the media now, but the effects of Typhoon Haiyan are still very real.

Amway leaders made the 700-mile trek to Tacloban and Ormoc to visit some of our partner schools in that area, and deliver supplies to Amway Business Owners that were affected.

Families lined up in the rain to receive supplies that would help them stay healthy and clean as they worked to rebuild their communities.

Michelle Ochoa and Christine Sarmiento-Tria from our corporate office in Manila, Jom Diaz from our distribution center and Helen Espedido from our warehouse distributed 600 hygiene kits to 300 Amway Business Owners.

Another 400 were given to teachers at our partner schools, and families still living in an evacuation center.

The larger bulk of 10,000 kits that were packed by US employees on our Amway Universal Children’s Day will be distributed by International Aid and Convoy of Hope.

While in Tacloban, Amway continued its commitment to improving literacy by extending its reach to 11 schools in the area, which serve 15,000 children.

To deliver on a partner pledge made to the Department of Education in February, volunteers delivered books to all 11 school libraries in Tacloban City.

Our commitment to disaster affected communities cannot end after the initial wave of aid. Families need help rebuilding, and Amway leaders across the Philippines have shown outstanding support in keeping the cause alive.

We will try to share more stories as we see the hardest hit areas restored and energized, one person at a time, one by one.

Thanks to Michelle Ochoa for sharing these stories, and for all her organizing and advocacy efforts.

One Day In Malaysia

Friday, 14 March, 2014

One day in Malaysia saw the bright colors of paint, heard the deep sound of drums and smelled the freshness of green plants.

It was the Amway Universal Children’s Day, when activities were happening in 57 countries around the world.

Amway Malaysia teamed up with the State Welfare Agency and longtime partner Rumah Tunas Harapan Homes to celebrate with foster children and their parents.

The day started by teaching children about helping others.

They were given paint and ceramics to decorate, which would later be sold to raise money for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

While the paint dried, Amway invited expert musicians from Hands Percussion to teach the children how to play the drums.

Hands Percussion sends music teachers to remote areas of the country to spread the joy and learning of music, rhythm and dance.

Later that day, children, volunteers and parents put fresh plants in the 200 decorated pots, and put them up for sale, raising money for disaster relief.

Amway also delivered its own donation to Rumah Tunas Harapan, which will provide support for four of the homes that serve children who participated in the day’s events.

A new year of partnership has already begun, but for these new friends, the memories are still fresh.

Thanks to Joanne Yap and Russell Tan for sharing this story. Watch out for more posts on the Amway Universal Children’s Day in the upcoming weeks.

Zumbathon helps children with disabilities in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014

How can you get some exercise, learn some dance moves, meet new people and raise money to help others?

In a word: ZUMBA.

Last week, hundreds of people in Puerto Rico came together in a two-hour Zumbathon, led by 11 professional trainers.

An eclectic crowd danced to choreographed moves and lively music as they raised money for a good cause.

The event was organized by Amway, and Amway matched every $10-$15 entry fee to raise money for the Society for Education and Rehabilitation (SER).

SER is a nonprofit organization specializing in the needs of children with disabilities, through therapy services and preschool education that blends children with and without disabilities.

SER is also a partner of Easter Seals, another organization that helps children and people with disabilities through advocacy and direct services.

Easter Seals has been a decades-long partner of Amway in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Throughout the crowd, you could find people of all ages and fitness levels, as well as children with Spina Bifida, Autisim, Hirschsrpung and other disabilities.

But despite their differences, the crowd was connected by a common activity for a common cause … and for two hours, they showed their spirit lively and loudly!

Thanks to Ruben Familia and Rut Amaro for sharing this story.