There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing our community come together to create change and teach our children the importance of kindness. I was at a local fundraiser years ago benefitting inner city children and met a Cincinnati Bengals’ Rookie who overcame much adversity during his childhood. He was raised by a single mom, never knew his dad, and confided that volunteers with a similar type program from his hometown played an instrumental role in giving him hope for his future and potential during his youth. That night, he was the first to sign up to volunteer so he could give back and pay that lesson forward.
Similarly, one of my top Consultants inspired all of us on a recent Pure Romance incentive trip. Her children held cookie drives, took hot dogs and chips to their dad’s auto dealership, created buttons – all to raise money for the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. When another Consultant asked her how in the world she was able to get her kids to do this, she responded, “It starts with us!” She understood that we must lead by example.
This month, we put these principles into action and adopted two first-grade classrooms at William Howard Taft in Avondale. We donated much-deserved back-to-school supplies and followed up with an in-classroom visit from 25 Pure Romance staff members. Most of the students come from very large families with five to six siblings, so to have one-on-one attention with each staff member was one of the best gifts we could have given them. Needless to say, each child inspired us and left a huge impact. We also filled bags with Halloween candy, bought small pumpkins (hand-painted by our staff) and brought cupcakes for all of the children to decorate. They had more fun decorating than they did eating them! One little girl even said she didn’t want to spoil her dinner!
One of my favorite parts of the experience was when one of our graphic designers, Adam, volunteered to read the glow-in-the-dark book What Was I Scared Of? written by Dr. Seuss. Although I’ve always thought Adam looked like music artist Macklemore, when he entered the room, they all screamed, “It’s Justin Bieber!” As he turned each page, they happily interrupted, and asked question after question. Adam was quick on his feet and I’ve always found that if you give a child an answer, they’ll be grateful. The book taught the important message that every one has differences and should be treated with respect; with so much diversity in the room, it was an important lesson for the children. In fact, there was a shy boy who had gotten in a heated argument with the little girl next to him and by the time he was done reading, they were back to fast friends. Two other amazing volunteers were Juli and Brandy. Each read a book accompanied by spooky sound effects and random bat facts from the children.
While every child knows that one of the best things about Halloween is all the candy and goodies they get to indulge in, we thought it would be fun to reiterate how important it is to brush your teeth with a song! Nick was another Marketing employee that went above and beyond. I knew he was a talented musician so I had asked him if he’d sing a song to the children about brushing their teeth; he went to a coffee shop with his girlfriend and wrote a creative parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and sung it on guitar to both classrooms.
We even had backup dancers! Here are a couple verses:
My teeth are cruising’, for a candy bruisin’
Now I have this toothache in my mouth,
Thank goodness I know how…
To grab my toothbrush and scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub
Add toothpaste and scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub
Use that toothbrush and scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub
Brush it off! Brush it off!
I feel so blessed to have such an amazingly talented and giving staff. There are currently 300 companies in the area participating in this program – we are not just giving back, but working to create a culture of “Paying it Forward.” It’s our hope that by supporting our youth through this Adopt-A-Class program, this is just one more way that we can lead by example and help turn our children’s dreams into reality one day. How will you give back today? By choosing to “Do Life Different,” we can ensure that the world will truly be a better place for all of us to live.
To view the entire album of photos from this day, please visit my Facebook page.