Now having entered 2017, Live Civilly is looking back to examine the variety of partnerships it has enjoyed over the years. Each year brings a new opportunity, a new relationship, a new type of connection and 2016 was no exception. In December, Live Civilly conducted its first Corporate Youth Activity Day. Local employer, Association Headquarters in Mount Laurel, contacted Live Civilly to ask if we could run a “Family Community Service Day.” Association Headquarters is an Association Management Company that embraces a strong commitment to community service. The organization makes it a point to encourage their employees to participate in community service activities throughout the year. Their purpose for connecting with Live Civilly? To offer employees the opportunity to engage their families as well!

On December 15, Live Civilly visited the Association Headquarters building and worked with more than twenty children, their parents, and their parent’s co-workers to conduct a day-long service activity. The morning began with the children creating Live Civilly Service Jars – filled with service ideas that they could do on their own, with friends or with family. From picking up trash to collecting food to helping a neighbor, the children brainstormed dozens of ideas that became a source for continued service opportunities.

Following the service jars, and a service brainstorming session, the group created 50 giant “Blessings Bags.” These 10-gallon Ziploc bags were filled with everything from socks and hats to personal hygiene items and snacks, for homeless members of our community. As the children went from station to station filling their bags they chose inspirational bookmarks that they would then decorate. With phrases like “Courage is stronger than fear,” and “My possibilities are endless” the children decorated them with markers, paint, stickers and sparkles and placed them in each bag as a message of hope.

At the end of the day, this energetic group, still reveling in the success of the day grabbed the 50 filled bags and caravanned to the Extended Hand Ministries Code Blue Shelter in Mount Holly. As the children and their parents emerged from their cars next to the burnt-out factory that sits across from the shelter, the Director of the Center, Michael, welcomed us with open arms. The children excitedly, but somewhat hesitantly, entered the building at which point we all accompanied Michael to the chapel area. Michael explained the shelter, its purpose, how it functions and how important the gift of Blessings Bags was.

The afternoon continued as the children met shelter residents, toured the modest building, and asked more questions. At roughly 3:30, the children shook hands with Michael and his staff and volunteers and headed home…and as we left, Michaels evening guests began to arrive. December 15th marked the beginning of the first “Code Blue” cold snap. Homeless members of our community were seeking shelter and Michael and his dedicated staff were there to give it. In a subsequent conversation, Michael went on to say how treasured those bags were and how appreciative his clients were.

Making these kinds of connections are part of Live Civilly’s philosophy – bringing people together, and helping our youth understand the struggles that others face. Encouraging empathy and the desire to be an active member of the community is part of the “people helping people helping people helping people” mantra. A huge THANK YOU to Association Headquarters, their staff, their leadership team, and their families, for making the first Live Civilly Corporate Youth Activity Day a huge success. For more information about how your business can schedule a Corporate Youth Activity Day please contact us today!