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Making a difference for 225 students in New Orleans

Four years ago, the Alliance revived an almost forgotten tradition by inviting Annual Meeting attendees to participate in a community service project.  In San Antonio, we painted and landscaped a family services center; in Chicago, we renovated two St. Vincent de Paul retail stores; in Denver, we prepared two Salvation Army homeless shelters for the winter season.  In each case, executives from Alliance member societies had the chance to personify the characteristic that distinguishes fraternal life insurers from every other financial services organization:  the “give-back” gene that’s embedded in each of our societies’ DNA.

Painting and landscaping at
the Family Services Center,
San Antonio, 2009

Over the years we’ve received lots of feedback from those who’ve participated in these projects.  More than a few have pointed out that the physical labor involved was better suited to 20-somethings than our cadre of well-meaning, but decidedly middle-aged volunteers (especially clearing that overgrown lot adjacent to the St. Vincent DePaul store on the south side of Chicago!).  Others have said that the locations of the service events are a little too far from the site of the Annual Meeting, reducing the amount of time we actually have to complete the work.  And finally, quite a few folks have told us that while the community service event is a wonderful idea, they regularly participate in (and organize) such activities at their own societies, and they attend the Annual Meeting to learn how they can better manage their own organizations and community service activities.

Clearing brush at Chicago’s
St. Vincent de Paul Store, 2010

We took all this feedback into account while planning our 2012 event, and we think we have come up with a plan that allows us to exemplify the fraternal “differentiator,” while keeping our volunteers on site and focusing our effort on providing the highest quality educational program for all segments of the membership attending this year’s Annual Meeting.

Keeping it local with the Knights of Peter Claver

Thanks to the help of the Knights of Peter Claver, the Alliance’s New Orleans-headquartered member society, we’ve joined forces with St. Leo the Great School on a project that will provide each of the 225 students with a new backpack full of school supplies for the academic year.  Even better, all the supplies – notepads, pens and pencils, portfolios, etc. – have been donated by OfficeMax, the Alliance’s office supply program partner, and through generous donations from The Berwyn Group and Everest Funeral Package LLC.

All the school supplies will be on hand in the Lafayette Ballroom on Thursday, September 6, at 1:00 p.m.  Volunteers will set-up assembly lines to stuff the supplies into the backpacks for delivery to the school later that afternoon.  This project does not require bulging biceps or chainsaws, but the impact on the children of St. Leo the Great will be felt for months to come.

Bring a book to NOLA

Even though we’ve got more than enough volunteers pre-registered for the community service project, all attendees are encouraged to make a contribution to this campaign by bringing a book to donate to the St. Leo the Great’s library.  Please bring any new primary level chapter books for grades K-3 and grades 4-6; either paperback or hardcover is fine but hardcover books are easier to handle for younger children.  Click here or here to see recommendations of books for these “Big Easy Readers.” Just drop the book off at the collection box at the registration desk by Saturday noon.

How about a little something for the effort?

A special thanks to OfficeMax for their generous support of this project.  And a special request to Alliance members who want to acknowledge this contribution:  Check out the discount program built just for Alliance members that provides discounts on office and break room supplies and printing projects. Click here for details.

3 Responses

  1. Awesome community service project this year! Shows that a project does not have to be labor intensive to have an impact. And a plus; you don’t have to board a bus to participate!

  2. I am continuously amazed by the impact the Alliance has on communities across the US. Well done!

  3. Joseph…finally caught up with August blogs. I thought your August 1st video presentation was excellent. It was even better seeing you live and in-person this month. I would like to those of you who saw the video but have never met my brother to know that he’s far more handsome in person. However, better than his good looks are his knowledge, values and great big heart. Love you Bro!

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