In 2013, we launched the “Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign.” This employee-led and funded campaign seeks to support national and international projects that are of interest to our employees. This campaign gives the D&I Council an opportunity to lend its support and voice to the charitable efforts of our employees and the charities they support, and in so doing, galvanize the entire organization around a common goal.
Below is a list of our outreach initiatives.
Our Diversity and Inclusion Council is pleased to launch the fourth “Helping Hands, Open Arms” Campaign, an employee-led and funded initiative, with a focus this year to benefit children who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
We are partnering with Independence House, an organization on Cape Cod that provides free resources, advocacy, and counseling services. One of their newest initiatives is an emergency domestic and sexual violence residence to meet the safety and well-being of survivors, including children, who are deeply impacted.
Our goal is to raise $1,000 which will be used to furnish a space where children receiving services at this emergency residence can relax, study, and play. Independence House will use the funds collected to purchase a computer desk, table and chairs, book cart, and rug for this space. Any funds raised above $1000 will be used to purchase books to stock the library cart.
A Message From the Diversity and Inclusion Council
We continue to be incredibly thankful that the individuals we serve and our colleagues in Florida and Georgia remained safe during Hurricane Irma. As our programs are working to get back to their routines, we are mindful of the many people impacted by both Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the devastation left behind.
Some of you have inquired about ways to help support residents in the affected areas. The Diversity and Inclusion Council collaborated with the Philanthropy Department to assist in identifying organizations that are currently supporting hurricane relief efforts in some way. A list is provided below with links to the respective websites. Please know that we are not endorsing one charity over another, but want to share information about organizations providing hurricane relief support.
Salvation Army Even after disaster response efforts are over, Salvation Army disaster teams will remain in communities impacted by both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, supporting long-term disaster recovery efforts and providing ongoing assistance to those in need.
Save the Children is mobilizing teams and supplies to reach children and families most affected by the Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, including Child Friendly Space kits to be used in shelters after the storm passes to give kids a safe place to play and read away from the stress of the situation. In addition, baby and toddler items such as pack and play cribs, strollers, baby wash basins, and infant hygiene supplies are being procured to help families who had to evacuate without needed items for their children.
Convoy of Hope’s goal is “not only to be one of the first organizations to respond to a disaster, but also one of the last to leave.” Teams in the field distribute relief supplies to storm survivors, coordinate volunteers, and assist in cleanup efforts.
Donations to the Best Friends Animal Society will go toward recovery efforts to help reunite pets with families, help animals taken to shelters find homes, and help Houston and Florida area rescue groups and shelters rebuild and recover.
All Hands Volunteers will be working on removing debris and repairing damaged homes.
The American Kidney Fund is providing emergency financial grants to dialysis patients.
Catholic Charities provides food, clothing, shelter and support services to those from all religious backgrounds.
Feeding South Florida is a statewide hunger relief organization with an active presence in every part of Florida.
A list of all food pantry locations in Florida, so you may pick a community in need.
The Miami Diaper Bank is actively collecting donations and will use 100 percent of the funds to directly supply families in South Florida with diapers.
Greater Houston Community Fund is a broad-based relief fund established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. You can give here.
The Texas Diaper Bank in San Antonio is asking for money for diapers and wipes.
The L.G.B.T.Q. Disaster Relief Fund will be used to help people “rebuild their lives through counseling, case management, direct assistance with shelf stable food, furniture, housing and more.”
May Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council supported the efforts of Rosemary Nyamoki, her Pastor Selwyn Bodley, and volunteers from their church, Glad Tidings (GTC), by helping to raise funds for a sustainable agricultural project for a Boys’ Home in Marbial, Haiti.
Weeks before the group was slated to travel to Haiti, Hurricane Matthew, a category 5 storm, struck southwestern Haiti devastating the island—killing hundreds, and destroying over 200,000 homes. The May community rallied once again doubling its efforts and raised over $3500 to aid the people of Marbial.
The third project of our Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign — the Haiti initiative was successfully completed in November 2016.
A Special Thank You
Dear May Community,
Due, in no small part to your incredible generosity, our recent trip to assist the people of Marbial, Haiti was a huge success. On behalf of Glad Tidings Church, Rosemary Nyamoki and the people of Marbial, I would like to thank you for your love and generosity that enabled us to meet so many needs of hurting and struggling people.
Pastor Selwyn D Bodley
Glad Tidings Church
A project of the “Helping Hands, Open Arms” Campaign*
The D&I’s Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign is proud to partner with Rosemary Nyamoki, Assistant Residential Teacher at the May Center School in Randolph, Mass., to raise funds for a sustainable project in Marbial, Haiti.
Originally from Kenya, Africa, Rosemary attends Glad Tidings Church (GTC) in Quincy, Mass., a multi-cultural church led by Pastor Selwyn Bodley. For the past several years, Pastor Bodley and members of his congregation have been working to help rebuild communities at home and abroad devastated by natural and man-made disasters. Marbial is one such community.
The D&I Council has pledged to support Rosemary and GTC by supporting the Boys’ Home in Marbial. This home houses 17 boys, ages 5 – 14, whose parents are deceased or unable to care for them.
With your help, we pledged to raise $1,150 to purchase livestock and hire a local community farmer who can teach the boys how to care for these animals.
This agricultural program will be a sustainable project that will serve as a food and income source for the Boys Home for years to come. Additionally, the boys will be taught farming — i.e., animal care, gardening, soil preparation, irrigation crop rotation, and harvesting. Upon leaving the Boys Home, each boy will not only have the skills to farm, but will be gifted an animal.
In many rural communities abroad, the gift of an animal is comparable to giving someone a small business. Animal donations increase a person’s access to food, schooling, and medicine. Most importantly, they receive a sustainable livelihood and the foundation for their own small business.
Ravaged by a large-scale earthquake in 2010 that left hundreds dead and many more displaced, Marbial has been struggling to regain its footing. Like May Institute, GTC has several members originally from Haiti. The GTC community rallied to help the people of Haiti.
Today, GTC provides ongoing support for the Boys’ Home, a school, church, and medical clinic in Marbial.
In the United States, millions of children live below the federal poverty level. More than 305,000 children ages 12 and under in Massachusetts live in low-income or poverty-stricken households. In any given year, more than 100,000 children in the state will experience homelessness.
What can we do to help?
We asked employees that question last fall as we began planning this year’s Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign project. Several of you suggested we consider Cradles to Crayons (C2C), an organization that provides children living in poverty with some of the essential items they need.
We believe the goals of our Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign and C2C’s mission are a perfect fit, and are thrilled to announce that on April 1, 2015 we will launch a company-wide Sneaker and Socks Drive, since these are items needed year-round by C2C.
Join the effort in any of three ways:
1. Donate new sneakers or socks. Drop boxes will be located in the reception areas at various sites. May Institute will cover shipping costs to C2C.
2. Make a financial donation online. Website details will be available by April 1, 2015.
3. Volunteer. Check out the C2C website at www.cradlestocrayons.org to sign up!
To view photos of Helena’s trip to Liberia, visit the Flickr album here.
To read about the backpack project in the Liberia Inquirer newspaper, click here.
May Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council supported the efforts of Helena Jones-Wreh and Fred Mugaga by helping to raise awareness among staff about the plight of girls in Liberia, and launching the first project of its Helping Hands, Open Arms Campaign — the Liberian Backpack Project. The project, outlined below, was successfully completed in March 2014.
A Special Thank You
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In March, I went on a mission to Liberia to deliver backpacks with educational materials to girls, and clothing and toys to the students of Klay District. Students from 15 different schools benefited from the Liberian Backpack Project. Because of the demand, some students were given notebooks, pens, and pencils without a backpack. The joy and happiness they all expressed is beyond words.
The community showed so much appreciation and gratefulness, that they honored me as a hero. I was quick to let them know that the real heroes were my friends at May Institute. I could not have done this by myself. Your generosity made so many people happy.
On behalf of Daughters of Bomi, the organization with which I am affiliated, the people of Klay District, and of Liberia, I say a huge thank you to all of you for your kindness. You have shown me that we are a family at May Institute. I can never thank you enough for helping to educate Liberian girls and for the many other donations. May the good Lord continue to bless you.
Our goal: To help purchase and ship 1,000+ fully supplied educational backpacks for distribution to Liberian girls in the village of Klay. Each backpack will cost an estimated $20 and will include notebooks, pens and pencils, rulers, sharpeners, erasers, crayons/color pencils and markers.
You can donate money for us to purchase:
Or, you can give your gift of cash or a check (made out to “May Institute/ Backpack Project”) to your supervisor or the D&I designee at your center or program. Thank you!
Story: The Liberian Backpack Project is the endeavor of two Program Specialists at the Revere Day Hab —Helena Jones-Wreh and Fred Mugaga. Helena visited her homeland, Liberia, in 2003, shortly after a 14-year civil war ended. She was heartbroken to see tremendous suffering, and to learn about the plight of young girls in her village of Klay. Many of these girls were being denied an education and were forced to marry at an early age. This made it difficult for women to access economic opportunities and, for most, trapped them a in cycle of poverty that continues today. Helena is doing all she can to advance women in her native country and promote the education of girls.
*The “Helping Hands, Open Arms” Campaign is an employee-led and employee-funded campaign that seeks to support national and international projects that are of interest to our employees. It is sponsored by the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council at May Institute.