What is the best way to reach your friends? Email? Social Media? Messenger? Text? Whatever it is, we got you covered. We are #BetterTogether. Thank you for your support! Here we go…
We have two days for getting deals: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back to our community. Giving is the reason for the season, after all. Kick off the beginning of giving season with #GivingTuesday on December 3rd.
This year, I am supporting Alvis for #GivingTuesday. This organization helps to make #180degreeimpact in our community. They provide services in residential reentry, developmental disabilities supported living, workforce development, mental health & addictions treatment, and family support.
Can you help our clients #RewriteTheStory and turn lives around? Here is how you can help:
3. Share Alvis’ social media posts and use the hashtags: #RewriteTheStory along with #180degreeimpact
Social Media Post Option 1:
#GivingTuesday is just around the corner! Join me on December 3rd as I support Alvis and help people in our community. This holiday season, more than ever, we need to give our community the gift of rewriting their stories. To learn more about this award-winner non-profit, follow @180degreeimpact
Mark your calendars! #GivingTuesday is December 3rd! Join the movement and support Alvis as they help to improve the holiday season for those recovering for addiction, handling a disability or reentering into our community. Donate online at https://alvis.kindful.com/?campaign=1045825 or text TUESDAY to 614-881-2733
Social Media Post Option 3:
The holiday season is a difficult time for those struggling to maintain their economic independence. Alvis helps those who are recovering from addiction to obtain their own economic independence and stability. Help those who need it most this holiday season by donating to Alvis this #GivingTuesday
“After a great experience, we wanted to keep volunteering with Alvis.”
Lori Robinson-Terry, Insurance/Risk Manager at M/I Homes, has been a volunteer at Alvis for about five years. She first came to know the agency when, as a new employee at M/I Homes, she was part of a group planning to participate in United Way of Central Ohio’s “Community Care Day,” (now called the Columbus Volunteer Challenge). Lori and her group came across a project at Alvis to help paint the interior of one of our supported living homes for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD). None of them had heard of Alvis before but the project sounded interesting and like a good group project.
After meeting some Alvis clients and hearing about the agency’s work to turn lives around, Lori and other members of the M/I team decided they wanted to do more with Alvis. During that same year, M/I was looking for a new “Holiday Cheer” recipient and decided to sponsor the holiday events for all of Alvis’ clients in our DD Services Division. Working with individual gift lists that included such items a CD player alongside of less traditional items like an unabridged dictionary, the group purchased gifts, helped to fill stockings and volunteered at the party.
In January, a group of DD clients came to M/I to personally thank all of the staff who had contributed to such a great holiday. The client’s energy and enthusiasm was contagious and from that day on, M/I was hooked on helping Alvis clients and began looking for additional ways to become involved.
As the new head of the Employee Activity Committee at M/I Homes, Lori wanted to make the Holiday Cheer program an even bigger event. Lori also was looking for opportunities that provided a personal connection to the people in the program. “Alvis isn’t a big name,” said Lori. “It’s not an agency that you see on billboard and know is getting a lot of stuff, so for us, it provides a more desirable experience to work with a nonprofit that we can touch and feel.”
In 2014, Alvis began a new program to help parents and children rebuild relationships that have been broken apart by addiction and justice involvement. Lori and the rest of the M/I team wanted to get in on the ground floor of working with this new program, so they decided to make the Alvis Family and Children’s Program the annual beneficiary of their Holiday Cheer program. Each year, M/I’s involvement in the Family and Children’s Program has grown. For Holiday Cheer, Alvis families are sponsored by one of M/I’s departments. This helps to build the personal connection between one department and one family. Kids are asked to make a list of one need, one book and one want and mothers also make a list of needs.
In 2017, 52 kids and their families in the Alvis Family and Children’s program were overwhelmed with gifts that surpassed their lists and even their dreams. But the Holiday Cheer program is more than just gifts – it also provides hope and a second chance to become a family again. Each year, M/I volunteers also came to the party to celebrate with families and bring a professional photographer so families will have a happy holiday memory keepsake.
M/I staff get a lot out of the experience, too. “I can still remember a little girl who met Santa for the first time. I will always remember her smile, her excitement, and the hugs for bringing Santa,” said Emily Smith, formerly with M/I and now the Communications Manager for Pelatonia. “At that moment I knew we were truly doing something to better the lives of others and helping them to make memories with their moms.”
“Every year gets better and better and the kids are so appreciative. The joy that comes from seeing the look on a child’s face when she gets what she had hoped for can’t be beat,” said Lori. “The personal connection and the fact that Alvis works with people that have kind of been run over by society keep me volunteering at Alvis. I share the story of working with the families at Alvis with my family and friends – I love sharing this experience and I could look at the pictures of the kids at the holiday party for hours.”
“Volunteer work is important to everyone,” continued Lori. “There’s just too much hate and anger around us these days and I think volunteering is a great way to feel better.” In addition to her volunteer work at Alvis, Lori is also President of the PTA at her daughter’s school. “Parents should be involved in their child’s life and making their community better,” said Lori. “Children learn by watching what their parents do.” Lori also brings her daughter with her to volunteer at Alvis so she can see people who have different circumstances and be part of reaching out with a helping hand.
Giving back to those in need, seeing appreciation radiate through their body, and coming to know that all of us are more alike than different is an incredible experience. It allows people from all walks of life to come together and help to turn lives around. Pelotonia Communications Manager Emily Smith summed it up, saying, “I think we all have times in our lives where we do things we regret, and for these women [at Alvis] to acknowledge that and work to better themselves – I think that speaks volumes.”
At Alvis, we’re so grateful to people like Lori Robinson-Terry and to companies like M/I Homes, who regularly demonstrate their commitment to turning lives around – by 180 degrees.
For more information about volunteering at Alvis, please contact Margaret “Molly” Seguin by phone at 614.252.8402 or by email here: Margaret.Seguin@alvis180.org.
“Be the Change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
A community is a population of people who not only support one another, but who take the time to provide services that benefit their environment and everyone living in it. Each person’s home is part of the larger community. For clients living at Alvis, doing community service is part of their transition from justice involvement to becoming a vital part of their home community. Service to the community also provides tangible examples of the steps our clients are taking to change for the better and help to make their community a better place.
So far in 2017, Alvis clients have contributed more than 33,000 hours of community service in Columbus, Chillicothe, Dayton, Lima and Toledo, Ohio. Our clients participate in a range of community service projects which include: sorting, organizing and wrapping toys for holiday drives; serving meals at shelters; helping as needed at senior centers; picking up litter; stocking food pantries; caring for rescued animals; and even making hats and gloves for babies and children.
“Community service creates a sense of purpose,” says Melanie Hartley, Alvis Regional Director, “It demonstrates just how committed our clients are to making a positive impact in their community.” Knowing that they made a difference in someone else’s life can enhance a client’s motivation to continue making positive changes.
“When I do service, it makes me feel better and it makes me feel like a part of things,” said Tom P., an Alvis client. “I especially liked helping to wrap gifts for a toy drive this year. I was in prison last year at this time and being a part of this reminds me how much better it is for me now.”
Hartley also notes that staying busy in and of itself can be helpful for some clients in their drive to keep moving forward. “Community service can play a huge part in a client’s evolution. Some of the clients who have come to us with the biggest challenges can be the best volunteers, because they can see the positive difference they are making and it gives their confidence a boost.”
The Alvis program provides clients with the tools to successfully return to the community. As they do community service, the clients are demonstrating that they are capable of changing their lifestyles. Giving back to the community is a great way for clients to become more involved in their community in a positive way and it demonstrates that they are turning their lives around.
Molly Rapp, Communications Intern, is the primary author of this blog post