Those of us who attended the National Conference on Volunteering and Service earlier this month were pleased to see many familiar faces in New Orleans. Numerous VolunteerMatch corporate clients, including Target, Apollo Group, Medtronic, and American Red Cross among others, came to the conference to network with nonprofits, share ideas, and strengthen their service programs. The presence of so many companies with employee volunteer programs at the conference demonstrated a unified focus for service and community betterment from the corporate sector.
One such client is Apollo Group, the Phoenix-based company that provides numerous educational programs including the online institute University of Phoenix. Apollo Group made the most of the event by devoting time and volunteers around the conference events to produce service projects for the Road to the Gulf Initiative, a joint service event with the Points of Light Foundation, Rebuilding Together and HandsOn New Orleans.
The Road to the Gulf project was a volunteering tour designed to mobilize volunteers to make a difference in local communities while contributing to gulf region recovery. The tour included stops in Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, Kansas City, Birmingham, and Washington, D.C., culminating with service projects in New Orleans at NCVS. Supported by University of Phoenix, the Road to the Gulf, mobilized 10,000 volunteers, and trained thousands of volunteer leaders. Lauren Keeler, Director of Volunteerism at Apollo Group, shared her video from the service projects in New Orleans.
The Road to the Gulf organized 700 NCVS participants and local volunteers to revitalize 25 parks and recreation centers across the city of New Orleans, including five complete park rehabilitations, five park clean ups, and 15 additional park enhancement and equipment projects. (Did you volunteer with the Road to the Gulf Initiative? Share your thoughts and memories on Twitter with #Road2Gulf.) All this was made possible by the support, time and volunteering hands of University of Phoenix and Apollo Group.
The service projects were a huge success, providing an opportunity for NCVS attendees to ‘walk the talk’ and give back to the New Orleans community. Thanks to the support and commitment to volunteerism at Apollo Group, the Road to the Gulf made its ultimate destination a success and helped the continued recovery efforts in NoLa.
(Photo: Lauren Keeler, Apollo Group and Points of Light)