If you could spend just one hour a week and know that your effort had a lasting impact on a child’s future, wouldn’t you do it? Many of our Colleagues would, and that’s why they volunteer to tutor a student at our partner school, Buchanan Elementary. For a lot of us, that one hour is the highlight of our week. It’s an opportunity to get away from the everyday pressures of the office and see life through the eyes of a child. American Fidelity allows our Colleagues time away from the office to tutor in 30-minute sessions. Each of us works with the same child each week – sometimes over several years. We get to see how our student is progressing with our help. Sometimes the progress comes through the actual advancement in class work, but as often as not, the biggest impact is showing that child that someone cares. Our students don’t get a lot of one-on-one time with an adult, and we have a rare opportunity to show how important it is to get an education. We’re rewarded every week with a huge welcoming smiles, shy smiles when small milestones are met and jubilant smiles when a new concept is mastered. What can be better than that? The Oklahoma City Public Schools resume classes next Monday, and our Colleagues already are looking forward to getting back to school at Buchanan. The student I tutor will enter fifth-grade next year, and I’m excited to see how I can help him progress this year! Does your company allow you to volunteer at a school, or with any other organization, during the workday?
- One in six seniors in Oklahoma struggles with hunger.
- One in four children struggles with hunger.
- Every dollar donated provides five meals.
- 32% of hungry Oklahomans aren't eligible for nutrition assistance programs and rely on Food Bank outreach alone.
- More than 650,000 Oklahomans are classified as “food insecure.”
- The Backpack Program currently serves 18,527 children in 501 elementary schools across 53 central and western Oklahoma counties. The packs are given to schoolchildren each Friday so they have access to food over the weekend.
- One in six children who do not read proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school on time. Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Double Jeopardy” study
- In 2011, more than half (52 percent) of all fourth-grade students in Oklahoma City public schools scored below the proficient performance level in reading on the Core Curriculum Test. Source: ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act Annual Report Card 2010-11
American Fidelity is proud to be a company founded and headquartered in Oklahoma City. We are also honored to support, through financial contributions and volunteer service by our Colleagues, several organizations that improve the quality of life in our hometown. Recently, AFA Colleagues had the opportunity to participate in the Allied Arts campaign. Allied Arts is the city’s United Arts Fund and supports 26 member agencies, as they share the arts and educate the greater Oklahoma City metro area. One of these member agencies, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, hosts the Festival of the Arts, which attracts more than 750,000 visitors annually. This year’s Festival starts on Tuesday, April 22 and runs through Sunday, April 27. Featuring a juried art show from 144 artists representing 13 mediums, an International Food Row with delicious cuisine from more than 30 vendors and live performances, the Festival has something for everyone. And, best of all, admission to the Festival is free! I know I’m looking forward to joining the masses for lunch at the Festival. Set in Festival Plaza and in the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City, the Festival is the perfect place to enjoy some tasty treats – the Strawberry Newport is my favorite – in a lovely setting. I wonder how many of my Colleagues I will run into? Oklahomans are known to be community-minded, and each year hundreds of volunteers make this wonderful event possible. Several Colleagues, including yours truly, will be a donating a few hours to man different tents at the Festival. The Festival of the Arts is an Oklahoma City institution and truly makes this city a great place to live and work. What community events do you like to support?
American Fidelity and our Colleagues have worked hard this year helping out the United Way of Central Oklahoma. Our dedication to our community and those in need is an integral part of our culture, and we’re always looking for opportunities to get involved! This past weekend, AF Colleagues lent a hand during the United Way’s Day of Caring, one of the country’s largest volunteer events, by spending time at the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled (OKFD). OKFD is a social services organization that provides high quality and activity-oriented adult day health services for adults with developmental disabilities in central Oklahoma. Their mission is to improve the quality of life of developmentally disabled adults by providing them with learning programs and services that include life skills training, recreational activities and socialization opportunities. “We made them happy! They made us happy! We all had fun!” said Tammy Townsend, marketing data base systems analyst and Day of Caring organizer. “They are such precious individuals and they can impact lives like no others.” “It was a very humbling experience. It makes me appreciate so much the people who work with the disabled every day. American Fidelity is a great Company because so many of our Colleagues really do care about people,“ added Clendon Rice VP of IT vendor asset management. Do you like volunteering? What charitable organizations do you think make a difference? Let us know in the comments.
One thing I love about working for American Fidelity is our Company’s dedication to the community. Whether it’s a special circumstance of helping with tornado relief or our regular assistance to other causes, I appreciate the opportunity to help serve. Because education is one of our core Customer groups, we typically focus much of our efforts on helping teachers and students.
One of my favorite projects is the Teachers Warehouse. When we get extra supplies like gently used binders or extra giveaway items from events, they go to the Teachers Warehouse!
I had the opportunity to volunteer there once. Their storeroom is stocked with paper, pens, paperclips – everything you can think of that might be needed. Teachers submit their requests online, and then volunteers fill their orders.
The volunteers got together and assembled each teacher’s order in bags, then filed them on shelves and hallways ready to be picked up and put to use in the classroom. All those filled orders lined up and ready to go out was an amazing sight. The Teachers Warehouse frequently needs volunteers; if you have some spare time, check it out and see what great things these folks do!
Another of our Company’s favorite organizations is the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Not only do I love to volunteer here, but so do my daughters! We have a great opportunity to teach our kids to help others by volunteering at organizations like the food bank.
It gives me a way to talk to my kids about those in our community who aren’t as fortunate as we are, and impress on them the importance of helping whenever possible.
These are just two examples of how our Company and our Colleagues are dedicated to our Community. What are some of your favorite charitable organizations?
Like many across Oklahoma, the nation and the world, our hearts go out to those impacted by the recent tornados. At least 20 of our own Colleagues were directly affected and numerous others had family and friends who have lost their homes, property and loved ones. We know the storms also impacted our Customers and their loved ones, along with the greater community around our corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City.
We grieve with our community, but we also join with them in hope and recovery. Here are a few of the ways American Fidelity is assisting with relief efforts:
- Both our Foundation and the Company have made generous donations to the Red Cross
- Offering time off for affected Colleagues so they do not have to use their paid personal time
- Giving all Colleagues paid time off to volunteer with relief efforts
- Waiving our donation match maximum for donations made by Colleagues to the Red Cross
- Encouraging and matching Colleague donations to organizations such as the Salvation Army, Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Goodwill and Infant Crisis Services
American Fidelity is proud to be based in Oklahoma and to be part of this dedicated, hard-working, caring community. Thank you to all of the first responders, police officers, firefighters, nurses, teachers, civic leaders and volunteers who rushed to help. Most of our Customers work in these professions, and we thank you for all that you do day in and day out.