Project of the Month
American Legion Post 416 renovated: a tribute to US veterans
'Mission Completed' must have been the thought of our 60 volunteering colleagues from Marine & Protective Coatings in Houston when they finished a major renovation job for the American Legion Post 416. In hounour of Veterans Day, they joined forces with other organizations for a 'Celebration of Service Day' to help Post 416 to better serve returning troops and veterans in the Houston, Texas Area.
Past projects of the Month
Bringing light to the girls of Hogar de la Luz
The Hogar de la Luz Foundation in Calí, Colombia provides approximately sixty abused girls between eight and eighteen years old with a safe home and an opportunity to receive a proper education. The girls were abandoned by their families or come from a home where they were not properly protected and nourished.
Facility for rescue horses ‘rescued’ by army of volunteers
Combining your passion with your work seems an ideal, far-fetched goal for many people. This was fortunately not the case for Heidi Sandrev from Decorative Paints in Strongsville, Ohio. As Manager of the Application Research Center as well as President and co-founder of the Angels Haven Horse Rescue, she recently combined her passion for horses and animals with her belief in teambuilding and the company’s commitment to community service.
A new direction for traumatized foster children
La Bussola is a foster home near Milan that houses 10 children aged 6 to 11 who have been out-placed from their families. The children are victims of neglect, abuse and violence and are no longer allowed to live with their parents. Bussola means compass in English. This is reflected in the approach of the home: creating a safe, homely environment and giving the children direction.
A sound recovery for hospital hit by major earthquake
Our colleagues from Functional Chemicals in Adria will never forget May 20, when at 4 o’clock in the morning they were awakened by a long tremor, caused by a major earthquake about 65 kilometres away. Also in the following days other tremors followed and the affected region was heavily damaged and counted many victims. About 6,000 people had to be evacuated, among which many elderly, to give them a safe place to stay.
Cool facilities to store fresh food for poor families
In Spain, the number of people in need of support from a food bank is growing substantially caused by the economic crisis. Near the Packaging Coatings operations in Vilafranca, a volunteers association has been active for many years to supply people without resources with the essential and basic needs. The current economic recession has caused the number of needy people to increase. The level of unemployment in the region with a population of about 46,000 people is now around 20% and there are more than 100 families at the risk of social exclusion.
Olympic Medal winners teach underprivileged children about water safety
What could be more inspiring for a child than to have an Olympic Medal winner in swimming telling stories about water safety and swimming techniques and play water games with him or her in a pool! It may seem like a dream to many children but this dream came true for 32 underprivileged children and their 18 family members near the Wood Finishes and Adhesives operations in Roanoke, Virginia. Two U.S. Olympian swimmers, Ian Crocker and Misty Hyman were recently invited by our WFA colleagues to join this special group and share their experiences with them.
Auditors team up to colour the lives of disabled children: a lasting legacy
The first annual global conference of the Internal Audit departments was an event which the almost 60 auditors, participating from 10 countries spread all over the world, will never forget! Besides discovering talents, many of them did not realize they would have, they also made a real difference to the lives of 50 mentally disabled children and the staff of the Val Fleury nursery near the Coatings operations in Montataire. The Val Fleury Association operates in the Val d’Oise region of France and is committed to support children aged 3-20 years with multiple disabilities. It was founded in 1968 and is fully dependent on gifts and sponsoring.
Early water lessons for little ‘sea pirates’
On a hot summer day, there is nothing more exciting for a child day than to play with water and sand, while splashing and spattering each other! It is guaranteed fun! And that is exactly what was being realized for the children at the ‘Sea pirates’ nursery in Kreuzau-Üdingen, near the Pulp & Performance Chemicals operations in Düren. With support from the Community Program a water playground was constructed, not only for playing purposes but mostly for learning in a playful manner that water is not always simply coming from a tap.
At your service: teaming up for service dogs!
Many organizational changes had affected the Corporate Control Department in Arnhem. New colleagues had joined the team and it was decided to look for a joint activity to reinforce the team spirit. Inspired by the success story of their colleagues from Information Management, they also choose to serve a good cause in our community with their efforts. The obvious thing to do was to contact the Arnhem based Program Coordinator of the Community Program who advised them about a few possible options in the Arnhem environment. The team almost unanimously picked Stichting Hulphond (Foundation Service Dogs) in Herpen.
A make-over for Los Laureles: an unforgettable lesson of life
When visiting one of their customers in Chile, Marine & Protective Coatings Sales Manager, Juarez Machado mentioned the AkzoNobel Community Program at the end of his meeting. This led to a visit to Los Laureles, a home for adolescents and young children who have been placed there through legal intervention and had to be separated from their parents because of mistreatment or abuse.
Matchmaking becomes a growing 'business' in Amersfoort
An article about a 'buddy project' in his local newspaper instantly caught Johan van der Helm's eye. Johan is Safety Manager at Functional Chemicals in Amersfoort and already for some time he was thinking about a suitable project to make a contribution to society. The initiative was exactly what he had been looking for.
Quality of life preserved through coastal clean-up
From a full pipeline of ideas to serve society in their community, our colleagues from Decorative Paints in Puerto Rico started their community involvement by cleaning up trash and debris from a 3.2 mile area along the coast. As part of their Month of Caring outreach, they teamed up with Scuba Dogs Society, an environmentally conscious diving school that engages companies from across the island in a coastal clean-up and conservation project.
Improving environmental awareness among children
Environmental awareness is one of the important themes in China. And as with many issues, it is deemed most efficient to teach young children the importance of handling waste. Our colleagues from Automotive & Aerospace Coatings in Shanghai have chosen ‘Garbage Classification’ in schools as their key activity in their community and drew up a plan to involve 6 primary schools, 3 kindergartens and 1 vocational school. Support from the Community Program was granted and in the summer of 2011 a start was made at the Yew Chung International School of Shanghai.
Learning about animals and science at Green Chimneys
The Annual Putnam County 4-H (four-leaved clover) Fair in Carmel, NY definitely is a highlight for the children of the Green Chimneys rehabilitation center. Apart from showing what they have learned about cattle, swine, sheep, llamas and goats, they can also submit their science projects, developed together with the researchers from Surface Chemistry in Brewster.
Salt makes science lessons crystal clear
The 250 pupils of the Branding Elementary School in Brielle (near Rotterdam) are lucky to have one or more parents working at Industrial Chemicals in Rotterdam. Salt, being one of the main ingredients for the Membrane Electrolysis plant, has proven to be a subject that is very suitable to acquaint children with science and technology and to explain its vital role in society. Inspired by their colleagues in Delfzijl, who had developed a curriculum together with Groningen University a few years ago, two of our Rotterdam colleagues decided to start giving lessons on the school in Brielle and at the same time organize a genuine salt crystals competition.
Creating a sense of belonging for abandoned disabled children
One of the neighbors of the Pulp & Paper Chemicals (Eka) operations at the Suzhou Industrial Park, the Boai School & Rehabilitation Clinic, is near to the hearts of our colleagues. The Boai School is a non-state, non-profit, registered charity organization set up in 1998. It takes care of vulnerable children who have been segregated from social life because of their disability. A group of 20 disabled children, who have been abandoned by their parents, permanently live at the school premises. Apart from receiving pre-school and junior high school education, they are also given the required treatment for their disabilities.
Reaching out to elderly at the Emanuele Home
It was with great apprehension that the 20 mentally and physically disabled elderly living at the Emanuele Home in Kyungju ‘welcomed’ the 30 AkzoNobel volunteers from Functional Chemicals when they wanted to lend them a helping hand.
Backyard Preserve restored into outdoor oasis
After a wet and gloomy spring, our colleagues from Decorative Paints in Strongsville, Ohio, were eager to get outside and volunteer for an outdoor community service project. The choice that had to be made was not very difficult as the Strongsville Backyard Preserve was in desperate need of a little tender love and care.
Sports as a means for social integration
When Production shift supervisor Oliver Tornack of Industrial Chemicals in Bitterfeld had a discussion with his colleagues about a news item they had heard on the radio regarding national social problems, they decided to make a serious contribution. The problems touched on were a.o. a reduction of the population, integration problems with migrants and participation of deprived groups in societal activities.
Good teamwork creates thriving gardens for disabled people
Two days of active gardening and landscaping by 40 volunteering employees of Decorative Paints in Slough led to the creation of two beautiful gardens for disabled people in Reading and London. The UK finance team, mainly based in Slough, was looking for local charities in the area and became involved with Thrive, a charity based in Reading with a second base in Battersea (London) which works with disabled people of all ages, including those recovering after a stroke or living with heart disease and people recovering after an accident.
Enlightening serious treatment for sick children
A hospital normally is a place for a short stay. This is not the case for many children who stay in the local hospital in Izmir, Turkey. They often suffer from chronic illnesses like diabetes, liver failure, cancer, etc. and they have to undergo serious treatment. For the hospital staff it is not always easy to explain to the children what is going to happen and why pain is involved when giving injections etc. The Dr.Behçet Uz Hospital Foundation has therefore developed a method using dolls, called the Yaren Babies. These ‘babies’ are made from stuffed cotton and have no faces. The children residing in a hospital are given the dolls and paint their faces and bodies, creating their own companions. When using the dolls, the hospital staff can explain the treatment in such a way that the children understand much better why pain is involved.
Brightening up the lives of disabled children
Our colleagues from Wood Finishes & Adhesives in Tianjin have selected the Jian Hua Foundation as a partner for some of the projects they want to carry out with support from the Community Program. Jian Hua means ‘Building China’ and the organization is active on many fields, like education, hygiene and sanitation, medical support, developing agricultural projects using the professional skills and experience of experts.
Community Service Award for continued support in Grundy County
What started with a one day activity, purchasing and unloading an impressive amount of food for the We Care organization in Grundy County, has led to continued support by our volunteering colleagues from Surface Chemistry in Morris, Illinois. The involvement was recognized by the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry by awarding the site with the ‘Community Service Award’ in 2011.
Helping poor youngsters ‘on the right track’
By helping to establish educational quarters for the João Paulo II home, our colleagues from Pulp & Paper Chemicals (Eka) in Bahia, Brazil were certainly ’on the right track’. This is also the title of a corporate program, directed at preventing the exploitation of poor children between 7 and 17 years old who perform work on the roads, which was co-signed by the AkzoNobel operation in Bahia.
Connecting with the homeless
Sad as it is, but it can happen to anybody: to lose ones roof over one’s head and become homeless. Due to the economic downturn, resulting in higher than average unemployment, the homeless population has increased substantially in the past few years in many parts of the world. Although most people only hear or read about the statistics and rarely, if ever, put a face to the dilemma, this is not the case for our US colleagues at Powder Coatings in Nashville, where the site/office is located in an area of the city where homelessness is prevalent. As Kathy Wilson puts it: ‘We can’t come to work each day, go out to lunch, or drive home without coming face to face with individuals living on the streets and facing the struggles in life that homelessness brings.’
A dream come true for Vaudreuil-Soulanges Palliative Care Residence
It took five years of planning and a fundraising campaign to realize a most important project in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges and surrounding areas: the services of a Palliative Care Residence. Numerous volunteers, their partners, donors and the full support and enthusiasm of the population have been involved to make this dream become a reality. A dream that could be realized, not in the least thanks to the help of our colleagues from Marine & Protective Coatings in Dorval. When they heard about the project, they joined hands with their colleagues from Decorative Paints in the Montreal area and helped apply the final coat of paint to the walls and of the hallways. With support from the Community Program 260 gallons of paint was supplied free of charge for the residence.
An unforgettable Mid-Autumn Festival for orphans and volunteers
“To live one’s life, one needs a heart … to what end, do you know? To cast into the wind, to cast into the wind.” This phrase from the famous Vietnamese song ‘Cast into the wind’ inspired our colleagues from Wood Finishes & Adhesives in Amata, Bien Hoa to reach out and make the Mid-Autumn Festival for the orphans of An Lac Orphanage a real special one this year.
Persistence leads to the creation of a playground near Mariager
The hardest winter in 14 years delayed the plans of our colleagues from Industrial Chemicals in Mariager, Denmark to help the children of the nearby villages by creating a new playground. But the delay of 5-6 months did not discourage the small team of enthusiastic employees and two plant managers to realize their idea in the spring.
A Games Library to brighten up the lives of poor children
When Mercedes Ortega from Decorative Paints in Colón, Montevideo heard from the Scout Movement of Uruguay about the poor circumstances of the ’Lezica Home’, she decided to help out and asked support from the Community Program and ‘recruited’ more colleagues to brighten up the lives of the children.
Waste recycling: an opportunity for a better future
Waste can be thrown away by some, at the same time creating an opportunity for work for others as well as improving the environmental conditions in the community. Our colleagues from Surface Chemistry and Functional Chemicals in Itupeva, Brazil had heard about Itupeva’s Waste Recycling Cooperative (IWRC), a local organization set up to provide employment for former street sweepers and other jobless people. The majority of these people lack formal training and education, reducing their chances for employment in the labor market. The working conditions at IWRC were not safe and the required awareness about health and safety were inadequate causing many people to quit. Health, safety and environment being traditionally high on the agenda of AkzoNobel, our skilled and experienced colleagues decided to help.
A spectacular circus gala in Bensheim
A spectacular circus gala entitled ‘Henry’s Childrens circus Hallöchen’ was the end result of many months of intensive practice by about 160 children from the Bensheim region as well as many volunteers. One of the employees from Powder Coatings in Bensheim was closely involved by sewing the colorful costumes and other kinds of preparatory activities. With support from the Community Program the materials for the costumes, the arena and other equipment could be purchased.
Hard work makes a wish for a jungle gym come true
The pupils of the Erich-Kästner Primary School in Limburg, near Frankfurt were very proud to have collected a large amount of money by participating in a donation run. The proceeds were meant to build a climbing garden at their school’s playground and with additional funding from the city of Limburg the necessary equipment could be bought. However, an important part was lacking: the financing of the assembly and installation by the manufacturer.
A meditation garden to help fight addiction
Employees from Wood Finishes & Adhesives at the Roanoke, Virginia site volunteered on Saturday, May 22 at Bethany Hall, a shelter for women suffering from the disease of addiction. Bethany Hall is a private, non-profit agency providing long-term residential substance abuse treatment for women. For almost 40 years, Bethany Hall has helped save and rebuild the lives of women suffering from the disease of addiction. In turn, these women are able to reestablish positive relationships with those who support their recovery.
A lucky choice for poor children in Mexico
The Katalina Kasper Educational Center in Coatzocoalcos was lucky to have been chosen by our colleagues from Marine & Protective Coatings in Mexico to support them with funds from the Community Program. When the AkzoNobel employees visited the school, which is located 10 km from the city in a very hot coast zone with temperatures between 28°C and 38°C, they detected a lot of needs.
A normal life for mentally restrained youngsters
What seemed almost impossible in the first place has turned into a very successful project. Some 25 volunteers from Car Refinishes and Decorative Paints in Sassenheim spent more than 200 hours in their own free time to build housing for animals at Ferm Rozemarijn, a new center where young mentally restrained people are offered the possibility to live on their own and to function properly in society.
A touch of home in a safe haven
It is hard to imagine, but there are still many women and children that suffer from domestic violence. Near the Surface Chemistry site in Morris, Illinois, a safe haven for these victims was created, called The Guardian Angels Home.
|Bringing color to the lives of blind children|
It is one thing that many of us take for granted, the ability to see. However, there are still those who have never experienced the joy of sight, or are born with normal vision but gradually deteriorate until they are completely blind.
Improved health conditions through REACH
For the fifth consecutive time a health clinic was conducted in the fall at Merebank in Durban under a marquee tent erected on the same premises as the Community Hall.
|Helping ex-convicts rehabilitate in society|
Walking to the peak of Bisbino, a mountain 1325 meters high on the border between Como (Italy) and Switzerland, is made possible by ex-convicts and our colleagues from Powder Coatings in Como.