DEARBORN - A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a room. It can brighten it up and make it feel like new again.
It also can do the same for people.
Rollers and brushes, buckets and trays in the hands of caring Ford volunteers can boost the spirits of children and families who are down on their luck, but looking to improve their lives.
"It really means a lot to us to have Ford volunteers come in and do so much in one day," said Heather Karschner, development marketing associate, Methodist Children's Home Society. "It's really great for the kids that live here to have something freshly painted and nice."
Children and families were the focus of a Ford Accelerated Action Day, as hundreds of Ford employees were dispatched into the community to work in dozens of shelters, schools and family centers. The Ford Volunteer Corps did some painting, but also renovating, repairing and building.
"Our humanity is the difference that sets Ford apart," said Elena Ford, who participated with members of her Global Marketing, Sales & Service team at the Salvation Army's Denby Center. "This is what we do. This is the way we think. It's part of our DNA."
"I grew up not far from here, so it's good to be in the old neighborhood helping out," said Julian Watts, financial analyst, Ford Customer Service Division. "I appreciate it and I'm thankful for the opportunity to be out here."
The projects were identified by Ford Fund's nonprofit agency partners. Many of the organizations also received grants of up to $5,000 to buy the tools, paint, lumber and other materials needed to complete the volunteer work. Ford grants totaling $50,000 were awarded to participating agencies, including: Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Habitat for Humanity Detroit, Macomb and Monroe, Penrickton Center for Blind Children in Taylor, Starfish Family Services in Inkster and others.
“Ford and its employees are active members of the community and eager to make a positive difference for our neighbors any way we can," said Janet Lawson, director, Ford Volunteer Corps. "Creating a better world starts by helping people close to home in the neighborhoods where we work and live."
"It's really great to be able to give back to the community," said Alison Crawford, analyst, Corporate Finance. "It's very gratifying. They encourage us to do this and I think it just shows Ford is a great company that has great values and really cares about the community."
Ford volunteers also went to work in the Child Development Center and women's shelter at the Atlanta Mission in Georgia. The next Ford Accelerated Action Day is May 11, when outdoor and environmental projects will be the focus.
"It feels great. Much harder work than in the office," said Lisa Sperling, controller, NA Car &CUV. "Everyone is breaking a sweat. We're doing good work out here."
"It’s the labor that really costs us, and to have hard workers like Ford workers come here to help us paint in one day - that’s great," said Kim Dorsette, administrator, Salvation Army - Denby Center. "We love you!"
To see more photos from Ford Accelerated Action Day visit our flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/fordcommunity/collections/ and to follow the activities of Ford Motor Company Fund on facebook "like" us at facebook.com/pages/Ford-in-the-Community.