When a large pharmaceutical company brought its national sales meeting to Dallas last March, it aimed not only to motivate the 260 sales execs in attendance — but to bring some joy to local at-risk children as well.
As part of the meeting, the group built 26 bookshelves for the Wilkinson Center, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization that helps poverty-stricken families. Theevent — organized by Bethesda, Md.-based Impact 4 Good — engaged attendees in literacy-themed challenges, such as solving word puzzles and balancing books on their heads, in which they earned the wood, tools, and instructions needed to build the bookshelves.
While constructing 26 wooden bookshelves is no small feat, it was the books themselves that held the real value. Before the meeting, the pharmaceutical company asked all employees to donate children's books, and they gathered 1,900 in all, says Alan Ranzer, executive director of Impact 4 Good. “That was really a key component to the success of this event.”
But the biggest surprise was when 52 children of families served by the Wilkinson Center came to the hotel to help decorate the bookshelves and to choose a book to take home with them. “These kids had never been to a hotel like this before, and they don't always get this level of attention from adults,” says Ranzer, “so it was really an amazing experience to see them interacting like that.”