On a humid Friday on the 19th of July in 2019, fifteen Evergreen coworkers came together to show some ELM LOVE to the foster children of Orange County Great Oaks Village. Great Oaks Village is a residential foster group home for children ages 6 to 18 who have been removed from their homes by the State of Florida due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. I personally am an Area Manager for Evergreen Lifestyles Management and am fortunate to have been working for them for the last four years. A close friend of mine works for the Foundation for Foster Children as an Education Advocate for Foster Children. After hearing and seeing all the great things he does for these children I wanted to get the ELM Family involved. It was brought to my attention that the Foundation for Foster Children were hosting their annual “Summer Olympics” for the kids and I knew that our team could have some fun putting smiles on the kids faces.
I reached out to my Evergreen Leadership team asking if I could take the day off and invite my coworkers to volunteer our time. Evergreen recently started a Charity Committee within the company called Evergreen Embrace and our Embrace Members were very excited to be a part of such an uplifting event for kids who often don’t have that much joy in their little lives.
The day of the event we showed up wearing our forest green ELM LOVE shirts and participated in a variety of “Olympic” events. We did everything from musical spoons, to sake races that required us to plant our faces into a pile of whip cream in order to fish out a gummy bear, to balloon obstacle courses, to over the back cup water pouring assembly lines, a giant tug of war, and ended the day in a “surprise” water balloon fight with the kids. Great Oaks Village was kind enough to also feed us lunch with the kids while we cooled off a bit in the AC.
Evergreen Embrace also donated a variety of gift cards to the award winning Best Participants that showed the most positive award winning team spirits throughout the day. The entire day warmed my heart just to see the joy in each childs face as we playfully joined in with them in all the fun. It’s such a blessing that I work for such a great company with such great people who came out on a humid day in July with nothing but happiness written all over their faces. As I write this I am smiling remembering the day and excited for the Winter Olympics to come!