Helping children feel safe and secure at Jonathan’s Place
When the first Global Day of Giving was announced back in 2006, Diane Etzler suggested Jonathan’s Place, an emergency shelter in Dallas, Texas for neglected, abandoned and abused children of all ages, from newborns to 18-year-olds. “I learned about Jonathan’s Place from being on the PTA Board of the local high school. We invited the children from Jonathan’s Place to our winter concert and after the concert, the children got to come up on stage and select a teddy bear from the Christmas Trees we had set up. I was so moved by what Jonathan’s Place did for the children that I thought it would be a great project to work with, and the office agreed.”
The first Global Day of Giving team was small – about 15 colleagues joined in. Now there are approximately 20 to 25 volunteers. There were a lot of things for the team to do - from cleaning and gardening to a whole range of repair jobs. In addition to the Global Day of Giving, the Dallas office often donates “in-need” items and also provides an angel tree for children who will be at the shelter over Christmas. “There is a saying: "Everything is bigger in Texas", and that is so true of the Dallas team’s hearts!” says Diane.
Diane sets up and organizes the project, but considers the Global Day of Giving experience a team-building project. She loves the idea of getting to know her co-workers on a different level while doing something rewarding for the community. Next up for the office volunteers is a long list of things to do including repairing the cottages, cleaning and painting the children’s bedrooms, tidying up the courtyards and landscaping and working with Jonathan’s Place to come up with a project to build something for the children to use outdoors, such as a sandbox. The Texas Global Day of Giving team sees their role as helping the children at Jonathan’s Place feel safe and secure in a place with a “real” home feeling.