By: Angela Caraway-Carlton
Explore corporate social responsibility opportunities in Miami. Give Back and Build a House: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami offers the chance to build a house together, while building strong bonds. Grab your team and link up with Habitat to construct homes that will be purchased at 0 percent interest by hard-working, low income families in Miami, who simply don’t earn enough to qualify for traditional financing.
“A Habitat team build allows companies to affect true change in Miami-Dade County’s neediest communities,” says Juan Saborido, Development Associate at Habitat Miami. “These homes transform communities by replacing vacant, blighted properties with thriving residences that contribute to the local economy, while at the same time providing the teams with a unique team building experience.”
The experience offers the chance to be part of a construction crew for a day, where groups of 10 to 15 people will work with a foreman to paint, caulk, frame, landscape — and basically build a house from the ground-up. Not only does the build help to reverse the crisis of poverty housing, it also helps boost corporate camaraderie.
“When you have all levels of staff – from management to reception – working together as equals, it provides a truly equitable perspective on teamwork and unity that can be taken back to the office and provide a more cohesive workplace environment,” explains Saborido. Best part? Teams are able to remember everything they accomplished together with Habitat t-shirts, certificates and photos from their build day.
Give Back and Set Sail: Shake-A-Leg Miami
How does spending an exciting day on Miami’s gleaming waterways sound – all while doing good for someone else? The nonprofit organization Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM), located on the waterfront of Miami’s beautiful Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, uses boating and sailing to improve the lives of children and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges. The idea is to help them engage in physical activity, have fun, meet new friends and just feel included.
Those same principles can be applied to corporate groups, so SALM offers various types of company engagement opportunities. Groups can host a meeting or event in the organization’s traditional classroom spaces, a 5,000-square-foot converted airplane hangar, or the roof-top observation deck.
If a group really wants to connect with those in need, they can spend a day on the water assisting kids and adults with kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, fishing and canoeing, or make a difference by helping with hands-on activities like island and mangrove clean-ups.
“These team building opportunities improve communication, boost morale and motivate people. Most business owners and managers know great team work is one of the key factors associated with a company’s success,” says Karis Starkes, Outing Coordinator of Shake-A-Leg Miami.
Give Back and Help the Homeless: Camillus House & Chapman Partnership
While a comfy bed in a hotel room and a bounty of food is often at the center of any meeting or event, it’s something many of us take for granted. Those groups looking to help the less fortunate, can offer a helping hand to Camillus House, an organization with 14 locations throughout Miami-Dade County that provides homeless men and women hot meals, a safe place to sleep and clothing. Their record is impressive — Camillus has served the South Florida community for more than 56 years, and in that time, helped more than 12,500 men, women and children.
Smaller groups can line up to serve food to homeless guests, while larger groups can work on specific hands-on projects. Teams can also get their hands dirty (and use their green thumb), to work in the fruit and vegetable garden on campus — planting, harvesting and fertilizing. Everything harvested is used in the on-site kitchen to make meals for guests.
“Hands-on involvement and participation in missions like the one at Camillus House serve to not only enhance the quality of life for those who are served but can also have a tremendous impact on those who volunteer,” says Sam Gil, Vice President of Integration at Camillus House. “It affords individuals and groups an opportunity to learn about social justice while gaining a first-hand appreciation for the challenges that are faced by those whom they are serving. This can go a long way toward changing both the attitudes and perceptions about the homeless.”
Another way to give back and offer a better future for Miami’s homeless is to volunteer at Chapman Partnership, which has two locations in Miami and Homestead. Chapman offers 800 beds and serves around 5,000 men, women and children annually by providing emergency housing, meals, health care, day care, job placement and assistance with securing stable housing.
There are so many ways for corporations to get involved at Chapman — from serving and prepping meals, to helping children with homework, as well as maintenance and organization at the Chapman centers. “Whether you come to serve a meal, volunteer your time helping our children, or even donate something – your help directly impacts our residents,” says Amy Senat, Development and Marketing Specialist for Chapman. “They get to volunteer directly with our residents so you are able to see how your time is helping.”
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