With spring on the horizon, we’re back, busy and hopefully more impactful than ever when it comes to matching our employees to meaningful opportunities to volunteer and to give back to the community in South Portland, Maine.
The Giving Tree for Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital
First, a quick look back at our all-company meeting in late November. That’s when we introduced WEX’s final employee engagement initiative of 2018: our annual giving tree. This year it was to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, which came to us with two very specific needs.
The hospital’s Maine Children’s Cancer Program asked for help filling the “Owie Boxes” that it installs in each of its offices. After a medical visit, children look forward to stopping at the Owie Box to select a small toy to take home. These treasures bring comfort and a reward to children going through a very difficult time.
Our employees also selected tags from the giving tree that asked them to purchase clothes for premature babies who are born in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Melissa Dudley, WEX’s corporate philanthropy manager, tells us, “What the hospital is finding is that people who have preemies often don’t have the right-sized clothes or the right things to take home with them when the baby leaves the hospital. WEX’s employees purchased onesies and things that the preemies would need.”
Another CodeX session in the books
In mid-February, WEX once more had great success hosting our coding clinic, CodeX, which we developed in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. This time, a number of employees volunteered to support 30 kids on site. Using the MIT App Inventor curriculum, which we’ve built a program around, the children learned how to build automation with an app.
After the session, we challenged the kids to continue the curriculum on their own. If they do, and then return to the next CodeX session to help teach coding to other kids, WEX will provide them with a new Google Chromebook.
This program is aligned to WEX’s support of STEM skill development in all children—in Maine and nationwide. In most cases, the kids served by CodeX are not receiving this type of education in their schools and/or don’t have a support system at home that allows them to go and learn on their own.
Says Melissa, “In Maine in particular, there’s a great demand for graduates with this skill set, so we’re hoping to encourage early interest and contribute to workforce development. We’re also actively developing what the next steps are; we’re in conversations right now to determine how we will do something in other grade levels to continue to foster this type of interest and how we can feed this into our talent pipeline and our recruiting strategy.”
What’s up next
There are a few more philanthropic opportunities coming up this spring, each of which also benefit children.
This Friday, we’re sending almost 50 skiers up to Sugarloaf Mountain for a 24-hour ski race to raise funds for a local nonprofit called WinterKids. The Maine nonprofit is dedicated to increasing outdoor physical activity in children and families during our longest, most sedentary season.
In mid-March, we’ll be back at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital to pitch in at the annual Cares for Kids radiothon. Last year, we sent volunteers to help answer the phones and to interact with sick kids and their families at the hospital, and we’re happy to be doing that again this year.
To learn more and to get involved in giving back through WEX, email email@example.com.