Purpose & Summary:
We are working to build a solid foundation for AdYapper to grow upon – and we believe strongly in the power of giving back. As we rapidly expand, we see and feel the support of our community (Investors, 1871, TechStars, Lightbank, Mentors, Advisors, Colleagues, Fellow Companies, Clients & Friends) and are constantly humbled by the goodwill of those around us that help us each and every day. We’ve always understood that it is important to always give back, so to keep that mission alive and growing, we have formed the “AdYapper Cares” Committee that is in charge of planning quarterly volunteer events. This is the story of our latest project.
A few weeks ago the AdYapper team worked with Heartland Alliance to volunteer at the Hollywood House Apartments, a residential apartment building located in the Edgewater neighborhood that serves seniors. It was our second volunteer project with Heartland Alliance and was formed out of our very first “AdYapper Cares” Committee. We previously worked with Heartland Alliance around Christmas last year to bring presents to a family in need (see picture below.) After that great experience with Heartland Alliance, we decided to organize another volunteer initiative with them.
Why We Chose The “Hollywood House” Project:
Our newly formed AdYapper Cares Committee looked through and voted on projects throughout Chicago. We ultimately decided upon working at the Hollywood House who requested volunteers for movie night to bring snacks and host a fun evening. It seemed like a fun opportunity to visit with some great people who may have otherwise not had visitors for a while. The cause was not intimidating either, as everyone can identify with feeling lonely at one point or another. We were especially excited that it was interactive, enabling out team to hang out with senior residents and really get to know each other.
After deciding on the project we took donations to help fund the snack portion of the project and were pleasantly surprised. It was amazing how far a small donation can go! We were able to buy an enormous amount (see picture below: two full carts) of snacks for the seniors. That’s a lot of Doritos!
It is our goal to integrate a “giving-back” mentality into our AdYapper culture. This foundation will lead to a strong company in every sense of the word, and brings a tremendous amount, and different kind of joy that has nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the business. After buying snacks, we made little gifts of candy filled eggs (see picture below.)
The Experience & Event
We arrived at the Hollywood House and were greeted warmly, with a quick history of Heartland Alliance and the Hollywood House. It was an eye opener for us to learn how much Heartland Alliance does, especially around Chicago. We had no idea that many of their residents were not just low-income, but refugees fleeing from persecution, and abuses too terrible to mention.
While socializing with the residents, we met a man who looked to be about 75 years old, and acted like a 25 year old charmer. He went on to tell us how he was 104 years old! He gave us some life advice, told several jokes, and even sang a song in Greek for us. When he was asked how his day was, he said, with enthusiasm “It was beautiful”. This man had witnessed 4 generations of his family grow, and spending even a few hours with him was inspiring for us all.
The experience really brought us even closer together as a team. It was one of the strongest team building experiences that we have had to date – watching us all be who we really are, with no filter, and all glowing in the shared love and good will. It was humbling – and it was empowering.
Everyone seemed to have fun at the event. We met some wonderful people, learned more about our community, our colleagues, and ourselves. We are excited for the next event – and are half hoping that snacks will be involved again!
About Heartland Alliance
Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our policy efforts strengthen communities; our comprehensive services empower those we serve to rebuild and transform their lives. Because of this 125-year commitment, Heartland Alliance has evolved into an organization that is uniquely:
Far-reaching: Each year, in Chicago, the midwest, and around the world, our services help nearly one million struggling people secure the most basic of human needs — housing and health care, jobs and justice.
Holistic: Because the causes of poverty, injustice, and lack of opportunity are interrelated and interlocking, our programs are similarly comprehensive and integrated, allowing us to achieve an unusual synergy in meeting our clients’ needs.
Change-driven: In addition to direct service, we partner with lawmakers and organizations to shape public policies that fit the needs of everyone, ensuring that even the most vulnerable can realize a brighter future.
To learn more about Heartland Alliance, please visit: http://www.heartlandalliance.org/
To learn more about the Hollywood House, please visit: http://www.heartlandhousing.org/case-studies/hollywood-house%E2%80%94preserving-affordable-housing-amid-economic-downturn