There are some moments when you know you’re in the right place. All week long, I could hear the happy chatter of my colleagues, working together in a big conference room. But they weren’t working on a new website or on an incentive travel program. They were volunteering on a community service project, assembling First Night Kits for New Jersey Shelters, and welcome backpacks for local kids newly in foster care.
Last week was HOPE Week here at Next Level Performance. And as we do every year, we took the time and committed the resources to do something good for our community. This year HOPE Week also coincided with our 40th anniversary and the launch of our new brand. HOPE Week was initiated by the NY Yankees, who challenged organizations to Help Others Persevere and Excel and we are honored to answer that call. We know that we are fortunate and service – to our clients, to each other, and to our neighbors - is an important part of our company values.
Every member of our team participated, offering their time and expertise, and here’s how we made a positive impact on our own community:
– HomeFront’s mission is to “end homelessness in Central New Jersey.” They not only provide emergency support for families at risk of homelessness, they also provide job training, summer programs for kids, and teach life skills. By giving families the tools they need to stand on their own, HomeFront invests in their future and the future of their children. Our team:
• Volunteered to facilitate art classes for second graders and middle schoolers in the summer program.
• Provided one-on-one tutoring in the computer lab.
• Volunteered to lead a discussion on interview skills for adults returning to the workforce.
• Sponsored four children by providing back-to-school supplies and clothes just for them.
• Collected coins to be matched by the company to feed a homeless family for six weeks.
– With a mission of "Food Changes Lives," our New Brunswick neighbor plays an important role for those who need a hand in our own community. In addition to providing healthy meals for food insecure residents, they also offer culinary training for those interested in working in the hospitality industry, as well as provide low- or no-cost clothing. Next Level Performance teammates:
• Ran a food drive for the soup kitchen, in partnership with Matrix, our building management company.
• Collected new and gently used clothing for donation.
• Shared our expertise by leading a class in menu planning at the Promise Culinary School.
• Hired Promise Catering to deliver a delectable launch party meal.
CASA of Middlesex County
– With 700 kids in foster care in our county, resources can be stretched. CASA provides court appointed special advocates, to guide children through the court system and to work on their behalf towards a stable home situation. Often, children arrive to foster care with just a few personal items, thrown into a garbage bag in the rush of being removed from their homes. Our team:
• Purchased and assembled everything a young teen might need on arrival to a temporary home, including toiletries, blankets, and towels, delivered in colorful backpacks.
– By matching volunteers to organizations that need a hand, Jersey Cares is an important hub of resources and information. We worked with their team to:
• Provide and assemble 500 First Night Kits, filled with toiletries and other must-haves to make the first night in a shelter a little easier.
New Brunswick Free Public Library
– In addition to providing free access to information for all, libraries are often centers of community action, child care services, and job training, among many other roles. Our neighborhood library is no exception. Next Level Performance teammates:
• Collected new and gently used books to be added to the collection or sold to support the library and its programs.
All in all, we directly affected 579 individuals and provided support to countless others with the clothing, food, coin, and book drives.
At Next Level Performance, we value people and want them to succeed – whether our teammates, clients, or neighbors. We are fortunate to be able to contribute to our community in meaningful ways. And I know I'm not alone when I say that I appreciate the opportunity to live our company values
. It's one of the many reasons I'm glad I work here and am proud of our own Next Level community.