Next Level Performance has a long history of charitable initiatives, donating time and resources to the community with HOPE Week being the main service event each year. In 2017, the company again put its focus on the local community by working to support the Children’s Specialized Hospital and other local organizations.
HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week began in 2009 by the New York Yankees based on the belief that corporations should commit to improving their communities. Next Level Performance adapted the concept with their annual HOPE Week. This initiative reflects the company’s C.A.R.E.S Values, in which it is grounded and that help make the organization one of New Jersey’s Best Places to Work. This year’s HOPE Week kicked off on August 7th, focusing efforts on children, helping three organizations that provide essential services in the local community.
The Children’s Specialized Hospital (CHS) of New Brunswick serves children with traumatic brain injury, severe autism, and a variety of other illnesses that make everyday life a challenge. This year, Next Level Performance partnered with the hospital to assist them in several ways. To encourage children during hours of therapy, Window Boxes were designed and assembled in the hospital. Next Level Performance provided several motivating toys on the therapists’ Wish List, meeting the practical needs of the children. During the week, children of Next Level teammates came to the office to create inspiring paintings to display in the hospital, write notes of good wishes to the children and make a video, and to help assemble donations. It was an important opportunity to connect the Next Level Performance family with the ones in the hospital.
Every child’s hospital stay brings day-to-day hurdles for the family. To help support these families, 150 Weekend Snack Packs were purchased and assembled to keep energy up while the cafeteria is closed. Another 150 Parent’s Welcome Kits with basic toiletries, water, and playing cards were created to help them ease into an unexpected stay. The families of these children also enjoyed a catered breakfast by Next Level, designed to give them a chance to meet one another and unwind.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for families of the children in the hospital, offering parents and siblings a nearby place to stay during the duration of the child’s hospital visit, offering kitchens, play areas, and the comforts of home. Most patients are in CSH for four to six weeks, which means difficulties and extra expenses for families. Throughout the month of August, Next Level Performance teammates are collecting donations, matched by the company, to cover the expenses of one family for the entire four to six weeks of their stay.
Elijah’s Promise has a long-standing relationship with Next Level Performance. The organization’s mission is stated in the words, Food Changes Lives, and they provide a soup kitchen, free clothing for those in need, and hospitality job training for those in the community trying to enter the workforce. Each year Next Level runs a building-wide food drive, in partnership with Matrix, the building management company. The food drive directly helps support those in need of food, clothing, and shelter in the community.
Susan Adams, Vice President of Engagement says, ”HOPE Week is meaningful to our teammates and provides needed support in our community. This year we involved our families in in-office initiatives. Giving our children the chance to brighten the days of hospitalized kids was powerful. Our teammates were excited to roll up their sleeves and work together to benefit the kids of CSH, their families, and our neighbors in need.”
As Vice President of Travel & Engagement at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel.