By Mancy Hong, senior operations-payables analyst
It felt like a typical Thursday morning in the San Francisco Bay Area — traffic, fog and folks bustling to get to work.
Oakland, in particular, was especially busy. The sky was thick with heavy cloud cover, and it was sprinkling a little. At MacArthur BART station, over 130 Clorox Finance employees were loading purposefully into buses. Their destination was not the nearby Clorox headquarters, but Glenview Elementary School. Their intent: to ready the grounds for the new school year.
Think of Finance, and you probably don’t conjure images of people cleaning and painting. But Clorox Finance employees were eager to use their hands for something different. Sigma, Clorox Finance’s employee engagement organization, partnered with Oakland Education Fund to find a project worthy of Clorox Finance’s 2nd Annual Day of Service.
Glenview Elementary School has moved to a temporary location while its main campus undergoes a seismic retrofit. Its campus for the next two years needed to be beautified and readied for faculty, staff and — most importantly — students.
Clorox CFO Steve Robb kicked off the morning, talking about the importance of taking time out of our busy lives to give back to our community. Oakland Education Fund Executive Director Brian Stanley thanked participants for setting an example of a community getting together to make a tangible difference. Glenview’s principal, Chelsea Toller, officially rallied the volunteers, having us shout “Go Griffins!”
And with that, more than 150 volunteers comprised of Clorox Finance employees, Oakland Ed Fund folks and Glenview parents and students got to work.
The school was abuzz with activity ranging from rug cleaning to painting and landscaping.
Within a few hours, Glenview looked completely different. Library shelves were stocked with books and magazines to enrich students. Bulletin boards lined the once-bare hallway walls. The teachers’ lounge, now in Glenview’s school colors, looked brand new.
Some of the more dramatic changes were outside — repainted murals looked glossy and bright; planters had been potted with new shrubbery and the recess area suddenly looked more inviting. One Glenview parent volunteer exclaimed that she could not wait for school to start so her son could enjoy the playground.
In an example of what this meant to the Glenview Elementary community, Antwan Wilson, superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, stopped by to help kindergarten teacher Morgan Walton organize her classroom. The cherry on top was the pallet of Clorox® disinfecting wipes Clorox donated to the school. After all, disinfecting wipes are among the most requested school supplies by teachers.
“It was a terrific experience partnering with the Oakland Education Fund to participate in such a successful event,” raved Alicia Yocum, Sigma’s new leader. “Being able to give back to our community, and with so many of my fellow colleagues, was a wonderfully rewarding experience.”
As the 2016 Day of Service came to a close, volunteers felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Our success was based on passion, partnership and tremendous Clorox Finance participation.
And since we’re finance people, let’s do the math. Take the Clorox Finance and non-Finance employee volunteers, add in the efforts of Glenview parents and students plus volunteers from the Oakland Education Fund, and you’ve got 450 hours of volunteer time spent getting Glenview Elementary School’s campus ready for the new school year.
What started as a typical summer Thursday in Oakland quickly became a very special day thanks to the commitment of volunteers. Additional thanks to Sigma for organizing the event and Oakland Education Fund for providing this rare opportunity.