contributing writers at specs+spaces
Under sunny skies in Burbank, California the BCR Center is surrounded by paint brush toting young adults. They are outfitted in navy t-shirts, jeans and baseball caps. But this isn’t your typical painting crew. Their t-shirts are emblazoned with the company name “Lockheed Federal Credit Union” and this is their volunteer day - a chance for the entire company staff to come out and do some good in their local community.
On any regular work day, you might see one of these “painters” in a suit helping to get you a good rate on your car loan at their office located near the Burbank Airport. But today, their work includes smiling and laughing and feeling good about getting to know their fellow co-workers and sharing in an effort that gets them out in the sunshine and giving back to a place in need.
The BCR (Burbank Center for the Retarded) offers extended day programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Recently their facility, located in a quaint suburban area, had fallen into disrepair and needed a coat of paint.
Lockheed’s Volunteer Program came to the rescue. In a partnership with Dunn-Edwards, who donated the paint for the project, Lockheed employees made it an official employee offsite day to come out and paint the BCR. T&T Improvements, Inc. prepped the building the day before with the necessary scraping and priming so the Lockheed volunteers could take on the fun task of applying the color coating that would give the BCR a whole new look.
“It’s something the employees really enjoy,” says Andrea Carpenter, Sr. Vice President of Marketing. “The company is a big supporter of partnering in the community so they allow staff to come out and still earn their normal pay. It’s a way to make it easy for them to do something good on company time and not have to wrestle with weekend schedules.”
As for how they choose a place to donate their time and labor, the main criteria is that it’s part of their local Burbank community. “We look for community partners such as BCR, non-profit organizations or schools that are short on funds and can really use the extra help and physical labor that goes into giving it a facelift,” said Carpenter. “It’s a big morale boost for the people who use the facility as well as our employees. It’s just nice to get out, give back, and get to know each other on a different level. It’s really a win-win.”
As the Lockheed staff paints, inside the BCR, adult classes are taking place. Many are gathered around large tables developing academic and communication skills. In another room, they are dancing and playing instruments. They practice interaction and socially appropriate behaviors as well as exploring interests and hidden talents in art and music. In the afternoon, the place will be filled with children for after-school, extended day care programs.
“We heard about the work they were doing at the BCR,” said David Thatcher, Vice President of E-Commerce and Technology, “It’s a special treat to know you’re helping others. We encourage our employees to do it and we feel it’s important as a management team to allow employees to use work time to do this. It’s a way for us to support something we all believe in.”
At the end of the day, all of those who came out from Lockheed can take a special pride in knowing they helped improve their community for years to come.