The mood was festive and upbeat at Puyallup Playcare Center on Saturday, April 30. The skies were clear and the sun beamed down on nearly 300 volunteers, all clad in bright green shirts, and energetic music played to keep the crowd motivated. Comcast employees gathered, armed with paint brushes, soap buckets and hoses, to put a fresh face on the facility that so many area children make use of.
Some Comcast employees came solo while others brought their friends, neighbors and children to help rejuvenate the not-for-profit, volunteer-driven daycare center. Helpers cleaned, updated the children’s bathroom and painted five classrooms inside. Outside, volunteers added fresh wood chips, a basketball hoop and flagpole, and even striped the parking lot. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with their co-workers and families, these conscientious volunteers took part in the 15th annual Comcast Cares Day.
As part of a companywide initiative, Comcast employees unite on one special day in April every year to celebrate Comcast’s year-round commitment to bettering the communities in which they serve. Roughly 3,000 volunteers turned out across the state on April 30, joining a total of 100,000+ other Comcast volunteers nationwide that met at more than 900 different sites.
Coordinator Chioni Ramsey explains that her team was just one of many in Washington that set out to donate their time. One group from Puyallup continued their service at the Washington Soldiers Home and cemetery in Orting this year. Auburn-based employees partnered with the YMCA to upgrade Auburn YMCA’s Summer Camp area. In Seattle, Comcast employees worked with local organizations to coordinate student-designed murals, plant over 100 trees and beautify storefronts around Rainier Beach.
Volunteers at the Puyallup Playcare Center hailed from Comcast’s Fife location. With 305 registered helpers, this Comcast worksite boasted the third-highest number of committed volunteers in the state. Grant funding and manpower make it possible for Comcast Cares volunteers to accomplish incredible work in the span of a single day.
“This is just one of the many projects that we organize throughout the year,” Chioni says. “We do several blood drives. [Earlier last week] Comcast employees worked together to make fleece blankets for the YWCA. The goal of the work that we do on Comcast Cares Day and also year-round is to ‘make change happen’ and positively impact our community.”
Chioni shares that Comcast chooses the site of this big annual project with the help of nominations from employees. In coordination with community leaders, program coordinators strive to find a project each year that will benefit the most from the large-scale numbers and budget that the company allocates for its charitable works.
Sales agent Courtney Sallander nominated the Playcare Center this year. This clean-up has special significance for the Sallander family, whose daughter is enrolled at the play center.
“I go to Comcast Cares every year,” Courtney explains. “The reason that this was so important to me was that my daughter goes here. There have been several circumstances where the daycare center has asked parents to come down and paint or help with the fence or something, and no one ever volunteers. So I nominated them and they were so happy and so grateful, and it just feels so great to give back.”
Courtney and Chioni both echoed the sentiment that initiatives like Comcast Cares Day are part of what makes Comcast such a great place to work. “I’ve never worked for another company that gives back in such a big way,” Courtney says. “We would do little stuff, but nothing as involved as what we’re doing here. The first year that I took part, I was blown away at the magnitude of it. It took a day of our time and we accomplished a project that might otherwise have taken a year to complete. And I am so excited that my choice was selected this year.”
This volunteer day is also special for Courtney because, like so many of her co-workers, she brought her little one along to the 2016 clean-up. Chioni explains that Comcast encourages employees to get their friends, family and neighbors involved. “We do everything we can,” Chioni says, “to give our extended Comcast family a sense of what it’s like to give back.”
Sarah Hamilton, the assistant director and program supervisor at the Puyallup Playcare Center, says the impact of what volunteers accomplished on Comcast Cares Day is tremendous. “The employees who came to help accomplished in one day what it would have taken our team much longer to get done on our own. They improved our classrooms, and that in turn will improve the quality of the environment our kids learn and play in. With their help, we’re able to maintain the high standard of care that the children at the Playcare Center enjoy.”
Courtney appreciates the opportunity that outreach like this provides, not just to the community but also for her family. “My little one and I talk about it, before and after Comcast Cares Day, and it makes her feel just as good as I do to give back. Setting an example and trying to encourage more people to give back is important because, look around at what we’ve done today. Look at what we can do when we all get-together.”
To learn more about Comcast’s ongoing investment in the neighborhoods that it serves, visit comcast.com/community.