Where Are You From?

In September, eleven Celanese employees departed for New Delhi to participate in the second of two Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) service events in 2016. The second group served for two weeks teaching children, young men and women a variety of school and life skills, from English and Math to sewing and karate. Hear from our CIIP participants as they reflect on their volunteer service.

Where are you from? This is the most frequently asked question of me. So, I also wanted to know how my 8-year-old son would answer this same question given that he has been exposed to many countries in his young life. His parents were born and raised in different countries. He has lived in four different countries. His dad has worked in nearly a dozen countries. He was born in Texas. So, I asked him point blank: “Luke, where are you from?” He, without hesitation, said: “Dad, I am from planet earth.”

Aren’t we all from the same place? So, for this reason, I want to express my appreciation to Celanese executives who have answered this question in a similar fashion. We have a rich tradition of giving to others in our own backyard by investing both equity and sweat. We also have a rich tradition of giving financial support to our neighbors. With the introduction of Celanese Foundation, we have changed the game of giving to our distant neighbors by putting in sweat equity. Without the generosity of our leaders, we could not invest in our neighbors on planet earth, neither financially nor with sweat equity. I simply say thank you Celanese for investing in the Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) so we could have the privilege of taking the heart of this company to faraway neighbors to help improve the world. Also, thank you to my team for “doing what you do, so I can go do what I do.”

I went into my CIIP assignment not knowing what to expect. So I went in with an open mind and the conviction that I would bring the heart of Celanese and my own unique personality, regardless of the opportunity. My assignment was to teach Math and English to three groups of children, 5 year olds, 6 year olds, and 10-11 year olds. I also had the privilege of teaching football, basketball and volleyball to all three groups. I got to argue with a 5-year-old about how many sides a circle has. We finally settled on the answer being one of these: one, none or too many sides. I argued with 10-year-old what is zero divided by zero? We finally settled on the answer being one of these: zero, one or no one knows. We went from “me serve,” “me serve,” “me serve” in volleyball to having a rotation. In all of these interactions the children were exposed to different people, different cultures and got to know their neighbors. What I got out of this brief assignment is hope – hope for our planet. The sheer joy, intelligence and generosity of these children gave me hope that our planet, our little neighborhood, has a bright future.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of 11 blogs by Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP) team members who served for two weeks in New Delhi, India.

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About the author


				Andy Penton is the Global Director of IT Applications at Celanese. He enjoys spending time with family, outdoors cooking and preparing for a golf career.				

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