Working Together To Make Lasting Change in Brazil
As I reflect back on the past month of my life while in Uberlandia, Brazil, I think to myself how lucky I am to have been chosen to be a part of something as special as the CIIP Team in Brazil. I never knew that being in a country where I do not know the language could be so challenging, fun and interesting. I tried to imagine what I would be doing before I came to Brazil, and man was I surprised at the events that happened. I never knew my life would be changed forever, and it’s a good feeling!
What do you do when you come together with individuals that you have never been around? You work for the same company, but yet you are strangers…
Making An Impact And Memories In Brazil
Brazil, Uberlandia is a place full of nice and friendly people whom I met in October. The wonderful memories will always be in my heart for many years. The experiences I’ve gained during this trip not only gave me insight into the physical aspect of voluntary work, such as helping people and an organization, but also the emotional aspect of it as well through interactions with the people we served.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) that I worked for is SOS Mulher Família Uberlândia. This organization provides psychological, social and legal assistance to people involved in family violence. I was greatly impressed by how these unsung heroes and heroines assisted these…
SOS Women And Family Of Uberlândia: From Caterpillar To Butterfly
Sebastiana, 75 years ‘young’, is the housekeeper at #SOS Women and Family of #Uberlândia. Even at this age, she is hard-working and displays remarkable strength and resilience in exercising physical activities. Lamenting the weight of the years, she posed a simple, but profound question:
“Do women in the countries we come from work at her age?”
“Women never stop working.” I replied, considerately.
SOS Women and Family provides social, psychological and legal assistance to people who experience domestic violence, mostly low-income women living on the outskirts of town. In the words of a Chinese proverb: “Women hold up #half the sky.” Yet this is typically an aspiration as women are
DEUS É BOM PRA MIM
“DEUS É BOM PRA MIM” in English means “God is good to me.” This line of verse is a refrain from a children’s bible song. Everyone sang this beautiful melody at Casa Betesda before lunch each day. They sang this song to motivate their guests or themselves. We joined them in the chorus to celebrate their optimism and let them know even people from thousands mile away also care for them. This convinced us that volunteering for the CIIP was one of the best decisions we have made in our lives!
Thanks to the first Celanese International Impact Program (CIIP), our team had a chance to work for Casa Betesda, which means…
Reflections Of Brazil
Our final week in Uberlandia, Brazil, was pretty emotional, to say the least. Saying good bye to the people we grew close to in Brazil was tough. Saying good bye to the 9 persons in our organization that we worked with or spent time with every day was tougher. I can truly say that each person I came in contact with impacted my life in one way or another. I learned so much in the short time I spent in Brazil, not just from the Brazilian people, but more importantly from the nine other outstanding people from our organization that made up the first ever CIIP team. Most of the CIIP team is writing about what they did in Brazil and about how great their experience was working with the NGO’s and the Brazilian people. I personally want to take a minute and tell you about…
Aligned, Empowered And Committed To Success
When I signed up for the CIIP, I was looking for an adventure. I knew I was going to a place I had never been before – a place most tourists don’t go. I knew I was going to work with nine other Celanese employees that I didn’t know. I knew I was going to help someone else and make the world a little better.
About a month before we left, we were told which NGO (non-governmental organization, a.k.a. charity) we would be working with and what they wanted us to do. Rick, Barry and I got a “Scope of Work” that was two paragraphs. It said Casa Betesda’s registration, inventory and donation systems were all on…
A Garden Of Bounty In Brazil
The excitement I had when I got the news that I was going to Brazil is hard to put in to words, but the feeling I had when actually landing in Brazil after a long and exhausting flight is even harder to describe.
It was a mixture of joy, nerves, excitement, amazement, but most of all ready to start!
I arrived on Friday morning and the rest of the team started to arrive one by one later that day. After being met by Rodrigo from CDS (the company that organized the CIIP project for Celanese) we had lunch in the mall close by and had a chance to finally get to know the people we have been…
Train To The Future
I wanted to be part of the CIIP as I wanted to help to make the world better through my efforts. I spent 30 days in Uberlandia, Brazil, and left a piece of myself there. I have gained much more than I have given and I wish to share my feelings about my experiences, although it’s difficult to do so.
Day 1: Looking at these smiling faces, 30 days later, this picture looks more like a big family photo. In the coming 30 days: we would open our hearts and trust each other, we would help…
All About The People: Celanese International Impact Program
Looking back to one month in Brazil, it is easy to say what affected me most, namely all the people I met during this journey.
The smart, popular and funny CIIP Team – It was an honor for me to work and spend a lot of time with this wonderful group. Celanese did a very good job in selecting awesome individuals to work together on a multicultural team. The diversity of nationality, age, experience, habits, backgrounds, etc., was exciting, challenging and a lot of fun. I never felt bored or even alone during this month in a foreign country. I would have never imagined learning…
Ten Strangers In A Strange Land
What happens when you take 10 complete strangers from around the globe and drop them in a foreign country, where you know no one, you have no clue how to navigate the geography and none of you speak the local language? You get a little bit of chaos and a whole lot of fun! Welcome to Uberlandia and welcome to the Celanese International Impact Program – affectionately known as CIIP.
It’s quite difficult to describe in words what this experience has been like. It’s something you just have to experience yourself to truly understand the…
Improving The World One Person At A Time
Improving the World is part of our mission to achieving Vision 2016. Celanese is actively working on this by instituting the Celanese Foundation and the Celanese International Impact program. These activities will have a broad impact on many people throughout the world. Another way we can improve the world is by doing this one person at a time. If each one of us can make a difference for someone in need, the world would definitely be improved. I’d like to share my “one-person-at-a-time” story.
When I ran the Gobi March in 2012, I learned how to establish a charity. The process for establishing a charity took some research. This is especially the case when setting up a…
Building Homes, Building Dreams, Building For A Brighter Tomorrow
When I joined Celanese in 2005, never did I expect to learn, of all things, how to build a house. Eight years and eight homes later, and I can truly say that volunteering has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. It’s not every day that you can have a significant part of making someone else’s life-long dream come true.
Celanese and Habitat for Humanity have been working together to improve the lives of families since 2005. During our partnership, Celanese has donated over $325,000 and 7,500 volunteer hours. Between 2008 and 2011, Celanese helped to build several homes in the Highland Hills neighborhood of South Dallas. During that time I was able to experience the…
“Common Goals – Sporty Achievements”: The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge
The JP Morgan Corporate Challenge is the world’s largest corporate run with approximately 68,000 employees participating from more than 2,000 companies. The event is so large, that the entire downtown area of Frankfurt, Germany closed on June 12th to host the run.
More than 200 Celanese employees from Europe participated in the event under the slogan “Common goals – sporty achievements.” Celanese employees from across Germany, the Netherlands, and this year for the first time, seven colleagues from Lanaken, Belgium, participated in the run.
Today’s blog captures the thoughts of those seven colleagues who would like to share their personal impressions of the biggest event for Celanese employees in Europe…
Skateboarding, Ipads And Icecream – All In A Day’s Work!
What do skateboards, iPods and ice cream have in common? You might think they are all part of a fun-filled summer day for your children. Actually, they each played a role in our recent visit to M.C. Lively Elementary to teach Junior Achievement to a 4th grade class.
With the focus of our curriculum on entrepreneurism and successfully starting and running a business, what better way to demonstrate this concept to our class than through Tony Hawk, Steve Jobs, and Ben and Jerry’s. And while the name Tony Hawk may not necessarily be on the tips of our tongues, those 4th graders could have taught an 8-hour class just on him! For those of us who may not be as…
The Celanese Foundation: How It Will Change The Face Of Celanese
Celanese employees have a great spirit of volunteerism and community support. The annual Greater Dallas United Way fund raiser, Global Impact Week, and efforts in support of Habitat for Humanity, Make a Wish Foundation, and Junior Achievement to name a few are driven by employees in support of our community and those in need. Last year we estimate Celanese employees, suppliers and the corporation provided over $1.5 million dollars and 20,000 hours to community support around the world. We’re definitely making a difference and having a great time in the process.
But imagine for a moment if we can build an employee effort where our investments go directly to…
Walk For Wishes: A Family Outing
This time last year, moving trucks were relocating 300 employees to Las Colinas. However, my son and I were busy doing more important things, participating in the 2012 Walk for Wishes 5K. As we ran past the Urban Towers we waved at the C-ball logo and the new tenant sign welcoming Celanese to the neighborhood. We even saw a few of the trucks making their way around the race.
When I heard that Celanese was sponsoring the Walk for Wishes this year, I was excited to see what had become a personal family tradition for me was now going to be an opportunity to interact outside of the office with my…
Christmas In Germany: Bringing Joy To Kids In Need
“Corporate social responsibility” to me is giving something to the communities without expecting something in return … pretty much like Christmas.
For me Celanese is not just a great place to work, but also being a part of the communities where we work. We have four sites here in Germany employing approximately 1,500 people. A lot of people live close to where they work or have their kids in kindergartens and schools nearby.
The opportunity to get a day off work and do something good in a community project is something that is not really common here. That’s why I was more than surprised by how…
One Time That Spinning Your Wheels Does Accomplish Something…
We’ve all heard the old adage “spinning your wheels,” meaning doing something that achieves nothing.
But what if those wheels weren’t figurative wheels, but were real wheels — say bicycle wheels? And what if the spinning of those wheels accomplished something great — like raising money to fight diabetes?
You may ask: Why is it so important to raise money to fight this disease? Diabetes has become the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Given the statistics of diabetes in the U.S., there’s a pretty good chance that even if you don’t have diabetes, you probably know someone who does. According to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, diabetes affects approximately 25.8 million people in the U.S. Nearly 2 million of those cases are…
Organizing An Event To Make A Difference: How One Week Makes A Big Impact In The Community
When Global Impact Week was first introduced last year, I remember thinking how great it was that Celanese would put so much into giving back to its communities. I knew I had to participate, so I volunteered to help with one of the projects. This year, our site leadership asked me to lead the effort at the Narrows, VA site and I eagerly accepted.
In planning for our service activities, I was privileged to meet lots of people throughout the community. They came to me with their needs and we started…
Charity, Golf And Leadership – What It Means To Give Back
I had the distinct pleasure and honor of being the chairperson for our 5th Annual Charity Golf Outing benefitting the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The outing, held at Hackberry Creek Country Club in Las Colinas, was on October 1st and we had a terrific day with approximately 140 golfers. Because of the generosity of our participants, we were able to raise $595,000 this year (since inception our outing has donated over $2 million). Our tournament contribution is the largest single donation ever received by the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (and has been for a few years running).
I feel fortunate to work for Celanese, a company that gives its workforce an opportunity to…
Collaboration, Enthusiasm, Hard Work: Cultivating A Successful Career Innovation Workshop
You reap what you sow. The well-known farming metaphor applies not only to a farmer’s harvest but also volunteerism. Months of preparation and long nights of emails, phone calls, designing, brainstorming, and more all boiled down to two afternoons, my reward: JA’s new independent research project – the career innovation workshop in partnership with Celanese, a company who has graciously and zealously supported JA China.
May 11, the butterflies in my stomach fluttered with nervousness, anticipation and excitement on that May 11th day. The “what ifs” race through my mind. What if the students and volunteers don’t like the activities or find the other party incredibly boring? What if nothing goes according to plan? My fears ease away as I…
Giving Back To The Community
No matter our role at Celanese, we are among those in our communities who have resources – whether it is money, time or talent – to give back to the many who are less fortunate. It makes me very proud when I read the many stories from around the world where employees generously donate to their communities in various ways. It might be cleaning up the environmental, volunteering at the local food bank or community kitchen, helping out in a classroom in Dallas or Tarragona, or building a home, as was recently featured on our company’s Facebook page. There’s a long list of recorded examples of Celanese employees giving back, and I know that is supplemented by many more of you who give back in ways we’ll never hear about.
Though I struggle to hammer nails in straight and can’t tell you when to use a mitre saw or a circular saw, I have been welcomed into…
Barbecue For Our Troops – Helping The Country Through The Community
At Celanese we believe in giving back. Recently I had the opportunity to do that, and give back to those who serve in the US Army.
I work at the Clear Lake, Texas plant and volunteer with a program called “BBQ For Our Troops.”
BBQ for Our Troops is a non-profit, volunteer initiative “To honor those who protect our freedoms, and their loved ones, with the hospitality of the uniquely American meal of barbecue.” Why does this mean so much to me? I get the honor of cooking and serving your typical backyard barbecue picnic of meat and sides, active duty American soldiers and wounded soldiers.
This is the fourth time I’ve helped with the project and the second time my…
Paying It Forward – Investing In Our Community
Have you ever had a day where you are told how great you are? Or called a “Rock Star” no matter which direction you turned? How about receiving not just one or two notes of thanks and praise, but a handful of personal cards and letters with heartfelt notes of appreciation recognizing your phenomenal acts of kindness? That was my day at MC Lively Elementary School in Irving.
On behalf of Celanese, we gave 900 students school supply items, customized T-shirts and backpacks. Students could barely contain their excitement as Celanese volunteers paraded up and down hallways handing out backpacks with school supplies and T-shirts. Several students said that they would never be able to afford these types of necessary school items without…
Returning To Elementary School
I was thrilled to participate recently in two Junior Achievement teaching days with my Celanese colleagues Gretchen Rosswurm and Phil McDivitt as we co-taught a kindergarten and a third grade class at MC Lively Elementary in Irving, Texas.
It was a blast! Junior Achievement is a well-organized, straight-forward program that allows career professionals the opportunity to share their life experiences and make a difference in the lives of elementary students. I have taught children in the past, but no experience is required to volunteer. From my recent experience, I would like to share a few helpful tips…
My 3rd Grade JA Nerves Turned To JA Joy
I usually get a bit nervous right before a big presentation at work. Little did I know I would have the same nervous feeling getting up in front of an elementary school class! For business presentations, you get ready for it by reviewing your materials and preparing answers to questions that you know will probably be asked. However, it is much different preparing for an audience of 3rd graders… anything could happen!
Volunteering for Junior Achievement (JA) really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. Are they listening? Will they understand me? Will I make a positive impact in their lives? These were thoughts that went through my head when I entered the classroom. All eyes were on me. I took a deep breath and said…
Our Students Are Going To Shine
Since August, Garland Independent School District and North Garland High School have launched an engineering program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is the leading non-profit provider of rigorous and innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education used in middle and high schools across the U.S. With this program our students are engaged in hands on, project based learning that will prepare them for a possible career in the engineering field.
We have been fortunate to work with Celanese; without their sponsorship and guidance, it wouldn’t be where it is today. With Celanese’s help, I received training at the University of Texas, Tyler, to prepare me to teach the Project Lead the Way curriculum which is standard in every state. We also have been able to supply all of our students with their own engineering ‘kits’ and purchased other supplies required by Project Lead the Way.
Bridging Communities And Cultures In 365 Days
I am not going to lie, when I got the job offer to start the new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, Celanese Connects, I had no idea what I was in for. Before this I was working as a project manager in the IT department. I worked on an assortment of projects including the data center relocation. It was a huge change to say the least. But I was up for the challenge and absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to be a part of a new program that affects employees around the world. When we began communicating the new CSR program, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, I really wasn’t sure what the response was going to be…