This years Camden Cares event took place at Charlotte Family Housing located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC. As stated on the Charlotte Family Housing website, charlottefamilyhousing.org, “the mission of Charlotte Family Housing is to empower homeless families to achieve long term self sufficiency through shelter, housing, support services and advocacy”.
On September 24th, 2015, Camden Cares arrived to assist in achieving this mission alongside the Charlotte Family Housing staff.
Our tasks included pressure washing buildings and sidewalks, painting hallways and stairwells, cleaning and repairing outside equipment, general landscaping, cleaning and organizing rooms indoors and organizing and preparing donations for give away.
The Camden Charlotte team separated into groups in order to get the job done. Both office staff and maintenance staff teamed up and combined forces to make sure each task was handled efficiently and successfully.
The Camden Cares initiatives are always eagerly awaited because it gives many of us a chance to volunteer our time and to mingle with the colleagues that we may not see on a day to day basis. I had a chance to speak to some of my coworkers regarding their experiences. First time Camden Cares participant, Elizabeth Machesky, Leasing Consultant at Camden South End told me that she “enjoyed the experience. It was nice to get together with other employees in Charlotte who [she] does not normally get to see and be able to give to the community at the same time. [She] loved to see everyone working together to give back to the community.” When I asked Elizabeth if she had many other opportunities to volunteer she told me that “she always volunteered with [her] church, so it was nice to volunteer with [her] co-workers”.
This year Camden Charlotte has welcomed many new employees to the family, Elizabeth being one of them. These events are such a great way to show what Camden is all about and initiate our new colleagues with lots and lots of hugs, a Camden requirement!
Among the volunteers were also members of our Camden Cares Committee. This committee is responsible for organizing many of the events and for serving as “go-to” people during the process. Longstanding member, Janette Hendershott, Community Manager of soon to be opening, Camden Gallery, told me that she is “filled with an overwhelming sense of pride to be a part of something so powerful. To see [her] Camden family members working side by side, cultivating shared experiences while making a positive impact on the community and the people in it, warms [her] heart.”
Camden Cares events do not represent time away from work but something far more important – time spent giving to those in need.
As a Camden blogger I had the ability to speak to a few different coworkers about their experiences. To share a few thoughts:
When asked about the most rewarding part of the Camden Cares event, Assistant Manager at Camden Ballantyne, Celina Del Toro told me she felt that “being able to give back to those in need and seeing the impact that our group effort had on those in Charlotte Family Housing” was her greatest reward.
Travis Lopshire, Leasing Consultant at Camden Dilworth, told me that although “running our business is important, our community and the people in it are far more important. [He] does not feel that Camden will get massive publicity from the event and he does not believe that it will increase the business of the day, but it is great to see our employer make a point in the fact that helping others simply because we can is much more important than the business that we could have done that day.”
The volunteer effort held a special place for each person volunteering. Regardless of their reasoning, the takeaways are positive.
When asked what could be taken away from the day at Charlotte Family Housing, Assistant Manager at Camden Gallery, Rachel McAdam noted that “so much more can be done when we work together” and Richard Moss, Community Manager at Camden Cotton Mills, felt inspired to “do more for the community both through work and with [his] personal time.”
The day was well spent and the work done was noticeable to both Camden employees and the Charlotte Family Housing Staff. Camden Cares left their mark, once again!
We all look forward to the next time we are able to give our time to make our community a better place.