Four months ago DISCO launched our DISCO Cares initiative. The outpouring of support from our co-workers passionately wanting to helpafter Hurricane Harvey was so impressive. Our passion to help is so strong that we decided to create a way for employees to do more on an ongoing basis.
At their core, people are meant to help others. Think about it – it's that simple. We hear or read quotes like, “together is better,” “living is giving,” and “pay it forward.” Why? We strive – actually yearn – to give. I am beyond proud of the DISCO team because of their passion to help and to give. At the end of the day, isn't that what is really important?
I would like to share a couple of recent giving events coordinated with DISCO Cares that literally bring my tears to my eyes. The first I would like to describe myself, and the second I would like you to hear from the other DISCO employees as well.
DISCO Cares Power of Giving #1 - Salvation Army Angel Adoption
Since 1889, The Salvation Army has provided holiday assistance for disadvantaged children and seniors in our community. The goal is to bring a happy holiday season to these people by purchasing new, unwrapped items from their wish list. So DISCO adopted 100 Angels through the Salvation Army of Houston.
Our Angels ranged from 18 months to 82 years old. These Angels were in dire need, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Holiday wish lists included items that are needs, like diapers, car seats, bed sheets, shoes and winter clothes, with very few "wants". Each Angel wish list consisted of 2 items, though many of us provided more. 59 Houston based employees participated as well as many of our remote employees.
On Friday, December 9th, we delivered 100 bags full of gifts at the Secret Santa Warehouse. Though we had the option of having the gifts picked up or dropped off, DISCO management encouraged us to leave work and experience the “warehouse.” The trip required the use of 5 SUVs and 17 co-workers. Arriving at the Secret Santa Warehouse was a moment that we will never forget – it the size of a football field and full of gifts! I realized not only are we Houston Strong, we are Human Strong!
DISCO Cares Power of Giving #2 - Operation Snowstorm
This one is tough for me....actually, very tough. I call this day "perfect.” This year, DISCO had the privilege to volunteer for Operation Snowstorm, a non-profit started in 2014 by Ed Newby and his wife Sarah after a local community family lost their daughter to cancer. Their mission is to provide a moment for terminally ill children to escape, to play in the snow (which almost never happens in Houston!) with their family and friends.
On December 2nd, Operation Snowstorm hosted a storm for Daysha Johnson, an 11 year old girl diagnosed with osteosarcoma. The crew showed up at 11:00 a.m. to set up the event. One hour and 10,000 pounds of snow later, Daysha, her family, friends, and neighbors were playing in the snow and enjoying snow cones. Snowball fights, snowmen, and snow angels made for a fantastic winter day for Daysha and her family!
Here’s what the DISCO Cares volunteers had to say about it:
“My niece, Raelyn Cutbirth, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma for the second time when she was 4. We had never heard of Ed Newby, and Operation Snowstorm didn’t exist yet. Ed found out about Rae’s diagnosis on Facebook, and discovered that her favorite holiday was Christmas – a holiday she was unlikely to see again. Out of pocket and with no organization yet built, Ed had her front yard covered with snow, so that she could have one last Christmas. The impact it had on her, and on us, was astounding. For just one day, we stopped worrying about tomorrow and how painful it might be. And you could see in her eyes, for just one day, all the pain and exhaustion was replaced with sheer joy and playfulness. We will never EVER forget that day," remembers Jonathan McBride, "Ed decided to make a full-blown organization out of this idea, and provide that same type of day to other kids in the same situation, and when he asked us if we wanted to be a part of it, we jumped at the opportunity.”
“Unfortunately, Daysha couldn’t play long....her body was too weak," James “Buck” Bracey recounts, "dressed as Olaf (yes, Olaf from “Frozen!") I made my way up 2 flights of stairs to spend some time with Daysha while she rested. It was December 2nd, it was also 80 degrees. Sweat coming out of every pore and tears that would put Niagra Falls to shame running down my face, Olaf and Daysha exchanged fist pumps and held hands. Daysha was smiling from ear to ear. It will be a moment that I will never forget. It is the definition of the “Power of Moments” – define your Moment!”
“I firmly operate under the belief that sometimes the most rewarding experiences happen when we least expect it. I can’t say I knew what I was going into when Buck called me early Saturday morning asking if I would join him and spend part of my day at Operation Snowstorm; but, because I trust Buck, I knew that if it was worth his time to volunteer for an afternoon it was definitely worth mine. What struck me most was just how simple yet powerful this experience was. It wasn’t easy watching Daysha. As her father lifted up from her wheelchair, I couldn’t help but think of all the times I was simply too lazy to get up. There’s nothing that provides you with more perspective than volunteering – especially for Operation Snowstorm. When I thought I was the one who was giving, I was actually the one receiving. Being able to play in the snow was an enriching and powerful experience – one that I won’t likely forget,” said Joey Marks.
On a side note, 6 days after our Snowstorm for Daysha, it actually snowed in Houston! The last time it snowed in Houston was 2008!
DISCO Cares - 2018 & Beyond
2017 was a great start for DISCO Cares, but we hope to do much more in the coming years. I also encourage each and every one of you to listen to your core, to define your “why.” We spend north of 50% of our waking hours working – let’s lead with heart. Define your “help” and activate your “why” because sometimes it takes a village!
Interested in providing assistance to the charities mentioned in this post? Here are some ways you can help:
- Donate funds and more athttp://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ways-to-give/
- Schedule a free pick up of goods/clothing to donate, or drop off at your local Salvation Army Family store
- DISCO employees can work with DISCO Cares to volunteer at local events and fundraisers
- Set your local branch of the Salvation Army as your beneficiary for https://smile.amazon.com/
- Donate funds at https://www.operationsnowstorm.org/donate/
- Set Operation Snowstorm as your beneficiary for https://smile.amazon.com/
- DISCO employees can work with DISCO Cares to volunteer at snowstorms and fundraisers
- Field a kickball, softball, or volleyball team at the yearly OSS fundraiser tournament
- Nominate a child with terminal cancer for a snowstorm