I want to share this story because I hope it inspires us all to think beyond our own needs. For me, it is harder to care about something, to give to something when I don’t have skin in the game. However, Mac DeLaup and the John Eagle Honda team seem to be willing and able to do what is not always easy. They give generously with an eye to the impact of their giving on our clients – not on their business. In the short year since we met the John Eagle Honda team, they sponsored Care2Spin, Pajama Day, and a Holiday Drive.
We met Mac through a friend of a friend. Allie Herzog and her indomitable PR team at IntegratePR were working pro bono on Care2Spin and brought Mac into the mix. Through the creative and strong marketing efforts of IntegratePR and John Eagle Honda, we had amazing coverage-helping raise funds and awareness for Easter Seals Houston. (In fact, Integrate PR won the prestigious American Marketing Association Crystal Award for Care2Spin (Best PR Campaign and Corporate Citizenship) and for PJ Day (Maverick Marketing award).
Our newest program, Social Motion Skills, www.socialmotionskills.org, provides real life social skills training for children and adolescents with autism, ADHD and other similar neurological disorders. Social Motion Skills, in collaboration with our High School/High Tech Program, is working to provide summer internships for high school aged students with disabilities. Many of these students have heard about all that they can not do – but we work hard to focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities. By finding sites willing to hire a student who may need some accommodation, by providing jobs mentoring, interviewing experience, jobs shadowing and community partners willing to fund the internships – many of the students successfully complete their first ever paid job.
So…back to my friend of a friend, Mac. Within a few minutes of my sending Mac an email asking if he would consider placing a summer intern at John Eagle Honda – he replied “absolutely.” I told Mac that we would use grant funds to pay for the student’s internship if he could provide the job site and a mentor. A few days later, Mac interviewed the young man and offered him the internship. Mac also said that he would fund the internship so that we could use the grant money to help yet another student.
Easter Seals is so fortunate to have broad community support. The example of our internships reflects this – it a collaborative effort between parents, Easter Seals, funders and employers. If you are interested in learning more about funding or providing a job site for one of our interns, please contact email@example.com. I am truly grateful for the publicity, for the donations from the DeLaup family and John Eagle Honda, but possibly my favorite gift from Mac was given at the end of the student’s interview. Before the meeting concluded, Mac gave the young man a John Eagle Honda t-shirt and welcomed him to the team. Because Mac gives with his heart, he knew how much it would mean to a young man to be accepted-just the way he is – as part of a team. Some gifts are priceless.