Lowe’s Heroes Program Rallies Employee Volunteers to Improve Wells Middle School
“Never stop improving.” These are good words to live by. In this particular case, it is the corporate credo of Lowe’s Home Improvement. Under their heading of Social Responsibility, Lowe’s funds and staffs numerous community improvement projects. They call the program “Lowe’s Heroes.” This company-wide program encourages employees in a location to work together, adopt a volunteer project with a local non-profit organization or K-12 public school and to make a difference.
Earlier this year, Dublin Lowe’s General Manager, Sly Renard, was making local phone calls. He reached out to Cindy Leung at Wells Middle School. Ms. Leung is the School Community Liaison. Sly proposed a visit to the site to explore improvement possibilities. Along with Principal Kevin Grier, the team identified opportunities for more drought resistant landscaping and some touch-up painting. There was also a need for additional outdoor seating adjacent to the new Humanities building. The project scope was hatched and the wheels went into motion. At store #2273 on Dublin Blvd. a sign-up sheet was posted for the Wells project near the lunch room. This was not something new. As a corporation, Lowe’s Heroes has completed more than 1,200 community improvement projects across North America in 2013. More importantly, this mission represents true volunteerism. The employees contribute their own time and are not compensated.
OneDublin.org recently visited the Wells campus to check in on the work in progress and to visit with two Lowe’s volunteers. Virginia Corvello is the Human Resources Manager and Red Agdeppa is the Operations and Administrative Manager.
OneDublin.org: How do you determine which projects to take on? Do non-profits or schools contact you?
Virginia Corvello: “No, we outreach to the community. We talk to the schools or the organizations to see who is in need of a project and or can use our help.”
OneDublin.org: Each and every employee is conscious of the Heroes program. What is your internal process and how have the employees responded?
Red Agdeppa: “The employees are really excited to support any type of community project. They want to volunteer their time. And everyone that is here today is on their own time – no one is getting paid. We usually communicate upcoming projects a few months ahead. So, we updated our community board with the fact that we would be working at Wells Middle School. Almost immediately, people began to sign up. In our first two days here, we’ve had over 20 volunteers. While we’ll try to finish up our work on Tuesday, we do have another group that is prepared to come out tomorrow if needed.”
OneDublin.org: What was the process in determining what improvements would be made at Wells? And what will be accomplished?
Corvello: “We collaborated with the school staff. After viewing the space, General Manager Sly Renard and I spoke with Dr. Grier and Ms. Leung. We listened to their aspirations and then exchanged ideas with what we could actually do. One of our associates actually constructed the benches and picnic tables at the store. We assembled and painted them here. We also dug up the landscape between the buildings, laid down weed covers and topped them with mulch. We also repainted the planters on the side of the building. We pretty much made it to look brand new.”
OneDublin.org: Subsequent to completing a project, describe the type of feedback that you receive from your employees.
Corvello: “They are very proud of what they’ve done. They will tell their co-workers that it’s a lot of fun and there is a lot of pride in building something for the community.”
Agdeppa: “Once we finish a project, we take a lot of pictures. We have constructed a large board in the store that depicts some of the work that we’ve done. It is located near the restrooms, so the public can see it. We also post some of the letters of thanks that we have received. To show our gratitude, we will celebrate with a BBQ to thank our employees for their time. It’s a celebration.”
OneDublin.org: For clarity, your corporation donates all of the materials?
Agdeppa: “Yes, it does. However, we also partner with some of our vendors. As an example, I contacted Scotts and told them about the Wells project. In response, they donated three pallets of mulch.”
OneDublin.org would like to acknowledge the Dublin Lowe’s store and its associates for their generous efforts. The students and staff at Wells Middle School will never stop being grateful for your contributions.