Headquartered on a rural 24-acre campus five miles from the Pacific Ocean, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families provides an oasis for abused or neglected women, children and adolescents, and those with severe emotional, social, behavioral, and mental health challenges.
Amy Ponce, Assistant Manager, Community Leader, and 11-year company veteran, reached out to the center to offer support. Five years later, inspired by her passion, the store team is a solid partner for Casa. The team supports Casa through food drives and holiday gift giving. They are committed to the organization and have a perfect record of fulfilling every wish submitted.
“Amy has been an overwhelming inspiration in encouraging our store associates to volunteer their time,” says Colin Kato, Acting District Manager for Gap Outlet. “Amy’s dedication is purely a gift from the heart.”
When Doris and Don Fisher opened the first Gap store back in 1969, they knew they wanted to do more than sell clothes.
The Gap China team in Shanghai, inspired by our company founders, decided to support the Ivy Green program, which teaches migrant children life skills and the importance of higher education. China has a large migrant population – many people come from the countryside to big cities for work opportunities. They often find that they need additional skills to get new opportunities.
Kristen Chew, a Community Leader and Senior Manager of Store Operations at Gap China who relocated from San Francisco to Shanghai about a year ago, organizes a workshop to teach students part of the migrant community interview skills.
“Knowing that we inspired the kids to do more and be more despite them not having the same opportunities as other local students is really why I was so proud to be part of this event,” says Kristen. “Part of growing Gap China is also about showing our local community that we are a company that does more than sell clothes.”
The team is planning more events to continue their commitment to Ivy Green and provide new opportunities for students from migrant families to achieve their dreams.
When Old Navy Store #3379 was looking to amp up their volunteering, finding an organization was easy. Community Leader Laura Fox had been volunteering at a local school for years and knew it needed more support. Now the team has been partnering with East Fairmont Middle School for the past four years, volunteering directly with the students to support reading and skill building.
The connections made with the kids have continued, and the store hosted a Camp Old Navy event for the former students, now in 10th and 11th grades, teaching them job application and interview skills. Taking advantage of the Field Team Grant program, the volunteer funding has been used to buy much-needed school supplies as well.
“The kids love it when the store team visits. It's a really big deal,” says Melissa Hothem, Old Navy Market Leader.
The team at the Banana Republic Factory Store (BRFS) at Opry Mills in Nashville, Tennessee, knows a little something about fun. So when they had the opportunity to teach skills to kids from Youth Villages, they decided to create a game. Complete with their own Pat Sajak, played by Community Leader, Michael Jones, the game helped to reinforce what they had learned at the store. The interactive training focused on mock interviews, completing applications and resumes, and even instructions on how to put together job interview outfits.
The team’s effort is multiplied by other stores throughout the District. Over the past three years, over 30 team members have volunteered, helping approximately 150 teens and young adults prepare for their future outside of Youth Villages.
Rachel Freshwater, a Sales Associate, now with Old Navy, has taken a leadership role in the team’s volunteering. “This is a terrific example of how one employee can make a huge difference in the community by just simply encouraging others,” says Dan Bristol, BRFS District Manager. “Her active involvement encouraged the Old Navy team to also begin a relationship with Youth Villages.”
With nine locations throughout upstate New York, the reach of AIDS Community Resources (ACR) is extensive. The organization provides support services to people living with chronic diseases, including HIV/AIDS and a safe environment to LGBTQ kids and their families. Last year, 237 young people and their families participated in activities led by the organization.
Old Navy Store #6182 is a solid partner for ACR, and Community Leader Kimberlee Rieppel leads the charge. The store has been a top corporate fundraiser at the annual AIDS walk for the past three years. The team has also hosted teens from ACR at Camp Old Navy, where the kids get to come to the store for a job shadow experience.
“The work that ACR and their youth programs do in the community inspires Kim and the team to become even more involved,” says Katie Miley, Old Navy Market Leader. “The magic behind this team is a leader who truly cares about an organization. It is difficult to not feel compelled to get involved when you hear Kim talk about the work of ACR.”
In 1976, a group of Bay Area women founded La Casa de las Madres, California’s first and the nation’s second shelter dedicated to women and children escaping domestic violence. The shelter is available to respond to calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and gives survivors the tools to transform their lives.
For the past two years, a team from the Banana Republic San Francisco headquarters office has supported La Casa by providing a small but very meaningful gift for new residents at the shelter.
The team, led by Community Leader, Katie Brown-Davis, has decorated over 100 diaries with inspirational quotes for the men and women looking for shelter and support, helping to ensure the person using the diary feels supported, at home, and cared for. The team has also created beaded bracelets that carry powerful messages around a teen dating violence awareness campaign.
Katie has made the program a success. “We work great as a team because Katie makes it easier for all of us to attend,” says Alejandro Alvarez, Senior Director of Marketing for Banana Republic. “She motivates us and makes sure the activities are fun – and valuable to the partners.”
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