"When students come through the front door and see those flowers, look at the artwork, it lets them know our school is a safe place to be," Principal Rembert Seaward says.
Nearly 340 volunteers from Comcast NBCUniversal, City Year, and 14 other local organizations transformed Houston Elementary last spring as part of Comcast Cares Day. Some painted hallways and doors. Others built planter boxes and a new welcome sign. And some handed out blankets, craft kits, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to local families in need.
In all, Comcast Cares Day volunteers made an estimated $18,455 worth of improvements at Houston, including repairs and cabling upgrades in its computer labs. "When I think about the number of improvements — and how they all happened in a single day — I’m just overwhelmed," Rembert says.
Record-breaking number of employees, family members, and other volunteers who participated in over 900 service projects as part of Comcast Cares Day in 2015
This annual celebration of year-round service united a record 100,000-plus employees, family members, and nonprofit partner representatives for service projects at over 900 sites in 2015. Fueled by our employees’ shared passion for supporting their local communities, Comcast Cares Day generates both immediate results and lasting benefits.
"Comcast Cares Day is a transformative experience," says Sherri Jurgens, Senior Director of National Programs for Community Investment at Comcast. "Employees drive Comcast Cares Day from beginning to end — they are our best ambassadors. They appreciate the organizations that have made a difference in their lives, and they want to personally give back."
One in every eight Comcast Cares Day projects last year focused on renovating local schools to provide a better learning environment for children. Volunteers also helped improve parks, beaches, senior centers, and other community sites across the United States and 21 other countries.
"Comcast NBCUniversal is so immersed in communities, and the people who work there genuinely want to help their neighbors," says City Year Detroit Executive Director Andrew Stein, who helped coordinate the service day at Houston. "It has a transformational impact on the students as they walk through the door of this school each day." City Year, an education-focused national service organization and one of our national partners, has supported Comcast Cares Day since 2001. Comcast sponsors teams of City Year AmeriCorps members, who serve as tutors, mentors, and role models to students in high-need schools across the country, keeping kids in school and on track to graduation.
One of the benefits of Comcast Cares Day is that we can make major improvements quickly. "When you drop 340 people into one school for Comcast Cares Day, you can accomplish a ton," Andrew says. "It’s more than just cleanup work — these are all things that make kids want to come to school and learn."
Volunteer hours donated through Comcast Cares Day since 2001
Volunteers are particularly valuable to schools like Houston, which serves about 240 students in a mostly low-income neighborhood. Rembert and his staff put most of their energy into raising academic performance, he says. "There’s no way I could have accomplished this many projects without somebody like Comcast there to make it happen."
Comcast also provided a $25,000 grant that allowed the school to buy 50 new laptops. "Having greater access to technology helps our students see the world differently," Rembert says. "They’re able to learn more naturally and in ways that excite them."
This spring, Houston teachers will use the eight garden boxes built on Comcast Cares Day to teach students about urban farming and other subjects. "Long term, the support from Comcast NBCUniversal is a tremendous benefit for every student here," Rembert says. "It’s made my job a lot easier, and let’s just say our kids are very motivated now."