by Leslie Patterson
Volunteers brighten their communities and the lives of countless children with Wall Art™ murals.
Angels really do exist. They come in the form of generous people who give their time to help others. Every year the McKesson Corporation encourages their employees to take a day to give back to their neighborhoods with their program called Community Days. In 2006, using the benefits of art therapy, volunteers painted murals in many children’s hospitals and clinics. These volunteers have given countless children a feeling of hope, and brightened their lives in times of despair.
Volunteers paint a mural to help make learning fun in Alpharetta, Ga. This location increased their Community Days participation by 25% from last year.
McKesson is a healthcare services and information technology company headquartered in San Francisco. Working in this industry, employees understand the struggles of children's hospitals and development centers. With an urge to give back to their community, McKesson executives created Community Days, an all-employee volunteer week. Nine years ago this concept was launched so McKesson employees could come together as a team to brighten their neighborhoods.
Today, the McKesson Community Days has become a lasting tradition of goodness and hope. Three years ago the project expanded beyond the San Francisco limits to incorporate multiple cities throughout the United States.
In 2006 the event reached 47 different McKesson sites across the United States and Canada. And Community Days will continue to grow.
“McKesson sponsors this event to encourage employees to take a day to give back to their community,” Manager of Community Relations Christine Lopez says. “We’ve grown so much over the years and we’re hoping to keep expanding and become an international event.”
The past year’s Community Days focused on painting wall murals in local hospitals, community clinics and child development centers. The concept revolved around art therapy, and how a decorative painting can help ease a child’s pain. “These murals are a lasting gift with many therapeutic benefits,” Lopez says. “Recovery is mental, not just physical.”
In Newton, Mass., volunteers worked together to paint four murals for Riverside Community Care, which offers therapeutic and support services for developmentally delayed or at-risk infants and toddlers.
Volunteers paint a mural at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Wall Art™ murals are created using easy steps of taping up the paper, tracing the image, and then painting. The finished product is a fun and exciting image for everyone to enjoy. The Wall Art murals were ideal for McKesson’s Community Days due to their simplicity and the fact that multiple people were able to work on them at the same time. This particluar mural is located in the hospital’s Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders which has the appropriate theme “The Sky is the Limit!”
The American Cancer Society states that art therapy can help people “express hidden emotions, reduce stress, fear and anxiety, and provide a sense of freedom.”
“A child may see one of these murals right before an operation, and they may feel a little less scared,” says Lopez. “That alone is an amazing gift.”
This past May, spanning from coast to coast, McKesson employees selflessly rolled up their sleeves and went to work. More than 2,000 volunteers from 47 different sites painted nearly 200 murals.
In addition to the murals, employees participated in food banks and helped clean up outdoor areas with gardening.
One location that was deeply affected was the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Many volunteers worked together to create a very fitting mural that touched numerous people throughout the hospital’s community.
“McKesson has been such a great friend of the hospital for the past 19 years, providing not only monetary support, but also the gift of their employees’ time and talents,” said Stephanie Brigger, vice president and director of development at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
“Our friends at McKesson volunteered their time this past spring to paint a mural for our children to enjoy. The hospital’s Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders evaluates and treats thousands of children for dyslexia each year,” Brigger explains. “The mural adds lots of vibrant color, and the hot air balloon design underscores the Center’s theme, ‘The Sky is the Limit!’ We are so thankful for the dedication and enthusiasm of McKesson employees.”
While Community Days helps many people in need every year, the activities also are very beneficial for the volunteers. “Getting into these clinics gave our employees meaningful insight into what McKesson, as a healthcare company, does and stands for,” Lopez explains.
And, many of the employees saw their time spent volunteering turn into an enjoyable team-building experience. “This was a great way to improve company morale and build team spirit across groups that don’t normally work together,” said volunteer Karen Lynn-Jones of Newton, Illinois.
Even though the affect of the murals is very significant, the task itself was very simple. McKesson tested the Wall Art™ murals for ease and simplicity. “People who have never painted before were able to do this project with no problem,” Lopez explains. “We also liked how multiple people could work on the murals together, get it done in one day, and the clean-up was a breeze.”
Wall Art murals are completed with just three simple steps: Tape the paper to the wall, Trace the pattern onto the wall, and Paint using the paints provided.
In just a couple of months, McKesson will be at it again. Their efforts will continue to help the youth of the world, and will brighten the communities where we live and work. Their employees will again become angels who give a little bit of their time and their hearts, and everyone involved will reap the rewards.
For more information on McKesson, please visit www.mckesson.com.
For more information on the Wall Art™ murals used for McKesson’s 2006 Community Days, please visit www.projectplans.com.
The Wall Art™ murals have already helped count-less children cope with troubling issues. The above mural was painted for Jeffco Children’s Alliance, a non-profit organization located in Lakewood, Co., whose mission is to reduce trauma for victims of child abuse. Executive Director Cheryl Fugget wrote to McKesson describing the murals lasting benefits:
One child came into the building and did not go into the play room (which never happens). She wouldn’t take a snack, she didn’t want a book or any stuffed animal. We were worried she wouldn’t go back to the interview room. The forensic interviewer told her to come down the hallway to see something new. The interviewer pointed out the fish on the mural and the girl started chatting away so the mom slipped out. The interviewer got the child to speak, saying all her favorite colors and what she liked about the mural, and if the fish were real or pretend. After that breakthrough, the child was comfortable enough to sit down and talk with the interviewer on why she was there.
Thanks to each one of you. Your attention to de-tail, your standard of excellence, your caring for the kids and the legacy you have left for future children that come to the Center is powerful.”
Children in Scottsdale, Ariz., take part in the celebration with a big ‘thanks’ to the McKesson Corporation.
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