By Kristinn Leonhart
Let me just start by saying, “I love my job!” It’s incredibly rewarding to come to work every day as a public servant, helping the Agency whose mission it is to protect public health and the environment. Occasionally, I even get to go out in the field like I did last week for our ENERGY STAR Change the World with Community Service Tour.
ENERGY STAR partners host fun educational events across the country all year long. Earlier this year, a colleague had a bright idea. Let’s ask our partners to work together to make a difference in people’s lives through energy efficiency and community service during the month of October, leading up to ENERGY STAR Day on October 28th. Several partners answered our invitation, and we are impressed by the events they put together for our first-ever Community Service Tour.
“Stop” number 3 was in Edgewood, Maryland at a Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County (BGCHC). ENERGY STAR partner BGE (the local utility company) joined with other partners, Samsung Electronics, The Home Depot, and BEMO Energy Solutions to bring new positive energy to the club and give the club an energy efficiency upgrade and makeover. BGCHC provides after school care to about 4,000 kids, ages 6 to 18 throughout the year, and membership costs only $20 per year so these upgrades will be making a huge impact on the students and community! Matt Buecker from BGE told me that when he was calling to invite other local companies to join BGE in upgrading the facility, all he had to say was that he was working with ENERGY STAR, Samsung and The Home Depot, and they wanted to help. He said the power of having three big brands behind this project helped immensely. A local furniture store, Gardiner’s, donated furniture to the club. C&J Contractors donated their time installing the new energy-efficient lighting throughout the club. The new lighting is projected to save the club $5,000 this year in utility bills. Art with a Heart painted a splendid mural in one of the classrooms. The local grocery store donated food and dessert to the club for the family night unveiling of the project.
The BGCHC basketball court before and after brighter, ENERGY STAR certified lighting was installed during the event.
Volunteers painted the entire club. BGCHC staff asked the kids to help select new themes and colors for the rooms. The kids chose various superheroes for each of the rooms. They couldn’t really see from one side of the gym to the other before the new lights were installed. Samsung donated three ENERGY STAR-certified TVs, a new refrigerator, and 10 new tablets to the club. The Home Depot helped with painting the club, as well as provided beautiful landscaping and painted benches outside the club.
Talking to Ashira Quabili, a Development & Marketing Associate at BGCHC, helped me understand that after school care includes teaching children about potential career opportunities. Their motto is “Great futures start here,” and they’re not kidding. They have an amazing STEM program (science, technology, engineering, and math). The kids create and program underwater robots and send them on missions. The students just released the BGCHC’s first mobile app – a decision-making app designed to walk anyone through how to make good choices. The kids also shared a video of how much they like STEM– watch them in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aecIpiirznI. You will smile!
Matt thought it was the power of big brands that helped him make the event a success. I’d like to tell him that he, Ashira and the BGCHC staff, and everyone who volunteered in the weeks leading up to the energy-efficiency makeover of the club are the real superheroes. Those kids’ futures certainly will be brighter for years to come thanks to BGE, BGCHC staff, Samsung, The Home Depot, Gardiner’s, Art with a Heart, and C&J Contractors. That’s the power of positive energy.
Check out the other events on the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Tour at: energystar.gov/changetheworldtour.
Kristinn Leonhart is the ENERGY STAR Brand Manager and a big fan of saving money and energy and keeping life simple.