Each fall, Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) kicks off a season of giving through the Barney & Barney Foundation. The foundation awards grants to local non-profits, raising funds through the annual Rock the Foundation rock concert and golf tournaments in Orange County and the Bay Area. In addition to donating their time and resources at these events, our colleagues enjoy getting to know the grant recipients and the work they do by spending time volunteering. This year colleagues took advantage of volunteer opportunities at Home Start in San Diego, George Mark Children’s House in the Bay Area, and Laura’s House in Orange County.
Here’s a recap:
At Home Start
Home Start is dedicated to effectively preventing and treating child abuse. The team at Home Start provides a variety of services in the community to help eliminate the causes of abuse. From their Maternity Shelter Program to parenting classes to child development specialists and so much more, children and their families depend on Home Start. Key to their success is a focus on a variety of self-sufficiency programs which allow their clients to develop the skills needed to thrive.
In September, our colleagues worked at one of their locations, organizing the warehouse, sorting through boutique donations, and working on their new maternity shelter. Colleagues enjoyed the camaraderie with one another and getting acquainted with some of the families and staff at Home Start.
Volunteering with Home Start was such an incredible experience! Home Start’s staff is so passionate about helping our San Diego families, and it felt great to give back to the community. I was also reminded of how we can make a bigger difference than we think whenever we’re able donate our time to others. – Katie Moore, Client Executive
At George Mark Children’s House
Our Bay Area colleagues were given the opportunity to spend the day volunteering at the George Mark Children’s House, the first free standing pediatric palliative care center in the United States. George Mark provides care to children with incurable illnesses, ensuring they live their lives in the most comfortable way possible. We spent the day assisting with a variety of outdoor projects such as painting, tearing up concrete, and gardening.
“No parent wants to think about losing a young child. George Mark home provides a setting and resources to those parents and terminal children that is upbeat, peaceful and supportive, both medically and mentally. It was very fulfilling to help them in a small way. I got more out of it than they did, for sure.”- Jeff Calder, Principal, Division Director Bar Area
“I was not sure what to expect or how I would feel seeing children with life ending illnesses. It is such a beautiful, serene home and did not feel like a hospital at all. The two children and staff I saw seemed so happy to be there. It was wonderful knowing a place like that exists to assist families during a very difficult time. We could not help tearing up as Melissa explained the spa is where parents can feel hugs from their child for the first time. It was quite humbling.” – Jennifer Christensen, Client Manager II
At Laura’s House
Laura’s House, which was founded after the death of a young woman as a result of domestic abuse, is a resource center for women and men that find themselves with nowhere to turn. Laura’s House provides a safe place for them to escape their abusers and get on their feet. In addition to shelter, Laura’s house provides counseling, life skills education, and legal assistance.
Our Orange County colleagues volunteered at the property by re-landscaping the front yard, planting succulents, and painting the fences. The ultimate goal was to clean up and enhance the house, so the tenants can take pride in the place they call home. Seeing the families’ reaction to the beautification project made the day even more meaningful.
Spending the morning applying a little sweat equity in the form of painting and planting didn’t seem like a big deal, until one of the residents emerged from their apartment with their children in tow, and said to her kids, “Look at what these people are doing to make our home nice, let’s say thank you.” This comment was followed by a chorus of shy thank you’s! From the look and behavior of this family, you would never know that they were struggling to rebuild their life, which was disrupted by domestic abuse. It was a great reminder that not everything is as it appears! – Tracy Stout, Management Resource Assistant
We are grateful for the opportunity to spend time with these 2017 grant recipients and get to know more about the great work these outstanding organizations are doing in our communities.
To learn about all our 2017 grant recipients and the Barney & Barney Foundation, visit barneyandbarneyfoundation.org.