Each fall, Volunteer Week is a special time of year for us all at HMH. As The Learning Company, giving back to students and our communities is part of our mission from the CEO and Account Executives to our editors and project coordinators—and during Volunteer Week almost everyone gets involved!
More than 1,600 HMH employees worldwide participated in a variety of volunteer events—as close to home as Boston and New York City and as far as Mexico and Ireland. Here’s a roundup of what some of our employees did to give back to the community we work so hard to support every day.
HMH hosted 30 students from Margarita Muñiz Academy and their teacher, Laura, in the Boston office. Twenty-one volunteers helped students craft and refine their college essays through an HMH collaboration with the nonprofit 826 Boston. The volunteer event also included an informal career path chat, and every student in attendance received a donated HMH book.
"I found the fact that my student partner was so open about sharing her difficult memories with me incredibly rewarding," says Tess Boyle, Boston Trade Contracts Associate for HMH. "Because of her willingness to allow me to read her very personal essay, we were able to connect quickly and spend the entire time working to make her piece of writing stronger.
Our New York City office hosted a similar event in collaboration with the nonprofit Girls Write Now, a mentoring organization for high school students. Thirteen girls braved inclement weather to attend the event and listen to staff members share how writing became the foundation of their careers: Christine Condon, Director of Content Marketing and Editor in Chief of Shaped; Nancy Honovich, Director of Learning Architecture; and Emilia Rhodes, Editorial Director for Children’s Publishing. We helped the girls with their college essays and were impressed by their creativity and skills!
Some of our remote employees in Southern California traveled to the City of Angels orphanage in Tijuana through Unity 4 Orphans, an organization that allows orphans in Mexico and Latin America to build quality relationships. Our group started with a tour and learned about how the director runs the orphanage along with an on-site Therapeutic School for students. The highlight for the HMH volunteers was spending time with 12 students, ages 5 through 15.
“They have all been through some form of abuse, so it was refreshing to see how [the director] was addressing their social-emotional needs as well as their educational needs,” says Amber Davis, an HMH Account Executive. Davis says the employees also read Curious George books with the children one on one, helping them with their English and learning some Spanish from the children along the way; ate lunch with the kids and staff; performed music and sang; and played outdoors with the kids.
Our team in the Puerto Rico office visited a health facility in one of the communities most affected by Hurricane Maria last year. They built a reading room in collaboration with a community-based nonprofit organization. The newly constructed room aims to “leave a permanent place where we can inspire curiosity to encourage the love for reading in the children of this community,” said HMH employees Maria Schwarz-Gilabert and Jose Baez Santiago.
At a recent HMH event hosted in Nashville, attendees filled backpacks with school supplies and books donated by the company. About 250 bags were donated to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, and another 250 bags benefited Book'em, a literacy and education organization.
In addition to HMH’s annual Volunteer Week, employees are encouraged to volunteer year-round for causes that are important to them—either through an HMH program or on his or her own. We are working to shape the future of education, which includes ensuring that children in K-12 schools have the basic resources they need in their personal lives to succeed in the classroom.