It was an exciting 2018 for DISCO Cares! The company expanded; we relocated our headquarters to Austin; and we saw an increase in engagement and enthusiasm in our communities. All told, it was a year of transition in which everyone stepped up and committed.
These collective efforts remind us of a quote from the legendary Vince Lombardi: “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” We couldn’t agree more. With complete bliss, I would like to share some of our commitments that we hope made positive, emotional impacts in 2018.
Power of Commitment #1 - The Castro Family
On the morning of Thursday, January 4th, I picked up a copy of the Houston Chronicle with the headline, “Months after Harvey, cold now seeps into still-damaged home.” This article hit me hard. I wondered how could it be that people still have no insulation and no interior walls? Hurricane Harvey happened over 5 months earlier.
When I arrived at the Houston office, I shared the article with my team. They immediately said we should help this family. We reached out to the paper’s editor for contact information for the family, and a few days later we were at the Castro family’s home.
Over the course of 2 weekends, DISCO Cares provided more than 20 hours of labor to rebuild the home, and replaced items that had been lost in the hurricane. Some of these items were necessary to rebuild the house – such as drywall and insulation – while others were everyday necessities that the family just didn’t have after the hurricane – such as beds, bed linens, a washer/dryer, and even food. At the end of the project, the Castros had a place where they could live comfortably and call home once more.
I think the project had as big an impact on us as it did on the Casto family. This will be a moment that the DISCO Cares team will never forget.
Power of Commitment #2 - Operation Snowstorm
As you may recall, in 2017 we had the opportunity to help Operation Snowstorm (OSS). Operation Snowstorm is an amazing organization that brings the joy of a winter wonderland to the doorsteps of terminally ill children battling cancer. For those in snowy climates, this may seem trivial – it snows all the time. However, in the southern parts of the US it rarely snows. Many of these children would never otherwise have the opportunity to see snow. After participating in one snowstorm and witnessing its impact, the DISCO Cares team was eager to expand our efforts.
Already committed, we stepped up and got more involved. In 2018, we were able to provide more snowstorms for children, but that didn’t seem like enough so we asked the organization what more we could do to help. We wanted to provide an “epic snowstorm” and invite 100 in-treatment pediatric patients; we wanted to be able to service the pediatric cancer community at large! In order to do so, we decided to help with OSS’s annual fundraising tournament.
We are beyond happy to report that the tournament was a huge success. OSS was able to raise 40% more in donations than the previous year. In addition, there were over 600 individuals in attendance, with 15 sponsors! Our goal of an “epic snowstorm” for in-treatment pediatric patients was fully realized.
Power of Commitment #3 - Austin Food Bank
One of our other highlighted moments of 2018 was made possible by one of our amazing co-workers, Binne Jeong. To wrap up the end of 2018, DISCO Cares had the wonderful opportunity to help families in need at the Central Texas Food Bank. In less than four hours, the team put together 21,580 meals to help ensure that no one goes hungry this holiday season. “It was incredible to see the group all come together and contribute, from packing essential canned foods to ensuring no item was left behind in a box,” said Binnie after the experience, “I am so proud to work with an extremely positive and selfless team who are all passionate about helping our local community, and even more excited to see what’s in store for DISCO Cares in 2019."
Power of Commitment #4 - Salvation Army
We believe people, at their core, are meant to help others. Every moment has a ripple effect, similar to dropping a rock in the water. It was music to my ears when some of our newest co-workers asked how they could be a part of DISCO Cares. Without hesitation, we activated our community involvement here in our new home in Austin!
While we participated in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in winter of 2017, in 2018 we wanted to make an even bigger impact.
With that in mind, we chose to volunteer at Austin’s Rock the Red Kettle, an annual event concert, an annual event designed to raise money to support a local women’s shelter with a focus on housing, counseling, and overall support for single mothers. During the event, DISCO had 7 new co-workers join in our DISCO Cares initiative!
We also renewed our commitment to the Angel Tree program. In 2018, DISCO adopted over 100 children and was able to deliver over 500 toys and items of clothing for these children in need. This was truly an amazing experience shared by more than 80 participating employees – an example of how a single commitment can result in making a company work as a team to directly, positively impact our society.
Given our level of involvement this year, the DISCO Cares team were invited to meet some of the families of the children, and help with the distribution of the gifts. The joy in the eyes of these parents and their children was magical. This was a phenomenal moment that we hope will be replicated year after year.
Major Andrew Kelly, The Salvation Army Area Commander, has this to say:
“Our deepest gratitude goes to the generous people in the Austin community. The Salvation Army Austin helped more than 7,300 children in Travis and Williamson counties receive gifts for Christmas Day. During the Christmas season, The Salvation Army Austin helps families who are in financial crisis and cannot afford gifts for their children. Once parents/guardians pay rent, utilities, food, and necessities, they simply do not have the means to spend money for Christmas. That is where The Salvation Army Austin steps in and provides Christmas joy to local children in need. This cannot be done without our local volunteers and donors.”
“DISCO, a new organization to Austin, has come to our salvation and adopted 112 Angels from our Angel Tree program. DISCO employees also donated their time to help us set up our annual Rock The Red Kettle Concert at the LifeAustin Amphitheatre. Your compassion to our community is second to none. We appreciate the employees at DISCO for entrusting us with fulfilling the spirit of Christmas in many hearts this year. It goes without saying, organizations like DISCO in our community are the ones who help us make a positive impact in thousands of lives each year.”
Our team deeply appreciated the opportunity, with many agreeing that it was the highlight of their holiday season.
DISCO Cares 2019 & Beyond
During the short tenure of the DISCO Cares program, we have impacted the lives of hundreds of families to date. We have been able to expand our served communities beyond Houston to include Austin, and we have received an overwhelming outpouring of support from and even larger group of co-workers, making 2018 a true example of “individual commitment to group effort.” With full confidence, we know that our DISCO Magic will continue to power this initiative forward, to pay it forward, and to effect change.
We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!
Interested in providing assistance to the charities mentioned in this post? Here are some ways you can help:
- Donate funds and more at http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ways-to-give/
- Set your local branch of the Salvation Army as your beneficiary for https://smile.amazon.com/
- Donate funds at https://www.operationsnowstorm.org/donate/
- Set Operation Snowstorm as your beneficiary for https://smile.amazon.com/
- DISCO employees can work with DISCO Cares to volunteer at snowstorms and fundraisers
- Field a kickball, softball, or volleyball team at the yearly OSS fundraiser tournament
- Nominate a child with terminal cancer for a snowstorm
Central Texas Food Bank:
Donate and/or volunteer at https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/
Ask for suggestions for what you the readers would like to see DISCO Cares doing in 2019 via firstname.lastname@example.org