August 30, 2018
The sounds of shovels striking dirt and brooms sweeping sidewalks ricochet through the air at Flanner House. The fresh, earthy smell of mulch greets your nose the second you step outside. For employees of Citizens Energy Group and Bowen Engineering, this can only mean one thing – their annual Day of Caring is here.
For six years, Citizens and Bowen have teamed up to do good in our community through a United Way Day of Caring. Every year, they gather a horde of employees and head to a United Way partner to volunteer their time, talents and treasures.
“Working with Anne Gabbert of United Way makes it so easy! She identifies organizations that truly have a need,” said Bowen employee Nancy Weisenbach. “It’s so great that we can come in and come alongside United Way with Citizens to make a difference.”
When it came time to plan this year’s Day of Caring, the group immediately knew who they wanted to help: Flanner House. The community center recently expanded, thanks to funding from United Way and the Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Fund. The center has nearly tripled their childcare capacity, resulting in a great need for playground improvements and expansion.
So for the second year, Bowen and Citizens compiled nearly 40 volunteers for a Day of Caring at Flanner House. “We love the folks at Flanner House and what they represent,” Nancy shared. “We thought it was just an obvious choice to come back here and take care of a second project.”
“I’m just so grateful,” said Alice Guynn, CDC Director at Flanner House. “Do you ever have something that you just can’t put into words? That’s how I am when it comes to Bowen and Citizens, the work they did last year and knowing that they were coming back to put an infant playground in for our babies.”
Those babies Alice mentions are a brand new edition to Flanner House, thanks to the recent expansion. On top of adding two toddler rooms and a pre-k room, they now have two infant rooms – something they’ve never had before.
“Bringing infants into our school was really big because that part of the community was not being served,” Alice said. “We will be able to serve 16 babies, which will help out our community greatly.”
That community Alice refers to is exactly why Citizens and Bowen continue to give back year after year. “Citizens has a commitment to volunteerism, partnerships and philanthropic support of the communities in which we work and live,” said Citizens employee Molly Tilka. “Our Day of Caring is not only a chance to partner with Bowen and United Way, but also a chance to connect with and serve in our local community. Flanner House is revitalizing the health and well-being of their community, and we want to support and join in their efforts.”
For Bowen employee Jason Muncie, the reason he’s volunteered for six years straight is because of the people he gives back to. “It’s the smiles on people’s faces when we leave. Watching the kids look through the fence, wondering is this for me?” he shared.
Alice can confirm how much the children appreciate the efforts of Bowen and Citizens employees. “The children LOVE – when I say love, it’s not even a big enough word! They love this playground and cannot wait until the teacher says, ‘It’s time to go out and play.’ You can hear the cheers all over the school because they love this so much.”
The playground is not only a safe and secure place for children to play — it acts as a catalyst for learning and development. Alice can speak for hours on what children learn while playing: fine motor skills, problem solving, patience and social skills, just to name a few.
For the 144 children Flanner House is now able to serve, the playground Bowen and Citizens improved is so much more than just a playground. “This playground is a safe haven for our children. The crime rate around here is overwhelming, and this is a safe place for them to come and play and not worry that something bad is going to happen to me,” remarked Alice. “That’s why it means so much to me.”
Bowen and Citizens employees are proud to donate their time, talents and treasures to the community through United Way. Does your organization or workplace want to do the same? Sign up for a Day of Caring to give back to your community in a big way!