At Garden of Life we have always felt that we need to uphold standards of extraordinary health. This, of course, means promoting exercise and proper nutrition, but it also means living up to our social responsibilities as well. A healthy community plays a big part in an individual’s inner well-being. Garden of Life is not content to be just a leader in the Natural Products Industry, but strives to reach out to people every day with a helping hand.
One of the ways we do that is through the Growing Together Community Program. Growing Together is an initiative started by our mother company, Atrium Innovations, in Canada. What this program seeks to do is improve the health of those in need in both the developing world and communities closer to home. In order to accomplish this, Growing Together has partnered with SOS Children’s Villages, an international organization that supports over 78,000 children in 500 villages in 132 countries, for our first project. Their mission statement, “We build families for children in need. We help them shape their own futures. We share in development of their communities,” explains it all.
This August, SOS Children’s Villages and Growing Together plan to building a home in one of the villages in Peru to provide a safe haven for orphans and children at risk, and we are proud to be part of the cause. To show our support, Garden of Life’s employees are working to raise money by having a Healthy Snack Sale and donating the proceeds to SOS Children’s Villages. We also held a Customer Service Talent Show, in which our outstanding Customer Service team showed off their unique skills to raise money for the Growing Together project. In addition to these fundraisers, Garden of Life also sponsors a child while the village is being built. We hear that our sponsored child, “Beatriz,” loves to learn new games and songs and enjoys playing with her toy animals. None of this would be possible without the commitment of our employees.
“Employee engagement has been absolutely amazing!” said Teresa Miller, Senior Director of Human Resources and Quality at Garden of Life. “We are absolutely dedicated to this organization and this initiative.”
Miller went on to say that nearly $6,500 has been raised through various fundraising activities that will contribute to building a home at this village. “It’s a great thing for kids to be able to have a place they can call home that feels safe, and with siblings and an SOS mother that they can rely on and trust,” she said.
Located in Pachacamac, Peru on a five-acre site about 40 kilometers from Lima, the SOS Children’s Village consists of eight family houses where up to 70 children can find a new home. Each house has four bedrooms, a dining area, a kitchen, a laundry area and two workshops where carpentry, tailoring and gardening is taught. The village also has its own sports ground and recreational area, as well as a community vegetable garden where vegetables used for cooking are grown.
It’s not hard to see why everyone working here at Garden of Life is really excited about the opportunity to help these children, but one of us is lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Peru in order to document the building of Growing Together’s first house in the SOS Village. Michelle Osterhus, Territory Manager for Minnesota and Wisconsin and NCGA National Account Manager, has been chosen from many applicants to be the official photographer of this momentous occasion. She has been with Garden of Life since December, 2011, but she has been doing community service for much longer. When asked, “What are you hoping to learn or take away from this experience?” she responded:
“One of my ‘bucket list’ items in life is to be more active in community outreach and volunteering. I have joined a local volunteer group in my own hometown to help reach this goal. I think people are happiest when they are helping other people. I am hoping that my experience is not about what I take with me, but what I have left there. I hope that I can touch their lives, even in the smallest of way and leave a positive imprint of goodwill and care.”
From what we have seen of her photography skills, Michelle is extremely talented and we look forward to seeing her stunning pictures when she gets back from Peru. Congratulations again to Michelle, who will get to travel to a beautiful and historic foreign country and document the beginnings of a safe, healthy community for the children living there!
photos courtesy of Michelle Osterhus, submitted as part of her entry in the contest.