At the heart of the Keller Williams Advantage Realty (KWAR) culture, making a difference in the lives of others and bettering the community that we serve is a top priority. Being able to give back and help others defines who we are and is a natural extension of our commitment to the highest level of professional customer service. It embodies the generous spirit and commitment our associates have to “giving back” to the town we live and work in.
Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of giving back and helping many people and organizations. We currently have 5 collection drives on our 2020 calendar, in which agents donate items to local non-profits. We also advertise to the community to make them aware that we are a collection host for donation drop-offs for anyone who wants to participate and donate items through KWAR.
We kicked off the year with our first collection/donation, which was for the Jared Box Project (http://www.thejaredbox.com/pag...). The goal of the Jared Box Project is to lift the spirits of children in the hospital by providing each young patient in emergency rooms, hospital rooms, surgical centers and clinics, with a box filled with the "gift of play". The boxes (shoebox-sized storage container) are filled with well wishes, toys, stuffed animals, games, coloring books/crayons and a lot of smiles, hope, and love. This year, we made 105 Jared Boxes and put 105 smiles on the faces of children and families at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
We are currently collecting donations for the State College Food Bank. The donations help families in need, as well as pack lunches for the State College Food Bank Kid’s Bag Program during the summer months, in turn helping to feed the children in our community. Because of the donations received, it also makes it possible for struggling families and individuals to afford other basic necessities like housing, medicine and utilities. Over the past several years of our collections for the State College Food Bank, we were able to donate nearly a ½ ton of items for the many families in need throughout our community.
To provide continued support of the children and youth in our community, we have become a Designated Safe Place for Youth location, giving young people under the age of 18 immediate help and safety, when in need. In addition to making help readily available to youth in our community, we also collect and donate school supplies every year to the Centre County Youth Service Bureau (YSB). The YSB exists to help ensure children, youth, and families have every opportunity to reach their full potential. We believe, what better way for us to help with that goal than to provide children with school supplies in order to help them be successful in school and give them the opportunity to be the best they can be. With our donations, we’re helping to provide children, youth and their families the resources for reaching their full potential.
In 2019, we started collecting and donating additional school supplies to the elementary school teachers of our area. Teachers work hard, and even pay out of their own pockets, for many of the supplies they use for the children in their classrooms. We have the opportunity to help alleviate the extra burden in order to provide comfortable, safe and engaging learning environments for students. Every year, we select an elementary school in our service area to help those teachers and students.
Toward the end of each year, we collect items for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Program. During this collection, we not only collect new, unwrapped toys, so every child in need has a gift to open on Christmas morning, but we also collect and donate food/items to share with the food banks throughout Centre County. In 2019 alone, 18,349 toys were distributed and 9,077 children were supported locally.
In the past, KWAR has also collected and donated items to the local homeless shelters in the area. We also volunteered at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts as part of their trash crew. We’ve been involved with national natural disaster relief efforts including collecting items to be delivered for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
As COVID-19 containment efforts continue nationwide, please note that the American Red Cross blood drives are deemed essential and in direct support to other emergency services remaining open to sustain our fight against the coronavirus and those most vulnerable to it. Therefore, this June, we will team up with the American Red Cross and host our 3rd Annual KWAR Blood Drive, held at our office on Wed, June 3rd from 11:30-4 PM. We understand public health concerns during this trying time and want to stress that donating blood is a safe process and the Red Cross has ensured the highest safety standards and vigilant measures to protect the health of all involved in the blood donation process. You can schedule a donation using the following link, https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive, type in 'KellerWilliams' as the sponsor code and then choose a time that best suits your schedule. Please feel free to share and encourage others to signup and help save a life, as well!
In 2019, we hosted the KWAR’s First Annual Indoor Trick-or-Treating Event, held at our office, to provide a safe place for kids to come dressed up and walk thru our decorated offices and collect candy, play games, win prizes and enjoy snacks. We also had B94.5 broadcasting live on the radio, also handing out prizes from their prize wheel. It was a lot of fun, a huge success and we’re looking forward to hosting it again this year!
Besides our collections for non-profits in/around the Centre Region and hosting events at our office, we also volunteer our time, as an office, to help with the United Way Day of Caring, Habitat for Humanity, and Keller Williams RED Day - a day for all Keller Williams Realty offices to close their doors and spend the day giving back to our communities. In the past we’ve volunteered to do landscaping projects at the Boal Mansion Museum, landscaping/painting/staining/cleaning for various sites associated with Strawberry Fields and the ARC of Centre County, unloaded/cleaned/prepared pumpkins for the Arboretum at Penn State’s Pumpkin Festival, landscaping for the local State College YMCA, Penn State Golf Course trail maintenance, landscaping/cleaning/organizing at the Centre Furnace Mansion, landscaping/cleaning pens/visiting with pets at the Pets Come First Animal Shelter, field maintenance/landscaping at the State College Montressor Fields, landscaping/ice cream social/manicures/bingo at AristaCare at Hearthside Rehabilitation Center, and others. Many of us have also volunteered to help with Habitat for Humanity Home Build projects, helping to build housing for those in need. At KWAR, we do more than help clients buy and sell properties, we help build them, as well.
Another way we discovered to support our local community and help keep it clean was to Adopt A Highway. KWAR adopted a one mile stretch of highway along East College Avenue, between the I-322 Ramps, near the College Township Building, and the University Drive ramps. Twice a year our agents meet and walk the stretch of E College Ave to collect trash and help keep our roadway clean. Last fall we were able to collect nearly 35 bags of trash. The next time you travel our stretch of E College Ave, notice how clean it is, and if you’re lucky enough to see us out there collecting trash, please honk to support our efforts and say hi!
On any given day, please keep in mind that we all need help at some point in life, and each one of us has something valuable to offer, whether it’s a monetary donation, a skill that we can provide, a helping hand or friendly ear to lend, or even just a smile to help brighten someone’s day. You never know what someone may be going through. We should never get tired of helping others, and we should always remember that kindness is never wasted.
“At the end, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” - Denzel Washington