Orlando Gives Back

Orlando Gives Back
This April, the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) held its annual conference and exhibition in Orlando for 9,000 delegates, revolving around education and networking. Extracurricular programs included golf and tennis outings, a hockey challenge and a CSR event at Give Children The World Village. The volunteer facility is a 70-acre playground with over 100 condos for “children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses who always wanted to go to Orlando,” says Salvatore Chiarelli, director of meetings/events for RIMS.

About 200 participants spent the day building a gazebo for families to gather, while others helped with painting.

“The rewards are tangible,” says Chiarelli. “You see this empty spot in the morning and at the end of the day you’ve created something with long standing benefits for children. How great is it to get together to help an organization that’s in so much need?”

What was the reaction from the participants?

“Extremely moved. Especially at the end of the day when everyone said goodbye to the parents and children. You leave with this emotional sense of contribution, and absolutely you bond with the group because of the shared accomplishment.”

The RIMS event was a citywide buyout, with 1,750 attendees booked at multiple Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Company president Harris Rosen has been active in helping local disadvantaged communities for almost two decades.

“More and more groups are asking us to assist in creating some type of community service,” says Rosen. “In the last seven months though, it’s become almost an epidemic. And I think that’s just wonderful in a world where greed, avarice and selfishness have overwhelmed so many industries.”

LexisNexis just brought several hundred people to an area elementary school to build bicycles and “cubbies” that hold children’s backpacks. Best Buy brought over 200 to build park benches and plant landscaping. And over 1,000 employees visiting with Lockheed Martin painted over 100 homes.

“That’s the good side of what we as a society are capable of,” says Rosen.

What has been some of the feedback you’ve heard?

“I think it’s not inappropriate to say it’s life altering for some…. What happens is really quite remarkable. They’re thanked profusely and they’re just beaming afterwards. Then they thank me. You know, some of these people continue to communicate with those they’ve helped for years to come.”

Rosen adds that typically hotels endure a 50-250% employee turnover rate. His is single digits. How so?

“We have over 4,000 associates, and this is one of the things they’re most proud of,” he says. “They know we really do care about other people, and do something about it.”