Viacom’s Corporate Social Responsibility branch, also known as Viacommunity, recently partnered with the “I Have A Dream” Foundation to engage in a service opportunity in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The “I Have A Dream” Foundation was founded by Eugene Lang in 1981 and has since then assisted nearly 18,000 young people (called “Dreamers”) throughout their educational journeys by providing support from kindergarten all the way through college. The foundation’s “Dreamers” are armed with resources such as mentorships, tuition support and individualized support that promote their success at each level of their education. In addition to this ongoing high-level support, the foundation shows their appreciation and encouragement of their college Dreamers with care packages.
Viacom employees had the opportunity to lend their time to assembling care packages, which included: healthy snacks, supplies, and writing encouraging notes. Eugena Oh, CEO & President of the foundation opened the event by speaking about the mission of the foundation and the impact the Viacommunity has had on fostering its programs:
“We are so grateful for the partnership that Viacom has provided us over several years! The Viacommunity team makes a huge difference in the lives of Dreamers who can feel the love and support from an extended network of professionals when they receive their personalized care packages. Thank you for working with “I Have A Dream” to support more Dreamers and Dreams every year!”
Her words emphasized the significant impact that a simple care package has on a college student dealing with the stress of their workload or being away from home. Several Dreamers themselves also stood up and shared a bit about their experiences growing up with “I Have a Dream” and making lifelong friends along the way. Two Dreamers, Ricardo and Zekiyah, recounted their stories and then joined in on the project, as they explained how personally meaningful it was to both of them to receive as well as give care packages back to other Dreamers.
“College care packages were always an exciting gift to receive especially when I was not expecting it. Personally, it felt good to get support from someone that wasn’t my immediate family, especially because I went away for school. I was reminded that IHDF cares even through the smallest gestures.” said Ricardo Mejias, Dreamer Alum, current staff member with IHDF NY.
College Dreamer, Zekiyah, who is currently attending Brooklyn College also explained, “thank you so much to those who take the time to pack and send care packages. It means a lot more than I could ever express.”
The result was more than 200 thoughtfully boxed packages made ready to send to students who are just starting the semester. And what made this effort even more impactful was that the packages would then be sent to Dreamers nationwide. An effort that would have taken numerous hours, was accomplished in just under two hours in a fun and engaging community experience thanks to our Viacom employees.