Giving Back: Employees spend day at Boys & Girls Club


Outside the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour on a steamy 90-degree day, trimmers, brooms, rakes, shovels and wheelbarrows got as much of a workout as the people using them.

Inside the air-conditioned facility off of North O’Brien Street, cleaner, towels and sweepers were used to bring some shine to the walls and floors.

After generating some sweat from all of the work, it was time to cool down and play some games once the children arrived after school.

A day away from the daily grind in the office is just what the nearly 70 Cummins Inc. employees needed.

The best part of it all was knowing they made a difference for an organization that serves hundreds of area boys and girls.

“When you sit at a desk all day, it’s really good just to get out and do something worthwhile, and we’re doing it as a team, as well,” said Gina Stead, a United Kingdom native who has worked for Cummins for about 13 years. “It helps us as a team, and it also helps other people, so we really enjoy it.”

Chris Farrell, a 14-year employee of Cummins who works in Arlington, Tennessee, agreed that it was nice to get out of the office for a while.

“It’s great to be able to play with the kids,” he said. “That’s the fun part. You’re doing it for them.”

They are among a team of about 120 people who work for Cummins’ Supply Chain Capability in the United States or abroad and meet once a year in Columbus to do volunteer work in the area.

As part of the Every Employee Every Community program, employees are encouraged to spend at least four hours doing volunteer work as an individual or a group.

For this year’s event, the company chose to focus on youth and education.

Crystal Brown, who has been with Cummins for six years and works in Columbus, was in charge of the group. With a connection to the United Way, she contacted the Jackson County office to find an agency to help that could accommodate the large group.

Cummins Seymour Engine Plant employees have helped at the Boys & Girls Club in the past, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

Last year, the group worked at Columbus Youth Camp, but they weren’t able to interact with any kids. On Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club, they had a chance to do that after spending most of the day doing physical labor.

“That is one of the most exciting things because we’ve never been able to do that. We come in and work and then leave, and then the kids see the aftermath,” Brown said. “To actually have the kids have that interaction with people who are international, that aren’t from here, for them to see there are other people in the world, I think it’s just fantastic.”

Since some of the Cummins employees live and work outside the United States, they were unfamiliar with the Boys & Girls Club. They also didn’t know much about the work they were doing or the games they played.

“Some of the games, they didn’t know what it was, so they were just coming in fascinated with it,” Brown said. “A lot of the team didn’t know what mulch was, so they are learning that, too. They are like, ‘What is mulching?’ so they didn’t even know the materials we were using.”

Recent college graduates hired by Cummins also had a unique opportunity to take on leadership roles for the day.

“We put them in a position they can practice their leadership skills, and a lot of times today, they are actually managing their managers,” Brown said. “It’s a good learning experience for them.”

Members of the group said they are fortunate to work for a company that values the community.

“We really believe that you should enrich the communities that you live in and that you operate your businesses in,” Stead said. “You owe them something back, and so that’s why every employee is entitled to take time off and do some work of whatever sort that’s meaningful to them. … It makes you realize what a caring organization you work for, and that helps me to feel motivated.”

Farrell said it’s not mandatory, but most employees participate. In fact, many do more than the four hours recommended.

“It’s just something that is very much a part of the company tradition and values to give back and support the communities,” he said. “Cummins is all over the world, and these events happen all of the time in every part of the world that Cummins is in.”

Brown said she also has helped with United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and supported a backpack program for children.

“It’s one of the reasons why I work for Cummins,” she said of the opportunity to volunteer. “I absolutely love it. They support anything I want to do.”

Stead and Farrell both said they enjoyed this year’s project.

“We really appreciate the opportunity that the Boys & Girls Club gave us to do this,” Stead said. “They’ve been great giving us lots of different things to do. We worked with them from a planning perspective to make sure there was a mix of activities … things that really benefited both our team and them.”

Ryon Wheeler, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, said he was happy to accept the group’s offer to work at the facility.

“It seemed like a big task, but we always love working with Cummins,” he said. “They are professionals with such a caring heart that always do an amazing job.”

By the end of the day, new flowers, plants and trees were in place, landscaping was spruced up, the yard was mowed and the playground had new mulch. Inside, the building was cleaned from top to bottom.

Wheeler said the best part was seeing the Cummins workers spend time with the kids, playing Jeopardy!, Pictionary, Shipwreck and dodgeball. The kids also received chocolate treats and had an opportunity to win Cummins T-shirts.

The event gave the kids a chance to see what it looks like to give back, he said.

“Cummins is a blessing to this community and to our kids,” Wheeler said. “Our families are so excited pulling up and making comments on how great the grounds look and how great the facility looks and smells. We can’t thank Cummins enough for continuing to invest in our kids and mission. Crystal was an absolute all-star, and she led the team with precision and most importantly passion.”

No posts to display