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Southwest Pilots Volunteer Across the Country and in a City Near YOU!

Explorer C


In honor of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to give you a peak into a program that includes Volunteering, Southwest Airlines Pilots, and thousands of children across the United States!  What do you get when you mix them all together?  Why, its Adopt-A-Pilot!
Encouraging fifth graders to follow their dreams is what Southwest Airlines Adopt-A-Pilot (AAP) is all about.  More than 800 Pilots volunteer each year, sometimes driving hours to get to more than 1,300 classrooms, teaching students about the importance of their education and shooting for the stars!  AAP is one of Southwest Airlines’ long-standing volunteer programs, and every year our Pilots give more than 10,000 hours of volunteer time to classrooms across the US.

A way for students in AAP to show what the program means to them is through our annual Tie Contest.  For the 2010 AAP Tie contest, we received more than 4,700 entries but one talented student, Rylee Arnott, who attends Hubert Bancroft Elementary in Sacramento, swept us away with her entry which truly captured what Southwest is about.  Her winning tie will be worn with honor by all of Southwest Airlines Adopt-A-Pilot’s.

On March 31st, we had the privilege of putting on an assembly to honor Miss Rylee, which was attended by about 140 of her classmates, her family, her Adopt-A-Pilot, Captain Mike Van Voorhees, and OAK Assistant Chief Pilot Jim Randel, along with other Southwest Employees from DAL and SMF.

Our Southwest Pilots truly Shared the Southwest Spirit with Hubert Bancroft Elementary as they encouraged students to build their education following the F.L.I.G.H.T. values, which are Fearlessness, Leadership, Imagination, Gratitude, Honesty and Tenacity.

While Captain Mike Van Voorhees, a product of Hubert Bancroft Elementary, volunteers his time to these students and encouraging their dreams, we also wanted to encourage the staff of Bancroft Elementary by letting them know that we appreciate them pouring into the lives of students, especially in these difficult economic times.  So to do so, SWA donated $500 to the school to use to increase their positive impact on the lives of those deserving kids.

AAP Tie Event

Seeing Rylee’s face light up as she received her own framed tie and realizing that she won her school a $500 donation was priceless and I felt so privileged to have been a part.  The trip was an opportunity to see firsthand the impact of the Adopt-A-Pilot program and the difference the volunteer hours that SWA Pilot’s make in the lives of these kids! We all left with a smile on our face and a charge in our hearts to volunteer our time to help make a change.

We’re excited for our Pilots to log their volunteer hours for our 40 Hours for 40 Years Challenge to our Employees! This week Southwest Airlines celebrates National Volunteer Week in a big way by issuing a challenge to our 35,000 Employees! In honor of our 40 years of service and our rich history of giving back, Southwest Airlines launched the 40 Hours for 40 Years volunteer pledge for Employees. For every 40 hours volunteered at a nonprofit by an Employee or group of Employees, Southwest Airlines will donate a complimentary, roundtrip ticket to that organization through its ongoing Tickets for Time program. The Tickets for Time program is Southwest’s way of supporting the causes that are closest to its Employees hearts.