Hello from St. Louis, site of this year's Annual Marketing Meeting. Here, we discuss big themes and initiatives; where we've been, and just as importantly, where we're going. The Meeting also gives us a chance to become more of a Family. One of the ways we do that is by serving the surrounding community (in this case, St. Louis). We split into two groups, bound for two separate destinations. Our target? Two underserved schools. St. Cecilia Academy is an institution of K-eighth grade promising young students. We sent 50 Southwest Employees there. I went with the second, bigger group to Gateway Institute of Technology, a magnet school in the largest school district in Missouri, St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). We sent over 100 Employees there, because of Gateway's larger capacity, with projects meant for a larger group. The vast majority of these students come from low-income homes, but more than 80 percent also overcome great adversity to attend college or start careers, usually due to training earned through their unique high school programs. At each school, we completed various odd jobs, like cleaning out storage spaces and re-discovering forgotten-about items. We found many full sets of sporting equipment, still wrapped; baseball helmets in pristine condition, climbing ropes, and yet-to-be-inflated balls of all different sports. All of this made me realize the importance of service. Donating money is certainly a major need for schools like this that are under-budgeted, but there is often times a greater need for infrastructure and for organization. Below are a few snapshots of our day. I hope they encourage you to rally your Coworkers, your peers, and especially yourself to make it a point to find a way to get out and serve communities near you that are in need of a helping hand. Gateway Institute of Technology Main Entrance. Before we organized one of two closets (a small sampling of the work we did). One of the closets, post-organization.
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