At Southwest Airlines, our People create community wherever they are by volunteering their time, talent, and Heart. This week is National Volunteer Week and we’re excited to highlight our incredible Employees who engage their skills to strengthen connections in the communities where they live, work, and serve.
We asked our Employees to submit photos that show how they devote their personal passions to champion causes and make impact and we were overwhelmed by the response. Thank you to our incredible Employees for all you do to make a difference.
Southwest launched the Tickets for Time program in 2010 to support and appreciate our passionate Employee Volunteers. For every 40 hours of volunteer time our Employees (one or a team of many) contribute to a qualified 501c3 nonprofit organization or school and record in our volunteer system, that organization is eligible to receive domestic travel for one round trip flight, up to six per year.
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This past April, we held the first annual Billion Acts of Green challenge which encouraged Southwest Airlines Employees to commit to simple environmental acts. Employees shared more than 80,000 acts of green that they incorporated into their daily lives. While the challenge is over, our responsibility to be good stewards of our planet remains. There are plenty of easy ways to decrease your environmental footprint but most of the time we just don’t think of them. Below are fast and fun ways that you can LUV the environment every day along with a few specifically for summer!
Use the “passbook” app on your phone instead of printing a paper boarding pass for your next flight.
Replace your paper napkins with cloth.
HINT: This doesn’t have to be expensive! You can buy dish towels in bulk and cut them into napkin size.
If you plan on stepping away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, put it into “sleep” mode.
While you wait for the shower to heat up, use the excess water to hydrate house plants.
Mulch your garden beds to water less and retain moisture.
Compost those kitchen and yard scraps for a natural way to feed your plants and garden.
Change your air conditioning filter so your home cools more efficiently.
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It is National Volunteer Week #NVW2016 and this morning nearly 500 community-minded professionals, including more than 170 Southwest Airlines Employees, volunteered for the Trinity River Conservation Corp Corporate Day of Service. Teams traded their daily work tasks for gloves and trash bags as they set off to clean-up and beautify approximately 60 acres of the Moore Gateway Park area of the Trinity River Corridor in Dallas. And what an impact hundreds of volunteers can make in a few hours! Together, these volunteers:
Created 6,000 seed balls, which will be spread along the corridor so that the community can enjoy the beautiful plants.
Filled three dumpsters that were overflowing with trash bags of debris.
Contributed a grand total of nearly 1,900 volunteer hours.
Celebrating service through this environmental project, Dallas Employees got a jump start on Southwest’s Spring Companywide Volunteer Initiative. Over the next few weeks, Southwest Employees will embark on volunteer projects all across the country making a positive impact on our environment along the way.
National Volunteer Week, brought to you by Points of Light since 1974, is about inspiring, recognizing, and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. Go to www.pointsoflight.org to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Volunteer anytime, any day, anywhere, and celebrate service!
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In this happy new year of 2016, I suspect many of you have started out with a resolution or two – lose weight, get more rest, be kinder, and so on. That’s all good stuff and wishing you best of luck in hitting those targets.
In the spirit of this first 2016 edition of Going Green, I want to suggest adding a Green tint to your resolutions. Consider and commit to one green act in your personal life and one green act in your work life that will help protect the environment. Our friends, and national environmental partner, at Earth Day Network have made it quite easy by sharing a variety of ways each of us individually can pledge or register a green action; all in support of Billion Acts of Green.
In 2010 Earth Day Network launched Billion Acts of Green, the largest environmental service campaign in the world - an international movement to protect the planet and secure a sustainable future. With a goal of 3 Billion Acts of Green, the campaign is steadily building commitments by individuals, organizations, businesses, and government to protect our Planet and has registered 2.02 billion acts. Go to http://www.earthday.org/takeaction/campaigns.html to make a pledge and help them reach the goal.
Alone we make a difference; collectively we ALL make a TREMENDOUS impact – one act of green at a time.
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Enjoy this Green Tuesday blog from our friends at Earth Day Network and feel free to share your own green holiday tip in the comments section. Earth Day Network's year-round mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide, through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. www.earthday.org
While the holiday season is one that everyone—young and old alike—looks forward to each year, it can often be stressful. The time is filled with so much to do, so little time, and an overwhelming feeling that everything has to be done just right. Many of us can relate.
But the season does not have to be one where we put our commitment to the earth and environment on hold and simply barrel through no holds barred. Below are simple tips you can use to make this holiday season just a little bit greener.
Shop sustainably and buy locally: Help local artisans and the environment by choosing gifts that are made from recycled materials and help small businesses. Don’t forget to visit thrift shops or garage sales as well. Buying local foods and goods helps reduce energy use and carbon emissions. It good for the local economy and it’s cleaner for the environment!
Go outside: Instead of going to the mall or staying indoors go outside and enjoy nature. Staying active during the holidays will be good for your health, and going for walks or hikes makes for good bonding time with family.
Use LED lights: Energy use skyrockets during the holidays. Try using incandescent light bulbs/strands, such as LEDs, instead—some are even solar-powered. You can save a significant amount of electricity during the holidays and reduce your electric bill.
Lower your thermostat: If the fireplace is lit and/or there is a large group of people in your house over the holidays, lower your thermostat to reduce energy consumption and costs.
Green greetings: Billions of holiday cards are sent in the U.S. each year. Consider an e-card or buy recycled cards. Use old greeting cards to make gift tags, note cards, and tree ornaments.
Recycle and dispose of your waste properly: Over the holidays there is a ton of waste and you can help to reduce energy usage by properly disposing of it. Gift boxes, wrapping paper, tissue paper, and product packaging—recycle as much as possible.
We truly believe that every day is Earth Day. Whether it is December 25th, July 4th, or even January 1st, there are a number of simple ways to make each day greener. Thank you for doing your part.
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In support of the Fall Companywide Volunteer Initiative, hundreds of Employee volunteers across the system went back to school and shared their Southwest Heart, provided information about careers in aviation, related personal experiences that landed them at our Company, and drove home the importance of working hard in school and life. In addition to inspiring young minds, Employees in various cities helped schools complete projects like painting, cleaning, organizing, planting, etc. Hardworking hearts and hands!
One shining example comes from PHX. A Team of 55 Employees and 14 vendor volunteers made a huge impact on Percy L. Julian School, repainting, re-flooring, refreshing and refurbishing. Employees also donated instruments to help revitalize the music program and a host of appliances that completed the Teacher’s lounge facelift. All the while, the other half of the PHX Team was busy building confidence and a Southwest Spirit within the minds of the 7 th and 8 th grade student body. Employees made brief presentations on their job duties and personal commitment required to obtain these careers. Percy L. Julian’s faculty, parents, and students were blown away by the Southwest whirlwind that came into their school re-igniting school pride and Spirit, completing much needed repairs and improvements, warming hearts and placing smiles on their faces. Way to go Team PHX!
Heartfelt thanks to all Employees that participated in the Fall Companywide Volunteer initiative. The following five schools, selected at random from all the participating cities, will receive a $500 cash grant:
HRL - Dr. Rodriguez Elementary
MAF - Ben Milam Elementary
MHT - Highland Goffes-Falls Elementary
OC - Westwood Elementary School
PHX – Percy L. Julian School
Don’t forget that every school and nonprofit organization can win through our Tickets for Time program. For every 40 hours one or more of our Employees volunteers for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or school, the benefiting organization is eligible to receive travel for one round trip flight in the form of Southwest flight e-passes℠ for fundraising or transportation needs, up to six in a calendar year. With a big group of volunteers, those hours can add up fast!
E-mail Volunteer@wnco.com with questions.
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The heart is a symbol of how much we care, and we extend that care to our planet. With the summer break behind us, we want to share a few green tips and resources to incorporate into the new school year.
Carpool or Ride Bikes: Nothing screams fun like a band of kiddos riding to school, and you get to skip the carpool lane. Parents in my neighborhood take turns riding bikes with the kids to ensure everyone learns the ropes and has a safe experience—helmets and all! If bikes are out of the question, coordinate with families in your area and set up a carpool schedule. By doing so, you can save time, gas, and nerves by not battling the sea of cars in the carpool line.
Time to Reduce and Recycle: We hear about spring cleaning but why not a back to school clean out? I think my kids grew a foot over the summer, so the new school clothes come in and the small duds must go out. Most schools have a clothing closet for students that need an extra hand. If not, you can donate the items to a nonprofit organization in your area. And don’t forget about the books! I know I just filled a box with books the kids have outgrown. Talk to the school librarian or counselor about sharing with students that don’t have many books at home. Paying it forward is a heartwarming way to be green.
Get the School into it: Talk with your parent organization and discuss ways the students and school can get into the green scene. Try suggesting a green week filled with various activities encouraging environmentally-friendly practices. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
Collect grocery store plastic bags and take them in mass to the appropriate recycle center (many grocery stores have onsite receptacles).
Ask kids to bring old catalogs and magazines in from home—what the teachers can’t use for schools projects can go straight to the recycling container.
Invite someone from the city or community to teach the kids about the importance of conserving water, saving energy, and protecting our environment.
If they don’t have one already, talk with faculty about planting a school garden. It creates a great service project for families, learning opportunity for students, and natural habitat for much-needed pollinators.
Here are a few website that have interesting, kid-friendly resources all about the environment:
Welcome back to school!
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With Make a Difference Day approaching tomorrow, I’m reminded that, the first time I volunteered, a pure, altruistic spirit was not my driving force. To tell the truth, I was volun”told.” It was strongly suggested that I volunteer; it looked good on my college application; it looked good on my résumé.
Funny thing happened though—I kept going even after I met the requirements. I was hooked. I really enjoyed getting out of myself and making a difference. Little did I know, I would eventually work in the nonprofit sector, move on to the world of corporate community outreach, and then have the privilege to join the Southwest Airlines Family nearly five years ago helping to connect our Company with the needs of others. My Team—Community Programs—is all about supporting Employee volunteerism. Each day we are honored to be of service to all of our Southwest and AirTran Employee volunteers. Our purpose is to provide programs, tools, and resources that connect our Servant’s Hearts to service opportunities across the country.
Some may wonder, can one person make a difference? Can I make a difference? Each of us has the power to make a difference for charitable organizations, the clients/populations they serve, and the mission they strive to fulfill just by giving our time; and you can start this weekend. Saturday, October 26, is Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine and Points of Light have joined together to sponsor this celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Go to www.makeadifference.org and decide how you will join millions of volunteers from around the world to improve the lives of others.
No matter your area of interest, skill level, or time commitment, there is a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. Virtual opportunities are good for those who need flexibility and may want to squeeze something in after the kids go to bed, or in between classes. Make it a family affair. Spend quality time with loved ones while you help others in need. Build camaraderie, build great Teams, and help build a stronger community by volunteering alongside Coworkers. Whether you volunteer one hour or 100 hours—once a year or once a week—every hour counts. No matter the reason, no matter the season, every little bit really does matter. Not sure what to do? Here are a few sites to search volunteer opportunities: www.volunteermatch.org, www.serve.gov, www.allforgood.org, and www.handsonnetwork.org.
Southwest and AirTran Employees are making a difference every day in communities across the country. Last year our Employees logged nearly 138,000 volunteer hours—that’s sweat equity valued at over $3 million for the organizations they served! At Southwest, we have added incentive—when Employees give back, Southwest gives back. For every 40 hours one or more of our Employees volunteer for a nonprofit organization or school, the benefiting organization is eligible to receive one complimentary, roundtrip ticket on Southwest up to six roundtrip tickets in a calendar year. Since its inception, our Tickets for Time program has generated 5,742 roundtrip tickets for charitable organizations and schools nationwide—all thanks to our Southwest Employee Volunteers. That equates to nearly $2.3 million dollars in tickets given to organizations to use to support their mission. Now that is making a difference from the heart.
Check out the video to see a group of Southwest Airlines Employees volunteering at a local elementary school celebrating Servant’s Heart Day, a Companywide Day of Service.
It’s your turn. Go out and make a difference! Happy volunteering.
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While you are making your list and checking it twice, forget naughty, and go with nice by volunteering! It is better to give than to receive—a concept that is quite familiar to Southwest Airlines and AirTran Employees—and we all know that one of the greatest gifts you can give is your time and talent. As you are making your Holiday plans this season, consider setting aside some time to give back to your community by volunteering for a nonprofit in your area. Celebrate this joyous time with friends and loved ones by volunteering together to help those in need. Count your blessings while you bless another. If you need ideas, use the following links to search for volunteer project in your area: http://www.volunteermatch.org/ http://www.handsonnetwork.org/ http://www.allforgood.org/ http://volunteerguide.org/index.htm http://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm We would LUV to know about your good works—let us know by commenting below!
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