| By Adam Birndorf, Emily Gucwa, and Nicholas Litton |
At the beginning of the summer, we were approached by Brian McDonough, sales VP, and Doug Blome, executive director, HR, about planning an event that would impact not only the Gale employees but the surrounding community as well. With creative freedom and plenty of resources, we dove right into the project and, as a group, we decided that teaming up with a library would align perfectly with everything Gale believes in.
We knew we wanted to incorporate teamwork and community involvement. How exactly? By providing bikes for children that were built by the employees of Gale. We teamed up with Together We Rise, a non-profit organization that donated 100% of the money spent on the bikes we purchased into foster care programs, to present Gears from Gale. Our event celebrated the young readers’, of the Detroit Public Library, accomplishments. The top 50 readers involved in DPL’s Summer Learning Program from 17 different branches were chosen to join in the fun and receive their very own bike. We wanted to make this celebration special to encourage these children and others to continue to grow as learners throughout the years, so the 11 summer interns at Gale put our heads together to make this a memorable event.
To make the day something the readers—and employees—wouldn’t forget, we reached out to local vendors to attend. We had an ice cream truck, face painter, bike helmet painter, and a DJ (RJ the DJ) there to make the event rise above expectations. RJ the DJ wouldn’t accept payment from us out of the kindness of his own heart and love for the event. Slow Roll Detroit was kind enough to donate 50 helmets to the kids and inspect all bicycles for quality assurance. We also partnered with Thorndike Press to gift each reader a large print copy of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Of course, the kids would need a place to keep the books, so we had 50 special backpacks made with our Gale logo printed on them.
When the event day finally arrived, the office was filled with excitement and curiosity. We decided to leave the initiative as a surprise so Gale employees weren’t quite sure what they were in for. At the beginning of the function, the employees were told they had to make bikes as a team building exercise. Shortly after the bikes were built and quality checked, there was yet another surprise for the employees. The accomplished readers came running out of the office to be greeted by the cheering employees and a bike for each of them. In this moment, we felt a rush of excitement and satisfaction because not only did we surprise the staff but also the children.
The last surprise of the day was one that even the interns will remember. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence stopped by the event to give a speech about the importance of community support and to congratulate all the young readers. She was an intelligent, kind woman and an inspiration to us all.
After the kids left and the staff started cleaning, we couldn’t help but feel accomplished. Not in the way the readers did but in a way, we’ve never felt before. Seeing the joy on the kids’ faces while they road their bikes around the parking lot and danced to the DJ made us feel like we were on top of the world; we made the day special for everyone involved and we felt euphoric.
Take a look at all the fun: