A Day in the Park with State Farm and KenCrest
KenCrest partnered with State Farm to bring together the people we support for a meaningful day in East Goshen Park.
By Sydney Kerelo
What started as a wet and dreary spring morning at East Goshen Park turned into a lively afternoon for KenCrest, the men and women of Chester/Delaware County Community Living, and our State Farm corporate volunteers.
Upon arrival, the people we support experienced a magical afternoon in May, with balloons, card games, corn hole, bingo, and ring toss galore. For hours, residents from the KenCrest program laughed, joked, and enjoyed quality time with their friends and support staff, thanks to State Farm’s generosity.
And one thing KenCrest loves is the help from our volunteers.
“[Corporate volunteering] is important because it allows people to see our mission in action,” says Barbara Kochard, Director of Developmental Operations at KenCrest. “It allows the people we support, especially in our adult programs, to interact face-to-face with the people we support. Often our corporate volunteers reflect on the events and say, ‘I know this person, I met this person, I know they can do exceptional things,’ and it allows people to touch the mission in a way that you can’t otherwise.”
Our day in the park with State Farm kicked off KenCrest’s in-person corporate volunteering, making it State Farms’ second volunteering opportunity. Last year they helped KenCrest winterize our Pottstown greenhouse, which was once a storefront and greenhouse program that was running pre-pandemic and has since seized use. But it still needed to be protected, so State Farm helped us clean it.
“State Farm and its employees love to give back,” says Justin Schilawski, an Agency Field Specialist Manager with State Farm. “I am fortunate enough to be a part of a team that tries to do corporate volunteer events every quarter, and thankfully, State Farm gives their employees a company benefit where we can use two paid days off a year to give back to the community.”
In addition to two paid days off throughout the year, State Farm initiates a volunteer grant that accumulates each employee’s volunteer hours for up to two years. Once they reach 40-hours, the corporate office will donate a $500 Good Neighbor Grant from State Farm Companies Foundation towards a nonprofit of their choosing. This year, KenCrest was the recipient of that grant.
“The Good Neighbor Grant is a wonderful opportunity for us to get back out into the community, working with people,” says Agency Field Specialist Margo Turtureja. “Each year, State Farm supplies us with two days off, one on your own and one as a team, to get involved within our community. A Day in the Park was our team’s effort.”
State Farm isn’t the only corporation that has volunteered with KenCrest. Other corporate volunteers include Pfizer, PNC, BB&T (now Truist Foundation),CBIZ, and numerous local churches and community groups.
“The one big thing we want to try to bring back this year is Giving Tuesday,” says Kochard. “We used to have a day of service where volunteers could come out to different sites and do something meaningful with the people we support. We don’t want them painting walls or cleaning; we want our corporate volunteers to interact with the people, we support and truly understand our mission.”
Although KenCrest’s corporate volunteering is shifting back to in-person, there are still numerous virtual opportunities through our Daysharing program, like bingo and online culture classes—where guests can virtually travel to a different country and engage in activities associated with that destination.
Want to learn more about how to get involved in our corporate volunteering? Reach out to Barbara Kochard at Barbara.Kochard@kencrest.org or learn more about our Daysharing program on our website.
This article originally appeared in KenCrest’s Possibilities Magazine second issue! Click here to check it out!