What We Do - July 2009 - The story of Helping Hands
Randall, Realtors ‘good works’ focus on children, teens and seniors
They are teens perilously close to slipping into truancy, dropping out of high school, even getting into trouble with the law.
They are seniors isolated by age and infirmity, unable to get to a supportive neighborhood program or even a doctor’s office for critical medical care.
They are families battling to avoid homelessness, deeply appreciative of a gift of disposable diapers and baby formula.
They are eight-year-old boys and girls saved from dysfunctional homes where they were repeatedly abused, psychologically and physically.
Each of them – numbering in the hundreds - could easily have been ignored, even forgotten. But, they were not. Caring friends and professionals reached out with love and resources.
Now, Randall Realtors’ own family of agents and managers is offering their Helping Hands by contributing to four human service agencies – The Frosty Drew Memorial Fund, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center and Waterford Country School – each dedicated to supporting these children, teens and elderly with critical resources and dollars.
“We’re very proud being the largest real estate company in Washington County. We’re thrilled with our expansion into eastern Connecticut,” says Doug Randall, president of Randall Realtors. “But with this growth comes new responsibility to our communities. Our agents always have been generous with their time and charitable contributions. Now we want to celebrate this generosity more formally with a corporate commitment that we are calling Helping Hands.”
It’s a company-wide, volunteer team approach led by Cely O’Brien and representatives from each of Randall’s nine offices from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Mystic, Connecticut.
“It’s very important that every agent who works for our company has an opportunity to be involved and knowledgeable,” says O’Brien. “We pride ourselves in knowing our communities block by block to help our clients buy and sell their homes. Part of that knowledge must extend to the good works that help define our quality of life here.”
As the Helping Hands committee came together, the hardest challenge was choosing just three agencies to initially support. “There are so many worthy beneficiaries,” explains O’Brien. “We decided it was very important to focus on children and seniors, and also to represent the widest geography within our company’s footprint. As we raise more money, we hope to expand our reach to other very important nonprofits.”
After each member of the Helping Hands team nominated their favorites, two representatives visited each organization. “They all were amazing,” observes O’Brien.
“Every time we left, we wished there was more we could do.”
What the Helping Hands team did do is organize Randall Realtors’ kickoff fundraiser late last summer – a barbeque and silent auction at Green Hill Beach Club. “Agents and staff not only contributed food and auction items, but also bid more than $2,200 that was distributed to the three charities.
“The auction items themselves reflect a family spirit that characterizes working at Randall,” says O’Brien. General Manager Mike Schlott offered to mow lawns. Doug Randall contributed a night at Watch Hill Yacht Club with dinner and cocktails. His son, Chris, provided a boat ride with appetizers. Mary Lou Peck’s auction item was high tea for a half dozen friends. Barbara Collins promised to detail a car. Two managers teamed up to prepare a Tuscan dinner for 10.
“The funds raised may seem modest, but the reaction from SORICO, Waterford Country School and Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center was extraordinary,” she reports.
“Each told us our Helping Hands went far beyond dollars. It is the partnership and commitment to their futures, especially during such tough economic times when funding is so hard to find. They know we will be by their sides going forward.”
In fact, the money Helping Hands distributed this fall already has had a significant impact.
Frank Mealy, SORICO’s program director, reports that the funds will finance an entire year’s schedule of field projects for the teens - all of whom have been removed from local middle and high schools because of chronic and disruptive behavior.
“The contribution actually goes far beyond that,” he explains. “Randall’s example can be a model for other companies of all sizes to recognize not only the financial needs we have, but also the opportunities to meet and mentor our students – many of whom can become their future employees.”