Vietnam veterans in America are often described as “forgotten”, and the folks at Sanofi Genzyme wanted to change that during a recent charity team building workshop. Through WheelCharity™, dozens of participants assembled dozens of wheelchairs for donation to Vietnam Veterans of America.
Helping Scottsdale, AZ Veterans a Natural Fit
We joined two departments from Sanofi Genzyme during a semiannual meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. After a full day of meetings, the WheelCharity™ workshop was a great way to change it up. Folks worked on practical workplace skills while doing good for the community. Sanofi Genzyme has a long record of corporate social responsibility, so this event aligned very well with their previous related activities. Because this division worked on a drug that benefited people with MS, they were especially interested in helping people facing mobility issues; because this workshop was held close to Veteran’s Day, the connection with Vietnam Veterans of America was perfect.
A Busy and Productive WheelCharity™ Workshop
Teams had already been decided before we arrived, which was great because it meant we could start right away. The 50 attendees included several department leaders and managers. The eight teams included an equal amount of representatives from each of the two participating departments. We gave them 90 minutes of activities and obstacles to overcome in assembling more than a dozen wheelchairs. They tackled every single one like pros. From popular games like Say What I Say and Air Counting to new ones like Flip Cup, Dice Cards, and Wordles, people really got into it with a spirit of friendly competition.
The hands-on work cultivates workplace skills like conflict resolution, communication, and problem solving in a tangible way.
Remembering America’s Veterans
Once the wheelchairs were completed, we provided paper and pens for people to write notes of best wishes and encouragement. Then we attached them to each chair. When the folks from Vietnam Veterans of America arrived to accept the donations, they were taken aback. They were profoundly appreciative. There are so many forgotten veterans in need, they said, these wheelchairs would provide them with the ability to get around and be participating members of their community.
There was barely a dry in in the room as Eugene Crego spoke of some of the challenges faced by America’s veterans. It felt like such a small thing, participants said, to offer only wheelchairs to these men and women who have given so much to their country. These wheelchairs opened up so many opportunities to the men and women who needed them. It was a powerful experience for all involved, and one that none of us will easily forget.