They’re here! Hearing those words of excitement from children every Tuesday morning for eight weeks this summer made me feel really good about choosing to volunteer with Oasis through the Maritz Employee Community Engagement Program.

Oasis/Maritz volunteersI joined my colleagues to serve as volunteers with the Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits program, working with kindergarteners at Lakeside Children’s Academy in Valley Park, MO.

For an hour each week, the Oasis/Maritz team helped kids learn good eating and physical activity habits for a lifetime. During the project, we provided 1) hands-on nutrition lessons – stressing the importance of “GO, WHOA, SLOW” foods, 2) healthy snacks, and 3) fun, active games.

Each team member assumed a specific weekly task. I planned the healthy snacks. Maritz retiree Andi Hall and Jill Svejkosky, an Oasis volunteer and retired elementary school teacher, prepared the lesson plan. My colleague Patricia Roberts organized and led the games.

“Oasis provided me with a box of over 300 game ideas from which I could choose three to four games per visit,” said Patricia. “I even got some great ideas for games and healthy snacks to use with my great-nieces, Abigail (10) and the twins, Ellie and Caitie (6).”

Maritz Catch Healthy Habits KidsThrough the Maritz Employee Community Engagement Program, we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of the people in our community. Maritz has very generously offered to let us do that on their time. When we accept the challenge to give of our time and of ourselves to help make the community better, we end up bettering ourselves in the process. While it’s not about making US better, that’s a nice BONUS. Everyone wins!

Debbie Schirmer is Community Affairs Director at Maritz.