MATTHEWS – It’s one thing to learn to work as a team. It’s entirely different when your teamwork puts a smile on a child’s face.
That’s what 52 Henderson Properties employees recently discovered through their annual teambuilding seminar, where they assembled and donated bikes to nine local children.
The company hosts meetings each year where employees complete activities that encourage them to work as a team and strengthen the company as a whole. Past activities have included scavenger hunts and rope challenges at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. But this year is the first time the company has used the seminar to help the community.
“We were trying to think of something different we can do, like giving back,” Lind Goodman, sales division manager for Henderson Properties, said. “We started looking on the Internet for ideas, and this bike deal came up – we’d never done anything like that before.”
Henderson settled on ordering bicycles and having the employees team up to assemble the bikes for local children in need. Company leaders reached out to the Matthews HELP Center, who connected them with nine children, all ages 7 to 9, who didn’t receive bikes for Christmas.
When the 52 employees showed up at the Siskey Family YMCA Hemby Program Center for the seminar on Jan. 24, they had no idea what they would be doing. They were simply instructed to begin working on the bikes that afternoon.
“All of the departments were kind of mixed up” among each other, Goodman said. “They were just going with the flow, but didn’t know what the end result was going to be.”
While the Henderson Properties employees worked on the bikes, the nine lucky children were in another room eating pizza – they’d been told they were there for pizza, cookies and a surprise, though their parents knew the real reason the kids were there. Once the bikes were completed, the children were escorted into the room to receive their surprise.
“When the kids came in, it was very moving,” Goodman said. “The kids are so excited, and our people are understanding that this is why we went through this.”
Many Henderson Properties employees have children of their own, Goodman added, which made the experience even more meaningful.
“By far, this is the best annual meeting we’ve had … You accomplish want you want to accomplish through teambuilding, but you (also) get to give these kids bikes.”
Henderson Properties strives to give back throughout the year through various food drives, the annual juvenile diabetes walk and more. Goodman said the company plans to use next year’s seminar to give back to people in need, as well.
“I highly recommend anybody to do this … it’s a neat kind of thing to give back,” she said. “It just makes you realize what you have and how something as simple as a bike means so much to these kids.”