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HR Manager Has Personal Connection With Soap Recycling

Astrid Zelaya grew up in a place where many people lacked basic hygiene necessities, which is why she is such a big supporter of Clean the World. Currently a human resources manager at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, Astrid spent most of her life in Honduras.

Her family was luckier than many because Astrid’s father worked for Chiquita Bananas in Honduras. It wasn’t easy to support six daughters on his salary, but the family had everything they needed.

“I didn’t suffer, but I saw suffering in the people around us,” said Astrid. “I went to different fields where farmers grew bananas, and it was so hard for me to understand why I had everything in my house and they didn’t. These other families lived just five kilometers away, but it was a different world.”

Although Astrid’s family lived in the banana fields, the company provided a nice house with all the modern conveniences and accommodations. However, nearby farmers who didn’t work for the company lived in small homes without showers and they bathed in the river. When visiting those fields with her father, Astrid saw children without clothes or shoes. At the tender age of 7, this realization had a significant affect on her.

“I asked my parents why people lived that way,” said Astrid. “So they started collecting the clothes we outgrew, and I enjoyed going to those little aldeas, which is what we call the small towns, and giving them things that were still in good condition. They were so happy with what they received. So I have that memory from my childhood.”

Astrid’s desire to help others stayed with her when she went to college and earned a degree in industrial engineering. She worked with other students to collect clothing and food, which they would deliver to various aldeas on Saturdays as a community service.

In the years following college, Astrid worked in Honduras and traveled internationally for business while her family relocated to the United States. Her father’s declining health eventually prompted Astrid to come to the U.S. as well.

“When I came here, I applied to I sent out so many resumes,” said Astrid. “No one was calling me for an interview because I didn’t have experience here. Then one day I was in front of the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, and I loved the colors and loved that it was a family hotel. I just thought it would be an amazing place for me. So I stopped.”

At the time, the hotel was looking for someone to run the laundry facility. That was an interesting stroke of luck, because Astrid previously spent eight years in the garment industry. She worked for a company that operated an industrial laundry facility in Honduras. The facility washed denim pants manufactured there for American clothing brands.

After she was well into her career in the garment industry, Astrid earned a degree in human resources and went to work as a consultant. So when she came to the United States, the job at Nickelodeon Suites was a match made in heaven.

Astrid accepted an offer from Nickelodeon to work as the laundry supervisor. While working with the laundry team, which was primarily staffed by Haitian immigrants, she noticed employees opening up folded washcloths to remove bars of soap which were set aside. That was her first exposure to Clean the World. The staff explained that the used soap was recycled and sent back to their country.

In 2008 the hotel had an opening in human resources and Astrid moved on from the laundry facility. By that time she had great relationships with people on the operations side of the hotel – and a strong appreciation for Clean the World’s mission.

Astrid also was selected to head up the company’s Green Committee. Her first goal was to secure a green designation for Nickelodeon Suites. Within a year, the Nickelodeon Suites Resort was recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with a Green Lodging Certification for environmentally friendly hotel practices.

Between her HR position and her duties with the Green Committee, Astrid gets the opportunity to work with many members of the hotel’s housekeeping staff. She sees how proud they are to be part of the Global Hygiene Revolution by collecting soap for Clean the World.

“When they come back in the afternoon with a bag full of soap, they are so excited about what they have collected,” said Astrid. “They smile because they know the bins are filling up. We connect on this issue because we all come from poor countries. We have all seen it. And that is why our housekeepers have the commitment to help Clean the World. They know it makes a difference for their people.”


Travel to Honduras with Clean the World

Clean the World is planning a four-day soap distribution trip to Honduras in February – which isn’t all that unusual. What is unusual is that for the first time we are opening up the team to include people other than our typical group of employees and partners. That means anyone who is an interested supporter or friend can join us for this potentially life-changing experience Feb. 25-28, 2013.
We plan to distribute soap to about 1,000 children in Honduran orphanages, soup kitchens, schools and villages. At least six volunteers are needed to conduct the excursion, which will likely shed new light on the plight of people struggling to overcome hygiene challenges in villages far from our own backyards. Team members will meet with children at a Honduran orphanage in the area around Comayagua, and visit local schools where children often go days or weeks without even seeing a bar of soap. This is an opportunity to experience how Hondurans live, and to see the challenges they face on a daily basis with regard to hygiene and dealing with inadequate sanitation.
Want to join us? Please contact Rosanna Kingston at rkingston@ctw2.wpstagecoach.com by Dec. 10 for information about the cost of the trip and to reserve your place. Space is limited and will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to help save lives with soap.

Party VIP Style and Support Sandy Relief

People in the Orlando area can help victims of Superstorm Sandy while enjoying a night on the town tomorrow night, Thursday, Nov. 15.

The Lounge is coming to International Plaza on Lake Eola in downtown Orlando Thursday night, and transforming the area around the lake into a cosmopolitan nightclub. Event producer Paul Lovett promises an unforgettable night of live music, upscale fashion and cocktails. For every ticket sold, 10 Clean the World Hygiene Kits will be sent to storm-ravaged residents in the Northeast.

The Lounge plans to bring an alternative to the normal night out where attendees will enjoy the comfort of chic furniture placed around the plaza, groove on music from DJ BMF & The Phat and Jazzy Players, and take in a 007 themed fashion show presented by Fused Fashion. The Lounge offers an assortment of cocktails and fresh hors d’oeuvres for guests.

This is a fantastic way to support a great cause and have a great evening of fun and entertainment at the same time. Visit The Lounge website for more information.


Closing Argument and Supporting Superstorm Sandy Victims

One week ago the country heard the closing arguments from politicians. Now, it’s Clean the World’s turn. We need your fuel. And so do the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

This is the closing argument from Clean the World CEO Shawn Seipler:

Every dollar donated to Clean the World’s Rocket Hub campaign will send one hygiene kit to a Sandy victim. Clean the World just sent 3,000 hygiene kits this week to be distributed by our partner, World Vision.

For more information, please read the blog post on our relief efforts.
Why should you fuel Clean the World’s Rocket Hub Campaign?

– The Rocket Hub campaign will raise money for four new machines that completely automate our soap sterilization process, reducing our soap recycling time by 90 percent!
– The new operational efficiency will allow Clean the World to begin processing 2 million more bars of soap for victims of Sandy and those in need around the world!
– The new equipment will create new jobs at Clean the World!
– With the new equipment, Clean the World can focus our volunteers on building hygiene kits for those impacted by Sandy and for food pantries and homeless shelters across the U.S.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO FUEL US TODAY: If you have already fueled, we ask that you consider doing it again. The power of crowdfunding is in sharing the campaign with your network. Please share the project with your friends, family and network.

Hygiene Kits on the Way to Sandy Victims

Superstorm Sandy left a heartbreaking trail of destruction and devastation in the Northeast United States. As part of the Sandy relief effort, Clean the World is providing hygiene kits to those in affected areas of New Jersey and New York City. The kits include soap, shampoo and other items that meet the basic hygiene needs of families in the wake of the storm.

We are working with relief organizations that already have on-the-ground distribution in the Northeast to quickly get the hygiene kits to those who need them most. Clean the World currently partners with World Vision and Feeding America among others for domestic product distribution.

You can help this effort. For every dollar donated to Clean the World directly or through the RocketHub campaign, a hygiene kit will be delivered to the distributing relief organization. Our volunteers have already prepared 3,000 hygiene kits. Your donations will support the delivery of those kits, and the assembly and delivery of 10,000 more in the coming days.

Clean the World is also calling for volunteers in Orlando and Las Vegas to assist in the effort. Recycling Operational Centers are open and accepting volunteers to assist in the recycling and product preparation effort, which includes assembling the desperately needed hygiene kits. To volunteer, please contact Rosanna Kingston at rkingston@ctw2.wpstagecoach.com or 407-574-8353 Ext. 114.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this devastating storm. Please help today.
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