Volunteering and Learning: Cheyenne High School Autism Class

Our volunteers are our most important asset. They help us achieve our goals as we work together towards our mission. Among all these valuable volunteers, we would like to take a moment to thank the students of Cheyenne High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. The students along with their Autism teacher, Vicki O’Rourke, took advantage of the opportunity to volunteer at Clean the World during the 2016-17 school year and were delighted with this valuable learning experience as a result.

Cheyenne High School is a large school with approximately 2,200 students that offers a range of programs for students and their families, including a Students with Disability program, Noches de Empoderamiento, Father and Father Figure Nights, and more. Cheyenne High School is a data driven school with concerned counselors and dedicated teachers who care about their students’ academic success.

For this past school year, Clean the World worked with the Cheyenne High School Autism class. There are about six to eight students throughout the program and we’re proud to have hosted these amazing students and watch them learn and grow in a work environment. The students were exposed to working alongside a variety of people from different organizations, thereby enhancing their social skills. The Clean the World staff was also an integral part of their learning as we were hands on in helping the students with organizational and mathematical skills.

We saw firsthand, the development and progress made throughout the school year. The students have grown in confidence when performing

“When comparing their skills from the beginning of school to the end of the school year, our students have all shown growth. They were all able to follow directions and complete tasks with minimal supervision,” said Vicki O’Rourke, Cheyenne High School Autism teacher.

Hundreds of volunteers show up every month to keep our mission alive and to help us save lives one bar of soap at a time. Clean the World is lucky to have these students as volunteers. Spending time with this amazing group and being a part of their growth and development brings us more joy than words can describe. Thank you, Cheyenne High School, you rock!

Thank you, Cheyenne High School, you rock!

Clean the World Volunteers at He Got Up: Helping the Homeless

Clean the World Volunteers at He Got Up: Helping the Homeless

On a sunny Sunday, April 5th Clean the World helped Orlando shine a little bit brighter by volunteering at an event called “He Got Up.” He Got Up is hosted by the Orlando Serve Foundation and is a day of celebration and service to help the Orlando homeless community. In attendance were local non-profits, government leaders, faith-based organizations, a resource fair, stadium concession stands, educational institutions, and barbers—all free of charge for the Orlando community.

The hundreds of volunteers who helped run this moving event were ready to serve those in need, including our Clean the World family. As the free transportation buses pulled up to Camping World Stadium filled with hopeful attendees, we were eager to help. Our role at He Got Up was to provide hot showers and distribute hygiene kits to individuals and families in need. Upon taking their shower, they were given a bag filled with a towel, washcloth, hand towel, body wash, and lotion. Women also had the opportunity to blow dry their hair, paint their nails, and receive necessary feminine products after their shower. Clean the World’s hygiene kits were given out at the event filled with soap, repurposed shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a razor, a washcloth, and an inspirational notecard.

“I love when we get out of the office and participate in a community outreach like He Got Up.  It was a fun time with my co-workers and very humbling to work so closely with our underserved community” says Marti Mosley, Clean the World’s Executive Administrative Assistant.

To hear these families and individuals’ stories, backgrounds, and grateful words was extremely eye-opening. They come from all walks of life. He Got Up was a time for Orlando to come together and brighten their day. A shower is a very personal activity, that’s why we wanted to make everyone feel welcomed and comfortable. Good hygiene and a simple shower can make a huge difference. A woman of 40 years old told us that “this shower made me feel like a millionaire.” And a man named Jonathan said that he’s been “looking forward to this shower all week.” Another woman told us that she doesn’t remember the last time she looked at herself in the mirror.

These daily routines that can be easily taken advantage of made their week. Clean the World is grateful we’re able to provide hygiene and take part in changing people’s lives. It’s important for those who struggle to know that people are there for them and want to provide the means to help them get on their feet. And that’s exactly what we aimed to do volunteering at He Got Up.

“I feel so good. It’s a sunny, beautiful day. Thank you. I have lunch, a shower, and new shoes.” –Samuel, age 60.

This event is so rewarding and we were honored to be a part of it. He Got Up is in its second year, and we believe that our presence will make an even bigger impact than the year before. We want to Clean the World, but sometimes that movement starts in our own backyard.

 


Written by Gabrielle Lintz, an intern in the Clean the World marketing department.

Las Vegas Students Working Hard to Make a Difference

Cheyenne HSClean the World is eternally grateful for the volunteers who help us achieve our goals of recycling soap and saving lives. Among these amazing volunteers are a group of students from Cheyenne High School in North Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clean the World team members work hand-in-hand with young adults in Cheyenne’s Postsecondary Opportunities for Students in Transition (POST) program to increase the students’ occupational, social, and behavioral skills and help them become more productive in their everyday lives. While volunteering in the Clean the World warehouse, they sort bottled amenities collected from hotel partners in and around Las Vegas — so we always appreciate their hands-on support.

Kirk Howser is the POST special education teacher at Cheyenne. Howser oversees this entry-level individualized education program for disabled young adults ages 18 to 22 years old. The POST program helps his students demonstrate independence and competence in areas of employment, socialization, and independent living skills. Their class discussions often teach the students the importance of hygiene products, and why it’s necessary to provide them to those in need.

“Clean the World has opened up new teaching opportunities for our students who have disabilities” Howser said. “Our students do not usually get the opportunity to give back to those in need. It’s usually the other way around. For me personally, I’m happy that I get to share the wonderful feeling of giving back with my students … to see them smile knowing that they are helping someone is really special.”

Howser and his students make a lot of great memories during their volunteer sessions at Clean the World. However, one of their favorites was taking a class picture in front of the Christmas tree. For Howser, giving back is always special, but he says it took on even more significance during the holiday season when the group combined memorable moments with learning and laughter.

We truly appreciate the dedication and passion of the POST students during their weekly visits. Clean the World always welcomes young adults who want to make a difference and increase the impact of our mission. We value our part in helping these young adults develop workplace experience, independence, and communication skills. Their selflessness never goes unnoticed.


Researched and written by Gabrielle Lintz, an intern in the Clean the World marketing department.

Las Vegas Sands Builds 35,000 Hygiene Kits at The Venetian

On Saturday, Oct. 1, we were on-site for the 2016 Las Vegas Sands Global Hygiene Kit Build with Clean the World, where more than 500 volunteers assembled 35,000 hygiene kits! There was plenty of music, excitement, and fun. But most importantly, this event gave us the opportunity to serve those in need in Las Vegas with soap and hygiene products.

It was our third annual hygiene kit build with Las Vegas Sands and Sands Cares. One of our Clean the World team members had an experience during the event that really sums up why we are so committed to this mission. During the lunch break, our employee sat across from a young lady who said she is in foster care. She went on to say how good it made her feel when she received one of our hygiene kits.

We hear stories like that over and over. The fact is that it is impossible to know how important and valuable it is to have a bar of soap or a bottle of shampoo until you suddenly find yourself without. It is humbling to know that what started as a small project in a one-car garage seven years ago has grown into a movement that changes so many lives.

Thank you to Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Sands Cares for their amazing and unwavering support. We also want to thank the fantastic partner organizations in Las Vegas that distribute our hygiene kits on the front lines:

  • Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth
  • HELP of Southern Nevada
  • The Shade Tree
  • St. Jude’s Ranch
  • Las Vegas Rescue Mission
  • USO Las Vegas
  • Care Complex
  • WestCare Nevada

Girl Scouts Learn About the Importance of Hand Hygiene on Global Handwashing Day

dscf9517On Saturday, Oct. 15, we observed Global Handwashing Day by hosting a group of Girl Scouts at our Orlando facility for activities that were both educational and life-changing. Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective way to prevent diseases.

Clean the World is packaging 3,000 hygiene kits for U.S. residents affected by Hurricane Matthew using items donated by United Airlines. The repurposed items come from the airline’s international premium cabin amenity kits and help us fill a critical need for at-risk people. The Girl Scouts were a huge help as they assembled hundreds of the kits during their visit.

Scouts who weren’t working on the hygiene kit assembly line helped prepare damaged and empty shampoo bottles for recycling.

The girls also took part in a hand washing activity, during which they learned the importance of washing for 20 seconds before eating, and after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, or shaking hands. They rubbed glitter on their hands to represent germs, and took turns washing to get rid of the “glitter germs.”

The scouts drew pictures of their hands before and after hand washing, and worked on designs for a special Clean the World Girl Scout badge. And to encourage those whose lives were disrupted by the hurricane, the girls wrote greeting cards for affected people in Haiti, the Bahamas, and Southeastern U.S. coastal areas.

Shipments of Clean the World Soap Help Hurricane Matthew Victims

UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19

Late last week, we announced that recycled soap had shipped from Clean the World facilities in Orlando and Las Vegas to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew. Now we are pleased to follow up with news about where those shipments are:

Haiti: More than 191,000 bars of soap have been shipped to Haiti and are being distributed to the hardest-hit areas in the country’s southern region. This includes over 21,000 soap bars being handed out in partnership with Direct Relief and 167,000 with My Neighbor’s Children. We expect to deliver another full container of soap to Haiti this week. The next shipment may contain up to a quarter million bars of soap.
The Bahamas: More than 41,000 soap bars arrived in The Bahamas on Sunday and are being distributed to the affected areas in partnership with the Salvation Army and a network of other aid groups.
 United States: We expect to deliver at least 3,000 hygiene kits this week to some of the locally affected areas as well in to the northeast coast of Florida, and the Carolinas.

These hygiene items will make a big difference as governments and residents struggle with the aftermath of the storm, and as cholera begins to spread again in Haiti. We will continue to send additional shipments in the coming weeks to meet the ongoing demand.

Our volunteer support has been tremendous, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who helped make the efforts such a huge success. Although the urgent need for volunteers is waning, we still need financial support to help fund the shipping and distribution of the soap.

As Hurricane Matthew lashed at southern Haiti on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Clean the World was already making plans to ramp up soap production and packing. Standing water and poor hygiene are a recipe for the spread of bacterial diseases. So based on our experience in the island nation and what we heard from the global hygiene community, we were relatively certain there would be a cholera outbreak after the storm passed.

Even as Central Florida residents prepared for Matthew to pass near or across the Sunshine State, local volunteers began streaming into our Orlando facility. Our goal was to ship 400,000 soap bars to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.

A week later, on Thursday, Oct. 13, we passed our goal and were closing in on a half-million soap bars packed and ready for shipment. We closed the week at 550,000 bars packed.

We were amazed by how fast that happened. Big thanks to the nearly 600 Orlando-area volunteers who showed up that first week. We also want to recognize our Clean the World team members who kept the production line running, the forklift moving, and the volunteers busy during those long 16-hour days.

But we aren’t finished yet! Clean the World still needs your financial support and volunteer help. Watch this blog, our Facebook page, and e-mail updates for more information on volunteer opportunities and fundraising programs.

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Packed up and ready to depart Clean the World’s loading dock. This truckload of soap was destined for Port Tampa Bay, and then on to Haiti.

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Central Florida volunteers packed these 30,000 soap bars, which were bound for the Bahamas.

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Departing for Fort Lauderdale, and then the Bahamas.

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Once our truck arrived in Fort Lauderdale, the soap was loaded into a shipping container with other relief supplies before setting sail for the Bahamas.

 

Dynamic Duo Travels 1,000 Miles to Volunteer at Clean the World

Rhonny and Kylie with Clean the World's Oscar Gonzalez.

Rhonny and Kylie with Clean the World’s Oscar Gonzalez.

In late August, we welcomed two very special volunteers to Clean the World’s Orlando recycling center. Super-soap heroes Rhonny and Kylie Fletchman traveled all the way from New York City to spend the day with us. Instead of riding roller coasters or seeing the sights, this mother-daughter team helped us further our mission of providing hygiene products and hygiene education to those in need globally.

“Most people don’t volunteer because they think they’ll have to put in too many hours and a lot of work,” Rhonny said. “At Clean the World, they believe every volunteer contribution helps. My daughter Kylie and I both agree that the two hours went by so fast (we ended up staying a little longer). The staff was so kind and attentive. It was a long day. We left on an early flight from NYC and came straight from the airport with our bags for fear of missing our 1 to 3 p.m. volunteer slot. We felt proud and appreciated. Once our schedules slow down, we’ll be back again. Keep doing this much needed valuable work.”

Clean the World Volunteer Coordinator Gabi Norris is excited about the Fletchman family making a return visit.

“It’s not often that you came across people as passionate about what we do as Rhonny and Kylie,” Gabi said. “I couldn’t believe they would travel all this way just to support us. It meant the world to me, and it puts a smile on my face to know they want to keep coming back. I really look forward to seeing those two again.”

Inspired by their dedication and support, our entire Clean the World team enjoyed meeting Rhonny and Kylie as these two were truly extraordinary!

It is the work of our amazing volunteers at Clean the World that fuels our mission to eradicate the top killers of children globally. It is through their support that we can save lives and fight hygiene-related diseases that are affecting millions all over the world.

Thank you again to Rhonny and Kylie Fletchman, and all of our great volunteers for being committed to our mission!

Girl Scouts Bring Hope to Swaziland through Soap

Sisters Taylor and Samantha Lane of Fairfax County, Virginia, visited the African country of Swaziland this summer on a hygiene mission.

As part of Samantha’s Girl Scout Gold Award project last year, both sisters traveled with Clean the World to the Dominican Republic to help distribute soap and teach the importance of hand-washing and good dental hygiene to over 1,500 kids in disadvantaged communities. During that visit, the sisters learned how a little idea could grow into something big. As they said on a recent call with Clean the World, “It is a big world with lots to fix, but if we take a small chunk, we can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to start small; it can compound infinitely.”

Here in their words is the story of the Lane sisters’ recent trip to Swaziland. They volunteered at Project Canaan, a land-development project supported by the UPS Foundation.


By Taylor and Samantha Lane

IMG_0622Our goal for volunteering in Swaziland was to bring all we learned with Clean the World in the Dominican Republic in 2015 to a new part of the world. After that life-changing experience, neither one of us wanted to stop spreading the word about the importance of hygiene.

In Swaziland, our mission was to bring Clean the World’s message of “hope through soap” as part of our effort to advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Swaziland is a country that faces many challenges. The country has the highest HIV rate in the world, leaving many children HIV positive and orphaned because their parents die from the virus.

Swaziland also has the highest rate of Tuberculosis in the world. The combination of being co-infected with TB and HIV, as is common in Swaziland, leaves people at a high risk of mortality. Providing basic education on the importance of hygiene, including hand washing, can help prevent the spread of disease.

Knowing that, we traveled to Swaziland to help provide this type of education. Through community outreach, we taught Swazis about the importance of hygiene. Swaziland, like several other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is also grappling with one of the worst droughts in history. Consequently, many Swazis have been unable to farm to sustain themselves. Hunger is a very real problem in communities across Swaziland, with 69 percent of the population living below the poverty line and most depending on international food programs to survive. Because good nutrition is essential to good health, we also went out into various communities to provide and Clean the World hygiene kits.

Women and girls do not have equal rights under the law in Swaziland and are therefore often hardest hit in terms of their access to food and medicine. Our whole experience in Swaziland was eye-opening regarding the suffering that exists and the basic inequalities that make life even harder for women and girls. That said, we both came away empowered in that we were able to engage, albeit in little ways when compared to the magnitude of the problems, to try to show that girls like us can help change the world for the better.

Clean the World was our inspiration for spreading the word about the power of soap to bring hope.

Taylor Lane graduated from George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia, this June and is headed to Dartmouth College this fall. Samantha Lane is a junior at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia.

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Marina Bay Sands Team Builds 20,000 Hygiene Kits

On July 28, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore hosted the first of four 2016 Clean the World hygiene kit builds taking place at Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) properties from July through December. Team members came together as part of the third annual Las Vegas Sands Global Hygiene Kit Build to assemble 20,000 hygiene kits for at-risk children in the Philippines.

By the end of the year, three more hygiene kit events will take place at Las Vegas Sands properties in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania, and Macao. Team members will build a total of 100,000 hygiene kits to improve the health and well-being of populations in need worldwide.

After the completion of this year’s builds, LVS properties will have packed 400,000 total hygiene kits over the past three years to support our mission to reduce hygiene-related illness through improved access to soap and other hygiene products.

(all photos courtesy of Marina Bay Sands)

Marina Bay Sands team members pumped up and ready to take on the challenge of packing 20,000 hygiene kits.

Marina Bay Sands team members pumped up and ready to take on the challenge of packing 20,000 hygiene kits.

Session 1's winning team from Finance packed 500 kits in 23.02 seconds!

Team members raced to be the first to pack 500 kits. Session 1’s winning team from Finance closed the deal in 23.02 seconds!

Session 2's winning team from Culinary packed 500 kits in 17.30 seconds!

Session 2’s winning team from Culinary packed 500 kits in a blazing 17.30 seconds!

Teamwork and efficiency are the secrets to fast kit building.

Teamwork and efficiency are the secrets to fast kit building.

They did it! Team members from Marina Bay Sands successfully packed 20,000 kits as part of the Las Vegas Sands Global Hygiene Kit Build.

They did it! Team members from Marina Bay Sands successfully packed 20,000 kits as part of the Las Vegas Sands Global Hygiene Kit Build.

Orlando Volunteer Center Benefits From Scout Spirit

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Justin Sontag

Earlier this summer, Justin Sontag of Boy Scout Troop 678 organized a project to lend Clean the World’s Orlando volunteer center a helping hand. Justin and his fellow scouts formulated a plan to bring comfort to our volunteers, which resulted in a dozen scouts assembling 63 stools for the downtown Orlando facility.

This idea to donate seating came to Justin a couple of years ago after a two-hour volunteer shift at Clean the World with his mother.

“I noticed that volunteers stood while sorting and organizing cleaning products,” Justin said. “I realized that if volunteers had a place to sit, they would be comfortable.”

When Justin had the opportunity to plan an Eagle Scout service project, he knew which organization he wanted to help out. Justin enjoyed his time spent volunteering at Clean the World, and the mission to save lives with soap and hygiene products resonated with him.

Justin told Clean the World, “I pitched the idea to my troop at a meeting and got the project approved by the direct representative for scouting. To gather funds, I wrote letters to my friends and family asking for assistance.”

This was a special donation for Clean the World and a memorable day for the employees who met Justin and his mother as they delivered the stools to our warehouse. Since the donation, volunteers have been overwhelmingly pleased with the new option to sit while sorting soap and bottled amenities. Each month nearly a thousand volunteers come through our warehouse. Our local, national, and global impact would not be possible without the help of our many volunteers. So improvements to the volunteer center are always appreciated and extremely beneficial.

Since he was 7 years old, Justin has been a shining example of the Scout OrlO. He proved his desire to help others and better the community through his service with Clean the World. Our organization works closely with the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops of Central Florida, and we greatly appreciate their loyalty to our life-saving mission at Clean the World as well as the Orlando community.