Array launched a firm-wide community support initiative with employees giving back in their neighborhoods. As healthcare-focused architects and designers, our finished product not only benefits the client, but also the people who walk in and out of the clients' doors – our community. Naturally, we are able to identify with how important it is to give back – it's something we're aware of daily as part of our jobs. Company leaders have the ability to empower their employees to encourage social change. Array has chosen to do so by supporting organizations that encourage and inspire our communities.
Recently, Array’s NYC office hosted its first job shadowing event for Fresh Air Fund students. The visiting students were part of the Fund’s Career Awareness Program, an academic program that allows students to discover their strengths; explore their interests; and develop leadership, interpersonal and critical thinking skills. To prepare for the shadowing, Array created an educational architectural activity in which the students received an envelope of classroom furniture cut-outs, a worksheet with a 25’ x 30’ room, and a list of specifications. The objective: design your ideal learning space, one that you believe would promote an environment conducive to team building.
Following an office tour and an architectural overview, staff volunteers set up students with their supplies and the designing took off. Students worked in groups to get a sense of the collaborative efforts that go into eacharchitectural project. Each team had a unique take on what their ideal classroom looks like.
The Fresh Air Fund works to provide young people with the resources to develop the necessary skills to take an active role in deciding their education and career path – they inspire the community’s youth. Supporting the Fund through skills-based volunteering allows Array to encourage students to think of where they see themselves in the future (and possibly spark the interests of future architects!). Skills-based learning is extremely beneficial, providing great value – those with skills are those with passion; passion encourages engagement; engagement is what it takes to make an impact in our communities.
To say that these students were engaged is an understatement; the involvement in the main activity, as well as the following Q&A session, was exciting – we could feel the energy in the room. It was uplifting to see the tangible effects of something as simple as an hour and a half shadowing. With the proper resources, Fresh Air Fund students, and our communities as a whole, are able to flourish.
Firm-wide initiatives are taking place in each of our locations, ranging from serving meals at an outreach center to charity walks. Provided we stay involved in our communities, the future can be a very bright place.
Array’s NYC and DC offices will host job shadowing opportunities throughout the spring, and look forward to continuing their partnerships with local youth organizations. Check back for a blog from our DC office on their recent job shadowing experience.
Authored by Heather McKenna, formerly with Array.