4 Hours and 40 Tablets Make a Difference at Grandma’s House

Betzi Hanc Betzi Hanc is a member of both the UBM Tech Channel XChange Events and [email protected] teams. She has been marketing in the high tech industry for 18 years, and still uses her dance degree by teaching ballet and creative movement to young children.
About Betzi Hanc (1 Posts)

Last week I received a call from Julie Cole, director of Grandma’s House. She told me she still can’t believe all the help they received through our most recent [email protected] project.

It turns out we touched them as much as they touched us.

Grandma’s House is an amazing inter-generational nursing home at the Orlando Health & Rehabilitation Center (OHRC). The nonprofit has created a very unique and special family—both young and old with severe disabilities living together under one roof.

Channel@Work at Grandma's House

[email protected] at Grandma's House

On Saturday, March 9, a group of more than 60 volunteers arrived early to the XChange Solution Providerevent in Orlando, Fla., to spend the afternoon at the house. For five years now, we have been partnering with local organizations in the city where we host our XChange event.

From Dress for Success to the Ronald McDonald House to Grandma’s House, a mix of event staff, vendors and solution providers come to the conference a day early to give back to the community. Microsoft has been a consistent supporter of the effort and this year was the sole underwriter for Grandma’s House.

We were greeted by the Hands On Orlando team, a nonprofit that helps to coordinate volunteer projects. Groups were formed to tackle the day’s work. I joined the “Care and Share” group and settled in at one of the craft tables to make felt puppets. Little did I know how much joy our creations would bring.

Did you know that puppets make great decorations for the armrests on wheelchairs? Once the kids caught on that there were new puppets available, we couldn’t make them fast enough. The volunteers and residents on wheelchair strolls were stopping by our tables. A single smile from a child was more than enough motivation to crank up the production.

When I had a chance to look up, I could see the flurry of activity around me. The “Green Thumb” garden crew was hauling leaves, pruning hedges, planting shrubs and mulching. The “Builder Buddy” group was building benches and garden boxes, from sawing the lumber through to sanding and sealing. The “Paintastic” group was painting birdhouses and making paver stones for the gardens. And there were volunteers wheeling residents out to see the progress, and to visit the petting zoo.

Our [email protected]: To Grandma’s House We Go video shares some of the highlights of our afternoon.

What I didn’t see until the end of the day was the work that had gone on inside the building.

We had a tech team setting up some new TVs and gaming systems—and the 40 new tablets that were given by the 13 technology donor companies.

I didn’t fully understand the impact of the tablets until yesterday. I just bought a tablet recently for convenience—a great vehicle for tweeting during our events. It’s more or less a toy for me. But Julie explained that at Grandma’s House, these tablets have opened up their world. Sensory stimulation is key, and the tablets bring sound, color, touch and information to the fingertips of the users. They have also found that the tablets are connecting the generations, as they explore together. This was a great new perspective to have on technology, and how much it can positively impact quality of life for people.

I am hooked on [email protected] projects, and I am not alone. We see some of the usual suspects on our volunteer days and always welcome new faces. We love stepping out of our work roles and coming together to do something truly meaningful.

If you are interested in seeing some pictures from the project, they are posted on the XChange Events Facebook page, or see the [email protected] video.

To take a look at some of our other [email protected] projects, come visit our site!

We highly recommend looking into your local Hands On affiliate for help facilitating a volunteer project. You get to give to two nonprofits at once!

Want to learn more about corporate and nonprofit partnerships that can benefit your business? Join us May 1st and 2nd in Anaheim, CA for the Business4Better Conference and Expo where great minds will come together for ‘good.’

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