GivingBack is Good for
by Ahren Hoffman, business development director ASTRA’s Foundation exists to increase awareness of the importance of play and its impact across the lifespan from early childhood through adulthood by way of research, education and philanthropic activities.
STRA’s annual trade show provides an opportunity for attendees and exhibitors of Marketplace & Academy to come together and give back in the communities we visit each year. In 2018, held in New Orleans, ASTRA launched corporate social responsibility projects as part of the trade show and conference experience. Together, we were able to invest in the city through volunteerism while supporting the economy with our annual trade show. As an organization focused on investing locally, we have a responsibility to help those in need and contribute to the common good in each city we visit. Volunteerism comes with many rewards: • Building respect and a good reputation in the community • Making the community a better place to live • Creating connections and networking with peers While we think of volunteering as helping those in need, supporting a worthwhile cause or influencing the community, it has benefits for the volunteer too. Giving to others supports both mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, strengthen relationships, provide a sense of purpose, bring fun and fulfillment which lights up the brain and gives it a happy “DOSE” (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins) of chemicals. We made an impact on both the community and each other at ASTRA’s 2019 Marketplace & Academy in Pittsburgh, PA!
ASTRA Partner: Tangle Creations
Program: Park Cleanup Attendees were invited to come in early to volunteer for a park cleanup project in Pittsburgh. Volunteers were tasked with various activities, such as planting, invasive plant removal, trash removal from the stream and more. ASTRA partnered with Tangle Creations to give back to a community in need after the October 2018 Squirrel Hill tragedy nearby. Organization: Nine Mile Run Watershed Association
People and Business
Mission: Nine Mile Run Watershed Association restores and protects its watershed ecosystem, while working regionally to support and implement resilient solutions for a healthy urban environment. Project Location: Frick Park Impact: • 31 Volunteers • 124 volunteer hours • $13,211 total philanthropic impact from volunteer labor Daily DOSE: Being outside increases Vitamin D levels! Light tends to elevate people’s mood and physical activity has been shown to relax and cheer people up. —Harvard Health Letter: A prescription for better health: go alfresco
ASTRA Partner: Crayola
Program: Backpack Stuffing Attendees were asked to fill a backpack with back-to-school supplies on the tradeshow floor! ASTRA partnered with Crayola to fill 1,000 backpacks with over 10 items for back-to-school readiness on Monday and Tuesday of the tradeshow. Impact: • 127 Volunteers • 9 volunteer hours • 1,000 backpacks • 10,000+ items • $50,000+ total impact from volunteer labor and materials donated • 5 different elementary schools received the backpacks: - Arlington Elementary School - West Liberty Elementary School - Banksville Elementary School - Allegheny Elementary School - Pittsburgh Liberty Elementary School • 51% Pittsburgh Public School (PPS) students are federally eligible for free or reduced-price lunch • The four Pennsylvania school districts with the highest percentage of students living in poverty are in Pittsburgh • District-wide, 65% of students are designated as economically disadvantaged by the state Department of Education, but that number is above 80% at some schools • In 2019, Pittsburgh Public Schools received 1,383 requests for homeless and foster care services for students Daily DOSE: Making others happy is powerful! Research has shown that giving makes us far happier than receiving. –Science Magazine: Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin & Michael Norton
September2019 • astratoy.org
8/28/19 1:44 PM