Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 3, 2009 - Real Heroes Read

Hey there, hi there and hello there to all you heroes out there!  The good times are continuing to roll with another great week here in the South.  Happy Anniversary to Anthony and Cheryl and a big happy birthday to cousins Emily and Derek ... hope the wonderful Iowa weather is treating you well!It was another wondermous work week at Aflac with Six Sigma training taking up pretty much every day.  I never thought I would be diving into so much analytics with this program, but it was basically a college course in statistical analysis ... which was a good refresher for me.  Class took up most of the week, but my boss-man also pulled me out to be a part of the 2010 planning sessions for about a day and a half.  Wednesday we laid the groundwork for Employee Appreciation Week (EAW which is this week, wahoo) as well as our agenda for Thursday.  It was off to the Double Tree on Thursday for our all-day planning for 2010.  We talked about what our department will look like over the next year as well as various leadership certifications that we'll be going through.  Naturally, I've been tasked with writing up the 2010 plan to present to our management ... nothing like putting together a tactical action plan:)  I'm actually looking forward to it, good thing I paid attention during that Professional Writing class back in college!  EAW is a week-long celebration of our employees with free ice cream, thank you cards, gifts, prizes, food and a big celebration on Friday down at the Civic Center.  Steven and I are tweaking our duet for Aflac's Got Talent since we made it to the final six.  I don't think it crossed my mind until this weekend, but we'll be singing in front of over 4,000 people ... which is ridiculously awesome!  It should be a pretty fun week indeed.I've been in charge of the Miss Georgia Pageant program book for the last couple of years, and on Monday I presented our final statistics to the rest of the Trustees.  Our ad sales went from $17,000 last year to over $41,000, a $24,000 increase in just one year!  I wish I was on commission, but I tell you what ... that's a pretty good feeling to know the kind of impact I had on that part of the organization.  Wednesday I had another great volunteer night when I went over to help out the CSU SIFE team with their final recruitment effort for the year.  They took 5 students up to Atlanta for Regionals just a month ago, and after Wednesday night, the CSU SIFE team had 16 members from all grades and many majors.  Even better than that, a girl I worked with since she was the President, Crystal, landed a job with a SIFE sponsor company because of her involvement over the last year.  Even thought it's been a rough two years trying to get this team up and going, it's stories like that which keep me going to give back to their team;)By far the best part of the week though was Saturday at the 1st Annual Columbus Heroes Read program.  I've been a part of hundreds of volunteer activities, but this core volunteer crew from the Literacy Alliance is one of the best, if not the best, group I have been a part of.  As the Program Chair, I was asked by one of our committee members in February if we could participate in the Free Comic Book day that happens the first Saturday each May.  As a committee we decided we were going to kick it up a notch and make an amazing event, which we did.  It was one of those projects that when I looked down at the task list, I only saw my name on one thing, to organize volunteers for the event.  Every other task was quickly taken on by the rest of the committee, and everyone came through!  We invited real heroes from our community, including military personnel with their Stryker vehicle, EMS in an ambulance, fire fighters with their truck and the Columbus Police Department.  We secured a TV sponsor in WRBL and they ran free ads for us over the last couple of weeks.  Our event was in the paper three times in the last four days and even on the radio.  As of Friday I had about 18 volunteers signed up to help, so I gave each of them something to do ... but, then Saturday came and to my surprise, we had about 40 volunteers lined up to help!  It was amazing to see how excited the military folks, board members and even some of the SIFErs were to help inspire kids to read.  So, fifteen minutes before the event I put on my cape to turn into Super Nate and corralled the crew for final instructions.  Everyone was so excited, and I tell you what ... we needed all the excitement from the volunteers we could get because the kids were lined up right at 11am.  We registered every child, gave them at least two free comic books and set up stations for story telling as well as drawing stations where kids learned from local teachers how to draw their own super hero.  One child even chose to draw me, or I guess it was my alter-ego, Super Nate:)  The kids had an absolute blast and the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed their time.  More than 360 people attended the event and we handed comic books out to 218 kids from 3 years old to 11th grade and they represented more than 75 learning institutions throughout the area!  We couldn't have asked for a better first year event and everyone, including the library director, is talking about we can make it bigger and better for next year.  Thank you to everyone who either joined us for the fun or helped make it happen, it was a hit!
O, and how could I forget that I bought a new TV, audio and appliances.  After wheeling and dealing to save thousands of dollars at HH Gregg (which yes, meant I had to spend a few bucks ... thank you first time homeowners credit:) I ended up with a Whirlpool fridge, convection oven and dishwasher.  Which will compliment the Samsung Blu Ray 5.1 surround sound system that'll hook into my brand new 46" Samsung LED TV ... yeah, I'm excited ... and so is Jenny;)
I'm not quite sure how to top a week like that, but we're going to give it a go this week.  I've submitted my application for an MBA program at Emory University, which is the #2 Evening MBA program in the nation ... no pressure or anything I guess.  Aflac has expanded it's Tuition Assistance Program, so I figured I would give it a shot at least and see what happens.
EAW should make for a great week, and on top of that, a bunch of us will be heading to Six Flags on Saturday for Aflac day at the park.  My blog post may be a bit tardy too since Jason, Meg, Alisha and myself are flying out to Philly on Sunday morning for the SIFE National Exposition!  I am so excited to see the ol' MMC SIFE team for the first time this year, I wish you all the best of luck ... I know you'll do great.
Well, looks like a busy week so I better get at it.  My morsel for the week comes from the new book I am reading by the Dalai Lama, "The Art of Happiness": His hope is based on the belief that while attaining genuine and lasting happiness is not easy, it nevertheless can be done."  With all of these great things happening and Jenny moving down in a month, I would have to agree with the Lama and I hope you will too!
I am not quite sure how to top that week again, but I'm sure EAW will give this week a boost!

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