Employees from Smith’s headquarters recently participated in several events to celebrate Houston’s Abilities Week, which is held during the first week of October and helps the city to kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month each year.
Smith worked with our long-time CSR partner, The HUB, a school for teens and young adults with neurological differences, on several projects to both serve the greater Houston community and to empower individuals with disabilities.
Smith started the week early with a sensitivity-training lunch and learn at our headquarters and warehouse on the two Fridays leading up to the week’s events. Adrienne Thorp, Employment Specialist with The HUB, spoke with Smith employees about the challenges those with neurological differences can face in the workplace – such as bright lights and overstimulating social interaction – and the strengths they bring with them, like the ability to focus on tasks and not finish until the job is done.
On the first day of Abilities Week, students from The HUB toured Smith’s headquarters, learning about the different departments and our workflow. The following day, volunteers from Smith teamed up with the students to help fill food kits for Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that provides food for the weekends to elementary school students who might otherwise go hungry.
“It has been such a rewarding week,” said Patti Everitt, HR and Recruiting Manager at Smith. “Both Smith employees and the students have learned so much from each other, and we all continue to grow as individuals. Watching the kids give back while also learning how to better navigate the world around them is so fulfilling.”
Smith and The HUB’s long-standing partnership and commitment to being involved in our local community go beyond this special month. Throughout the year, employees and students regularly join together for community enrichment initiatives, such as making sandwiches for the homeless and assembling care packages for children in foster care. Additionally, Smith is committed to mentoring and, in some cases, employing HUB students.
“Our partnership with Smith is monumental,” Adrienne said. “The culture of the company really aligns with our mission at The HUB. The students look forward to working with the employees at Smith because they provide a safe, nurturing environment where our students can practice and learn new job skills. I love that community giving and volunteer work are crucial pieces to both organizations.”
Later this month, Smith and The HUB will join to assemble packages of necessities for Houston’s homeless community.
Keep up with Smith’s CSR efforts at Smith Gives Back, or follow our Instagram (@smithweb) for a look at what we’re up to in our community.