To help St. Damien Pediatric Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, better serve its patients and their families, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC is purchasing $10,000 worth of new computers for the hospital, and will send seven employees to train the staff on their use, as well as provide other volunteer assistance. Employees from Bendix facilities in Elyria and Acuña, Mexico, will travel to Haiti September 21 to 25 to deliver 12 computers and assist in other duties at the nonprofit hospital.
“Whenever possible, we encourage Bendix employees to be engaged in a hands-on manner, so we try to find projects that put their skills to work while meeting the needs of the organizations we’re helping,” says Maria Gutierrez, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Bendix. “Direct involvement and participation in a project like this can be challenging, but it is often a life-changing experience.”
Founded in 1989 by nonprofit Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), St. Damien Pediatric Hospital provides high-quality medical treatment for disadvantaged and sick children. Its outpatient clinic treats 100 children each day for acute, parasitic and bacterial infections, while its specialized clinics treat chronic conditions for months or years, if needed. The hospital and its associated public health and community programs serve more than 90,000 children and adults each year.
Mario Flores, a Bendix Program Manager with Global Responsibilities, helped lead the project for Bendix. Flores has previous experience in Haiti through volunteering activities with Engineers Without Borders. He also supervised a EUR 25,000 hygiene-related project at St. Yves Primary School in Limonade, Haiti, through Knorr-Bremse Global Care, a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by the Knorr-Bremse Group, of which Bendix is a member.
The project is also a pilot effort to incorporate skills-based volunteering into Bendix’s leadership development programs, utilizing the experience, talents and education of volunteers to help nonprofit organizations. By incorporating a wide range of employee abilities and insight, skills-based volunteering can also have a deeper impact on strengthening an organization’s operations and services.
“Skills-based volunteering strengthens relationships, teamwork and communication, while making the most of everyone’s unique talents,” Gutierrez says. “And the results of efforts like the St. Damien Pediatric Hospital project are a powerful reminder of the tremendous difference each person can make.”