In an elementary school hallway in South Central Los Angeles, passersby might stop to read the walls. They are lined in part with inspirational quotes, one of which is something once said by author Robert Collier. It reads “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” That quote, fittingly enough, was painted there meticulously by a Cast Member who was participating in one of countless service projects helping the Disney VoluntEARS celebrate 30 years of existence.
For those who have never heard of the Disney VoluntEARS, here is a little background. In 1983, several Disneyland Cast Members formed a group called DCAT (Disneyland Community Action Team) with one simple purpose: encourage employees to volunteer in their communities. After nine years of existence, the program expanded and was renamed the Disney VoluntEARS. In May of this year, Disney employees from around the world celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the VoluntEARS by getting out in their communities and lending a hand. Each business unit committed to doing service projects around the globe in the month of May, one of which was the elementary school painting project of Disney Interactive.
As Collier’s quote reminds, the biggest impacts are not always made with single actions, but rather the true measure of success is smaller actions repeated over and over again. Perhaps the best, most recent, demonstration of this is the service projects VoluntEARS have been enacting around the world this month. Take a look at some of the service projects and see more on the Disney Post:
Since the original days of DCAT, Cast Members have volunteered a combined total of over 7.5 million hours in over 40 countries around the globe. On May 29, VoluntEARS from different parts of the Company got together to hear about upcoming volunteer opportunities, celebrate the service projects, and commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the program.
Among those honored was Disney Interactive Co-President Jimmy Pitaro, who was named this year’s Executive VoluntEAR of the Year. In his speech, Jimmy told a story about his daughter who had decided to forgo her birthday gifts this year in favor of donations to favorite charities. After telling the story and talking a little bit about some of his favorite charitable causes, Jimmy said, “Compassion is now cool, and it’s spreading.”
Also honored were the Los Angeles-area VoluntEAR Team of the Year—the Skills-based VoluntEARS—and VoluntEAR of the Year Ginger Mort, of whom Disney Consumer Products President Robert Chapek said, “Ginger is making the world a better place, and helping others around her do the same.”
In May alone, Disney VoluntEARS gave nearly 10,000 hours of service to their communities. That impact is being felt both near and far. For proof, ask Denzell Perry. Denzell spent the majority of his childhood involved with the Boys and Girls Club, with whom many Disney VoluntEARS have spent their time. He credits the Club with helping him find his voice. “The club has inspired and enabled me by showing me that there’s a leader inside of me,” he said while speaking at the 30th Anniversary event.” He then addressed the crowd of VoluntEARS and said matter-of-factly, “Boys and Girls Clubs couldn’t live out their mission if it wasn’t for you.”
The next step, says Robert Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, is to think even more globally about the impact of the Disney VoluntEARS. “Tonight,” he said, “I am very pleased to announce that we will soon select an international team of VoluntEARS to participate in the very first global service project in the entire history of The Walt Disney Company.” The project involves 30 outstanding VoluntEARS from across the world gathering together as a service team and going to Ecuador for a week-long project to build a classroom.
Of the countless VoluntEARS company-wide who have done everything mentioned above and so much more, Iger had this to say: “I’m inspired by our VoluntEARS, by their commitment to service and their determination to make a difference.” As he said, this is only the beginning of the small efforts that will make a combined impact far beyond what any single one could achieve alone.