Health and Wellness: Afya Mar12

Health and Wellness: Afya

Imagine that you are a skilled physician. You’ve taken a month off work to volunteer at a clinic in Tanzania. Upon arrival to the clinic, you immediately encounter families in need of medical care: inflections, malaria, injuries and deadly viruses. You expect that the clinic staff will point you towards the supplies that you need to begin working, but there are no supplies. The shelves are empty. Nothing. You have the skills to help but without supplies, you feel powerless. Danielle Butin encountered one such physician on her trip several years ago. She found the physician crying in a tent, frustrated at the situation and sad for the suffering that she could not alleviate. Butin sat with the physician, one arm draped across the crying woman’s shoulders. Skilled practitioners need supplies to do their best work. The concept for Afya began to brew Butin’s mind. From New York to the Serengeti At the time, Butin was an executive with a Fortune 500 company. When her work with the health care corporation was complete, she found herself at the threshold of a new frontier. The physician’s story proved unshakeable, and Butin began researching ways that she could help. She knew there was a regulation-driven surplus of medical supplies in hospital basements and storage rooms. It was standard practice for unused medical supplies to end up in landfills. How could so much waste continue when there is such need for supplies all over the world? Butin planned how she could intercept those unused supplies before they made it to the dump. She could then divert the resources to places like Tanzania. Butin cold called hospitals to learn about their discarded materials. Bewildered hospital staff guided her through storage areas to see possible donations. Butin readily accepted whatever was available, though she had no way of storing the materials or transporting them to their ultimate destinations at the time. At one point, a semi-trailer of supplies sat in front of her home for weeks. In 2007, Afya (which means “health” or “wellness” in Swahili) took shape. Butin secured storage for donated goods and coordinated logistics. She established relationships with medical centers in New York where she could receive a more consistent source of discarded supplies. The work continues to grow and change lives around the world. Saving seniors in Puerto Rico  Afya currently operates in 83 countries. The nonprofit has diverted $36 million-worth of supplies from the greater New York waste streams into the hands of clinicians and volunteers who use the resources to save lives. Though no longer in the for-profit sector, Butin has transferred several of her corporate values into her work. “I’ve learned to be accountable and hold others accountable. In nonprofits, there tends to be a much looser structure. Accountability is, in many cases, not a clearly defined construct. As the leader for a nonprofit, our accountability is vitally important,” says Butin. She adds, “My previous work also taught me the importance of truth-telling. A vital piece is being honest about experiences, being honest with partners and donors. They appreciate transparency, even when it’s not the best news.” Unlike a large, for-profit corporation, the non-profit sector has afforded Butin a considerable amount of agility. Her organization has been able to quickly respond to disasters without weaving through red tape and extensive protocols. That agility enabled Afya to work extensively in Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria and the first earthquake to hit the island in January 2020. “After Hurricane Maria in 2017, we did an enormous amount of relief work in Puerto Rico,” says Butin. “We partnered with Acción Social. We love them. So when the earth started shaking there this year, we went back to figure out how we can be helpful. We began our work with seniors.” The Afya team arrived to Puerto Rico to find seniors sleeping in the streets and under bushes. Though the...

My Furniture Bank Canada Mar03

My Furniture Bank Canada...

S.W. was happy to move her family into a new Ontario apartment. Within a few nights, however, she noticed red sores on her children followed by sickness. “The new building had bed bugs,” she sighed. “We all got sick. The landlord fumigated, but we had to throw out all of our furniture. It took me years to collect all that furniture and it was gone in one shot.” Fortunately,  My Furniture Bank had beds available. My Furniture Bank, formerly known as Mississauga Furniture Bank, provides emergency and transitional relief furniture for families. The nonprofit recycles new and gently used home furnishes and distributes them to people in need. Recipients include those transitioning from homelessness, emancipated youth, refugees, impoverished families, seniors, individuals escaping domestic violence, the medically disabled, as well as people who have lost their possessions due to natural disaster and personal tragedy. “Because of My Furniture Bank, I was lucky to get beds for my family quickly!” S.W. says. Family, furniture + history This year marks the 10th anniversary of My Furniture Bank. Kathryn Palangio, executive director, has been with the nonprofit for nine of its ten-year history. She is excited to guide the organization into a future of expanded services for happier, healthier communities. She says, “I was personally inspired by my Dad who has spent the better part of his life repairing and refurbishing home furniture for those who could not.  He would never let a good piece of furniture be sent to the landfill if it could be revitalized.  Once he had it looking great, he would then find it a home working through the St. Vincent de Paul Society and his church.” Palangio continues, “Years ago, when I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, I found myself drawn to...

Giving Back in Toronto Feb09

Giving Back in Toronto

Employees from Yardi Canada’s Toronto office recently gave their time to spent a weekend day creating winter survival kits for regional non-profits. The Project Winter Survival kit assembly and donation day is organized by Engage and Change, a charity created to foster good citizenship and encourage healthy communities through giving back. This year, over 3,000 winter survival kits were distributed to over 240 front-line social service agencies and shelters in the greater Toronto area, including the Salvation Army, Street Health, Margaret’s, Covenant House, Out of the Cold and many more. “As it was my first event in Canada to help the people in need for basic and hygiene supplies, it was definitely a memorable and pleasant experience for me,” said Bharti Shisode, senior technical analyst in the Toronto office. “We turned the task into a fun competition between two teams to get the most kits completed.” “This event is a reminder to be grateful for everything we have in our lives,” said Susan Diano, CSD team lead in the Toronto office.  “For the second year in a row there was a snowstorm on the day of the event, and I don’t think that is a coincidence.  This event reminds us that even if we are in a rough season of our life, that it could be much worse and at least we have a roof over our head and food on our table.” “This was an amazing and great experience to be a part of Project Winter Survival. For me, the most rewarding part was the sense of satisfaction in making a valuable and positive contribution to the community that we live in,” said Karthik Attavar, associate technical account manager in the Toronto office. “The very fact that we had a snowstorm on the day of the event shows how harsh a cold weather can be if you are on the streets and how difficult it is to survive out there without the basic necessities of life. The kits included items like hygiene supplies, warm dry socks, hats, scarves, gloves, sleeping bags, hand warmers, bottled water, towels and snacks. There are over 9,200 people in Toronto who are homeless on any given night, affording to fredvictor.org Yardi is Energized for good. Read more about our employee volunteerism and corporate social responsibility efforts on our Giving page....

Aid for Australia as Fires Continue Jan30

Aid for Australia as Fires Continue

As Australia continues to fight and recover from the worst fire season the country has ever seen, Yardi has donated to two important Australian organizations to support relief and recovery efforts. The California-based real estate technology leader, no stranger to the frequent wildfires that have taken place near its corporate headquarters, has offices in Sydney and Melbourne. “We’ve been shocked and saddened by the devastation caused to communities, wildlife and individuals that have lost their homes and lives in the fires in Australia,” said Neal Gemassmer, vice president of international for Yardi. “Supporting our communities, and those effected by disasters has been an important part of Yardi’s philosophy of giving back.” The company has made a $250,000 donation, split evenly between two critical agencies in New South Wales and Victoria. To date, the two coastal southeastern states have suffered 16 million acres of land burned, 2,500 homes lost and 33 fatalities. It is also estimated that hundreds of millions of wild animals have either perished or lost critical habitat. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is the largest volunteer firefighting organization in the world. Its volunteers provide fire and emergency services to approximately 95 percent of New South Wales (NSW). Over 2,000 volunteer brigades provide firefighting coverage for 108 local governments in NSW, and over than 1,000 firefighters are battling 60 ongoing fires. “The NSW RFS acknowledges the support of many kind organisations, big and small, as well as community groups, schools and individuals who have contributed to support the work of our volunteers across NSW,” the organization said in a statement. More information about ways to help the volunteer firefighters and fire victims is available on their website. The Victorian Country Fire Authority Bushfire Appeal is a government-administered fund that will distribute 100 percent of donations directly to those affected by the fires. The intent is to provide practical support as impacted Victorians begin to rebuild their lives. An Advisory Panel, chaired by former Victorian Deputy Premier Pat McNamara, will consider applications and recommend where funds will be distributed. Donations are tax deductible and can be made online. Fire and disaster relief has been a longstanding part of Yardi’s corporate philanthropic program. In recent years the company supported recovery efforts from the Thomas Fire in Southern California, the Fort McMurray wildfire in Canada, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The company also contributed to mobile disaster response command centers in its hometown of Santa Barbara. To learn more about all of the philanthropic efforts and employee volunteerism at Yardi offices around the world, check out the Giving...

Ray of Hope Jan27

Ray of Hope

Rick M. was starting to lose his eyesight. His optometrist missed the glaring signs of glaucoma. As a result, Rick was completely blind in one eye within two months of his appointment. The visual acuity in his other eye measures 20/60. The quick onset of the condition radically transformed his life. Rick, a university-educated and independent young man, was forced to quit his job at a major greeting card company. For several years, he was transferred between assisted care centers. He found The Lighthouse Supported Living 16 years ago. He has called it home ever since. No two clients at The Lighthouse are the same. Each person has a unique set of circumstances that have led to homelessness or poverty. To meet their singular needs, The Lighthouse offers a range of services to help clients obtain self-sufficiency whenever possible. About The Lighthouse The Lighthouse is more than an emergency shelter. It has evolved into a supported living and affordable housing provider that offers wellness services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Programming at The Lighthouse helps pursue achieve self-sufficiency, mental and physical health. Anna Pacik, fundraising and communications manager, was drawn to The Lighthouse because of its mission. “The mission of The Lighthouse is to take care of people holistically and help them to find a healthier, more positive path in life. I love this mission,” she explains. “The Lighthouse cares for people who are the hardest to keep safely housed.” These marginalized people may have mental health issues, intellectual and development disabilities, or “unseen disabilities” like FASD and head injuries. Clients also include trauma survivors who try to manage their pain with drugs and alcohol. Though each case is different, all are welcomed and treated with dignity. The non-profit organization aims to end...

Neuroscience in the Park Jan15

Neuroscience in the Park

The importance of childhood play has had anecdotal value for ages. In the 1960s, however, studies on rodents and brain development encouraged neuroscientists to formally explore the importance of play in childhood development. Their efforts have paved the way for programs like Start2Finish that improve childhood academic performance through physical activity. Acknowledging multi-dimensional complexity When it comes to academic success, literacy takes center stage. The ability to read improves academic performance in mathematics and other areas of study. But the benefits of education do not stop in the classroom. Multiple studies note the correlation between a nation’s literacy skills and the well-being of its inhabitants. Improving literacy depends on consistent exposure to literature. For Canada’s 1 million children living in poverty, exposure is inconsistent at best: limited access to libraries, few books at home, and single-parent households with tight resources are just a few contributing factors to childhood illiteracy. In public schools, governments fail to adequately and equally equip all school with resources. Teachers spend $143 million of their own money to buy reading materials for their students yet the gap remains. As a result, children living in poverty are about 4.5 times behind their peers in vocabulary development. The lack of literacy development then creates a snowball effect in other areas of study. A sedentary lifestyle adds to the complexity of children’s developmental hurdles. Children in low-income homes are twice as likely as children from middle class homes to live in a neighborhood where violence and drug-trafficking are everyday occurrences. Impoverished areas also have fewer parks. Neighborhood dangers and a lack of access to green spaces minimize youths’ exposure to natural environments and safe places to play. Low literacy and physical activity contribute to an under-stimulated hippocampus in children’s brains. Executive function, learning, and concentration are all adversely affected. Overcoming invisibility to promote change When playing for the Canadian Football League, Brian Warren would often participate in meet-and-greets with kids from area of complexity. The kids would watch a game, hear a few words of inspiration, receive an autographed ball, and then return home. Mr. Warren felt like it was not enough. He soon founded Start2Finish, a nonprofit organization that uses neuroscience techniques favored by athletic and business professionals to help children excel in school. Karen Pessoa-Warren, director of operations, explains the inspiration behind the organization. “Athletes get exclusive training in the connection between mind and body. Why couldn’t this work with the kid struggling in school and at home?” proposes Pessoa-Warren. “We find the kids are most vulnerable in the areas of executive control and focus, things athletes are trained in. We’ve married these very unlikely concepts, to stimulate the hippocampus with books and physical activity. A snowball effect then happens. Not only are they reading better, which even helps with math, but they’re better able to multi-task, stay focused, and manipulate thought.” Though the research was in place, it would take a change of perspective for the organization to succeed throughout the country. The Warrens first endeavoured to shine light on local childhood poverty, a topic that went largely unrecognized. “In Canada, people don’t think we have childhood poverty,” reflects Pessoa-Warren. “We don’t have an index for poverty, but one out of five kids live at or below the poverty line. We needed to let people know that poverty exists.” Secondly, they found themselves battling the notion that poverty and poor academic performance were character flaws rather than systemic problems. She adds, “We have a strong social net here, but kids still fall through. Without understanding of the data or the complexity surrounding their lives, people thought those who struggled in school weren’t bright or that it was a family issue.” Public education continues to be a part of the work at Start2Finish. Read, play, excel Children living in areas of complexity are facing an uphill battle. The team at Start2Finish has developed a creative plan...

Making History

Dorothy Day Place, owned and operated by Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has made history. With 370 permanent supportive homes and 356 emergency and medical respite beds, it’s one of the largest affordable housing projects in the state. The project is also the largest public-private partnership involving housing in Minnesota history. Dorothy Day Place was made possible in part by a philanthropic collaboration between Catholic Charities and Yardi client, Dominium. New Phase, New Chapter in History Dorothy Day Place wasn’t planned as a record-breaking collaboration. With the first phase complete, Catholic Charities turned its attention to phase two in 2017. Leadership recognized that the ambitious second phase would benefit from the insight and expertise of an experienced developer. Catholic Charities contacted Dominium, one of the country’s largest affordable housing developers and a fellow Minnesota-based organization. The response of Paul Sween, managing partner of Dominium, took Catholic Charities by surprise. Sween offered to develop the second phase of Dorothy Day Place free of charge. Perhaps to Sween’s surprise, the initial request came from the bank. “We instinctively said ‘yes’ to helping with the project when our partner U.S. Bank asked us to do so simply because we knew how important it was to them,” Sween explained in an interview with Housing Finance. “We know the great work of Catholic Charities and how critical the transformation of the property would be to their mission.” Dorothy Day Place broadens the scope of Dominium’s work. Historically, the firm develops and manages affordable housing for people who earn at or below 60 percent of the area median income. The Dorothy Day Place project serves residents with incomes below 30 percent of the area median income. Jeff Huggett, vice president and project partner at Dominium explains, “Every unit...

Baked Goodness

You ever get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you do something good for someone else? It’s not that dissimilar to the first bite of your favorite dessert made by a loved one. Both are rich with compassion, joy, and the warmth of the holidays. Yardi Atlanta introduced its first annual Bake Off, a baking competition that honors the spirit of holiday giving. It has set the tone to be a favorite for years to come. Creating The Bake Off Yardi Atlanta’s first annual Bake Off was bittersweet. In the past, the office hosted a potluck for Thanksgiving. Yardi corporate provided the ham and turkey and all additional sides and desserts were made by employees. It was a fun and much anticipated event. Yet as the Yardi Atlanta team grew, volunteer coordination of the potluck became less feasible. A fantastic local caterer saved the day. Yet devoted bakers—as well as devoted eaters of homemade goodies—sought a creative way to continue the tradition. “The Bake Off now serves three purposes,” explains volunteer coordinator Kelsey Aslani, technical account manager, consulting practices at Yardi. “The Bake Off was formed because so many of the employees here really enjoy making food to share. This helps maintain the sense of community that Thanksgiving at Yardi has always garnered. Secondly, we were able to maintain a focus on corporate social responsibility by supporting local nonprofits.” With a smile, she adds, “Lastly, everyone loves a good competition.” Baking for Good: North Fulton Community Charities Proceeds from The Bake Off benefit North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) and Atlanta Food Bank. Yardi contributes ongoing support to NFCC , a local nonprofit that serves more than 4,000 people. Families turn to NFCC for emergency aid and enrichment programs. Through the organization, they access resources to promote...

Healthy Competition Nov26

Healthy Competition

The 6th Annual End Hunger Games is now underway! Foodbank of Santa Barbara County warmly welcomes you to mercilessly crush our competition. Only one organization will receive the Golden Turkey—will it be Yardi? Yardi SB is Up for the Challenge The End Hunger Games is a creative winter campaign that adds a competitive edge to fundraising. Local organizations are encouraged to out-donate one another in three categories: Pounds of Food Nonperishable items are essential but there is also need for fresh produce Funds Raised Monetary donations are allocated to programs with the highest need Volunteer Hours Help to collect, sort, distribute and more! Volunteers are the backbone of the foodbank The most generous organization will win the coveted Golden Turkey and receive bragging rights as Santa Barbara’s fiercest giver. Yardi Santa Barbara has participated in every End Hunger Games competition since the competition started six years ago. Several times, Yardi has emerged as the victor! Yardi team members are encouraged to show their support for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Yardi employees can click here for details on how to accrue points. Increasing Need for Food in Santa Barbara County Natural disasters, the closure of other foodbanks, and economic hardship have increased the need for supplemental food services in Santa Barbara County. The foodbank has opened three new locations to meet the growing demand. The newest location recently opened at St. George Community Church at 1032 E. Mason Street. This distribution center will serve the lower east side and west side of the county. The St. George location opened shortly after the Westside Neighborhood Center and Catholic Charities sites. (Foodbank SB distribution occurs in conjunction with regularly scheduled Catholic Charities distributions.) Within the first week of opening the new locations, the Foodbank served more than...

Community Matters

Yardi Vancouver cherishes its sense of community. Employees participate in philanthropic outreach that benefits members of the local neighborhood, from the smallest pets to neighbours in their hours of need. Each year, Yardi Vancouver selects recipients for grants and group volunteer opportunities. Employees nominate non-profits that are effective, passionate, and engaging. This year, the four grant recipients include: British Columbia and Alberta Guide Dogs Want to know why Yardi Vancouver supported BC & Alberta Guide Dogs? Meeting Spoof may give you an idea. The playful and determined black lab puppy is working towards becoming a guide dog, autism support dog, or PTSD service dog. He demonstrates the discipline and compassion needed to fulfil his role in Guide Dog’s mission: to change the lives of the blind or visually impaired, individuals with autism, and military and RCMP Veterans. In addition to navigation support, Guide Dogs offer emotional support. With their assistance, people feel more comfortable and confident venturing out into their communities, making new friends, and living their lives to the fullest. “Important lesson: People with service dogs are just trying to get about their day. If you really want to greet the dog, greet the person first. Otherwise, you might just wind up getting patted on the head when the person wonders what their dog is up to,” smiles Edward Glen, General Manager, Yardi Vancouver. Aprons for Gloves Few would see the immediate connection between teenagers, boxing, food services and health care. But for Aprons for Gloves, it all works together. Aprons for Gloves Boxing Association is a non-profit organization focused on providing community outreach through the sport of boxing. Many participants are at-risk women, teens, and youth. They receive free mentorship, training, meals, social and health service. Yardi Vancouver visited a local gym...

Season of Warmth Nov03

Season of Warmth

The year’s end brings lower temperatures and cloudier skies. It’s the perfect time of year to cozy up under blankets or enjoy the warmth of a crackling fire. Not all families are so fortunate. Yet through acts of compassion, residents of north Metro Atlanta who are facing dire straits can stay warm this season. NFCC Coat Drive To support neighbors in need, Yardi Atlanta embarked on a mission to contribute new and gently used outerwear to North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC). For one month, employees shopped and Marie-Kondo’d their homes in search of warm gear. They brought their findings to work with them. Collection boxes throughout the office steadily filled with attire. Volunteers Lyndsay Griffin, Shela Johnson, Kayla Roth, and Marilyn Duffield helped to keep things organized. This week, organizers announced that the 2019 Yardi Atlanta Coat Drive was a success! Team members were able to deliver 120 coats to NFCC in addition to jackets, scarves, and gloves. Last year, NFCC was privileged to distribute approximately 1,400 winter coats, making Yardi’s donation about 10 percent of the nonprofit’s annual contribution. “These coats are hand delivered to the homeless and to our most in-need community members,” reports Marilyn Duffield, Residential Project Manager, Residential Client Services at Yardi. “We made a difference, and it was not trivial! I love this company!” Emergency Aid in North Fulton Each year, NFCC serves more than 4,000 families amongst North Fulton’s growing population of economically marginalized families. The nonprofit operates in cities north of Atlanta proper including Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, and Roswell. In these cities, the average wage needed to pay for a two-bedroom apartment is more than $21 per hour. The minimum wage is only $7.25. Through emergency aid and enrichment programs, NFCC builds self-sufficiency and prevents...

Serving Seniors

No one said growing old was easy. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. There’s a wealth of aging agencies and community-based organizations ready to help. In Santa Barbara, many of these local services come together every year for the Senior Expo, which provides a central location for seniors and their caregivers to find educational information, fitness activities, health care and more. This year’s fair took place in early October, and nearly 1,000 attendees and 125 vendors packed the showgrounds. The Senior Expo, now in its third decade, is hosted by the long-running Family Service Agency (FSA). Established over 100 years ago, FSA has continuously been one of Santa Barbara County’s most effective nonprofit organizations for families and individuals of all ages and diversities. They routinely provide food, shelter and other basic needs, as well as mentoring, case management and mental health programs, to create and preserve a healthy community. Yardi returned to the Senior Expo of Santa Barbara once again this year to give back. Nearly 20 employees from the Santa Barbara and Oxnard offices volunteered their time for the full event. “The seniors in our community love this event,” said Lyn Shirvanian, coordinator for the Senior Expo as well as FSA’s mental health awareness training. “And it is due not only to all the services provided that day, but all the young people that they interact with as they enjoy the festivities.” Serving the Santa Barbara senior community For such a big event, the Yardi volunteers split into teams to tackle setup, breakdown and everything in between. Groups arrived early for a quick on-site training before taking their posts. Some directed parking as guests arrived. Others unloaded cars and trucks for vendors, carting goods to their booths in the expo hall....

Paint the Town Pink

The AVE motto is live better, and the team there is truly committed to delivering the best living experience possible for their residents. Apartment floor plans are designed for comfort, amenities and services are programmed for convenience and wellness, and events and initiatives are offered for community engagement. Their latest campaign “AVE Goes Pink” partners up with Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® to support its mission to reduce the number of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses in the Philadelphia Area while continuing to provide education, resources, and access to services to those who are battling the disease. AVE Goes Pink “AVE Goes Pink” (link to www.aveliving.com/pink) launched October 1st to support Susan G. Komen Philadelphia®, a respected voice in breast cancer education. “We turned all our logos on our social media channels pink to raise awareness for the cause and to let those who are currently fighting breast cancer know our thoughts are with them,” says Lea Anne Welsh, COO of Korman Communities and president of its AVE brand. “Our teams at the properties will also be wearing pink throughout the month.” “Typically, we wear black or dark grey. When a resident sees me in pink, they ask and it starts up a conversation about breast cancer awareness,” says Lauren Brauer, Leasing Manager, AVE King of Prussia. She continues, “Breast cancer awareness really hits home for me. Having had family members and friends go through the struggles of breast cancer, I want to do all I can to support them, as well as all others who have gone through it and are currently battling it.” Lights for the Fight Much of the Philadelphia skyline is getting involved. Susan G. Komen Philadelphia® and CBS 3 manage “Lights for the Fight.” The duo coordinates with city landmarks to...

Power of Community Oct11

Power of Community

For over 30 years, Elsa Granados has worked diligently to help end sexual assault through advocacy and education. As the executive director of Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA), Granados aims to expand the reach of the organization to ensure that a wider population can receive life-saving services and support. New Name, Broader Reach Standing Together to End Sexual Assault formerly operated as the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. The organization opted for a rebranding as they encountered a growing number of community members who were unsure if they could receive help from the organization. “Some people weren’t sure if they could call our hotline because they weren’t in crisis,” explained Granados. “Also, the logo was also perceived as the silhouette of a woman, but we also have numerous boys, men, and members of the transgendered community that come forward. After several years of thinking of it, it was time for a change.” After a rigorous two-year polling process, the organization decided on the new name Standing Together to End Sexual Assault. The change has been well-received and staff members are already beginning to see results. Callers are more confident that they’ve contacted the right place when they need assistance or information. Moving Forward as a Community STESA aims to end sexual violence by addressing stereotypes and myths offering preventative education programs supporting survivors of sexual assault Common myths can actually make people more vulnerable to assault. “There is this myth, for example, that black men target white women. That’s not true. Assaults tend to occur in the same racial group,” said Granados. There are also misconceptions on the role of attire and alcohol. “Attire doesn’t matter at all. Yes, alcohol and drugs are involved in a significant amount of assaults. But perpetrators...

Safety and Support Oct08

Safety and Support

Nearly one in four women and one in seven men have experienced a violent or abusive relationship. It’s a stunning statistic, but despite the prevalence of domestic violence, the issue doesn’t get the attention and action it deserves. October is National Domestic Violence Month, and organizations across the country, Yardi included, are rededicating themselves to breaking the cycle of violence and raising awareness for the cause. In our Boise office, the team has taken a stand for local nonprofits who serve victims of abuse in their community. Every year, our offices select hundreds of nonprofits to support. The Boise team chose to partner with the Women and Children’s Alliance and Faces of Hope. In addition to sponsorships, employees have participated in tours, donated goods and volunteered their time. Women and Children’s Alliance Originally founded more than 100 years ago, the Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) endeavors to build a community where individuals can thrive in safe, healthy relationships. Its crisis program offers plenty of services to women, men and their children who are healing from abuse, including 24-hour hotlines, shelter space, therapy and education. WCA staff recently visited our Boise office to host a “tour in a box,” where they gave a presentation on their mission and provided a virtual tour of their facility. Each employee left with a better understanding of domestic violence and the work WCA does for the community. In honor of National Domestic Violence Month, the Boise team also spent time putting together purple ribbons for WCA at a corporate event. While its origins are unclear, the purple ribbon has grown into a symbol of courage, survival and dedication to ending violence. The WCA will use the ribbons to help raise awareness during the month. Employees in Boise plan to...

The Drive to Succeed Sep25

The Drive to Succeed

Strong communities stick together to ensure that each member can thrive. Yardi Atlanta has forged an ongoing relationship with Mimosa Elementary School to help even the littlest community members become their best selves. Beating the Odds Mimosa Elementary School is a Title 1 school with about 800 students. As a school within an Economic Opportunity Zone, participating families often have incomes below the poverty line. As a result, approximately 95 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch rates. Economic difficulty has not stopped the community’s passion for quality education. The academic growth of Mimosa’s students is higher than 74 percent of schools in the state and higher than its district. About 34 percent of its third grade students read at or above the grade level target, an important milestone for youth. Mimosa Elementary School is Beating the Odds, meaning that it performs better than similar Title 1 schools. Yardi Atlanta Loves Friendly Competition The Roswell, Georgia community bands together to help Mimosa students prepare for class. Each year, Yardi team members collect the supplies that local kids need for confidence and success in school. Christie Daniel, Keiya Huguley, Shawn Walker, and Terence Walker of the Yardi Atlanta School Supply Drive Committee organized this year’s event. To tap into employees’ sense of friendly competition, organizers turn the supply drive into a game. Teams were challenged to be: the first to collect all the items on the school’s wish list. Winners received lunch on the house! the team that gathered more donations than all other teams. Winners receive an ice cream party! The first team to collect all items on the school supply list was the Classic and Genesis 2 team. The team to collect the most items was the Affordable Programming team. Congratulations to both hardworking and...

Yardi Dubai Sep18

Yardi Dubai

Yardi’s Dubai office has adopted a classroom at Al Noor Training Centre for children with special needs as a way of giving back to the community. Philanthropic and volunteer efforts are a key aspect of Yardi’s corporate mission in communities around the world. Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs is a non-profit organization. Established in 1981, Al Noor has been providing high quality of professional training to the special needs community in Dubai for over 30 years. Al Noor provides care and professional training to approximately 250 children from 35 different nationalities. The centre offers an exceptionally effective work placement unit that trains its students with a capability for employment, which helps the students join mainstream society after their training is complete. Yardi’s Dubai office will sponsor a classroom and contribute towards Al Noor Assistive Technology Department. This department allows the centre to provide holistic training through a range of professional disciplines. It makes use of assistive technology devices that help students play musical instruments, operate a computer, splash paint on canvas, design garments, switch on a kettle, handle a sandwich maker and even play video games. “We are delighted to work with Al Noor Center to acknowledge the efforts of the volunteers who help run the centre. We are proud to be a part of this great opportunity to support the community and look forward to contributing to next year’s event,” said Neal Gemassmer, vice president, international for Yardi. A team of 20 employees from Yardi Dubai office gave their own time on their recent visit to volunteer at the Al Noor Training Centre. It was a rewarding experience for all who participated. “Our team determined that we wanted to directly impact the life of these talented children and give...

Justice for All Sep10

Justice for All

When Jennifer Smith began working as a staff attorney with Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County (LAFSBC), it was a natural step. As the daughter of a social worker and an attorney, she always wanted to be involved with nonprofits and community service. Fast forward seven years, and Smith is now the executive director of the organization. She and her team work to correct local myths about legal aid while providing services to the community. Battling the Myths “There is a certain perception here,” Jennifer begins tentatively. “Yes, some residents are very wealthy. But Santa Barbara County has the second highest rate of poverty in the state when factoring in the cost of living. Because of that, it makes it difficult for individuals to get the help that they need when facing a legal situation.” “If you’re dealing with child custody matters with an abuser, or in need of a restraining order, there is no guaranteed right to an attorney in those processes. While the situations are critical, legal representation isn’t guaranteed. That’s why we step in and help. There is a huge justice gap. People can’t afford an attorney that is $500 per hour,” she explains. LAFSBC also offers a consumer protection program. If there is a financial scam of $10,000 or less, law enforcement often does not have the resources to get involved. For many Santa Barbara County residents, a $10,000 loss is the difference between safe housing and food security – or going without. “Our legal system presumes that both parties will be represented by an advocate. Legal issues are complicated for everyone. If you can’t get representation, you can imagine just how much more difficult it would be,” says Smith. LAFSBC also partners with the Santa Barbara Superior Court...

Access, Equity

If you see the picture on the right and think “wheelchair ramps,” you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It’s also a stroller ramp, an aid for people with chronic joint pain, a ramp for tiny kids with tiny legs, and a blessing for CrossFitters on leg day. In short, all sorts of people appreciate a gradual transition between spaces. Toronto-based StopGap helps businesses and organizations make such transitions possible at low or no cost while broadening the conversations on access and equity. 1 or 1,000 Steps, Same Problem  Although Luke Anderson is an engineer, he had never paid much attention to the multitudinous businesses, places of worship, and public structures that used stairs to transition between spaces. Once Anderson began using a wheelchair daily, he noticed just how many buildings failed to offer barrier-free access to visitors and occupants. While such access is essential for wheelchair users, others would benefit from barrier-free entry as well. The “curb cut affect” defines that when something is made easier for one population, it often helps members of other populations. Ramps for wheelchair users would also benefit delivery persons, the elderly, and others who are hindered by stairs. Anderson, along with his friend and coworker Michael Hopkins, began to plan a way to bridge the gap between accessibility and the costs needed to improve accessibility. Addressing the Gap  Anderson is now the executive director and co-founder of StopGap, which aims to break down barriers one step at a time. StopGap Foundation works to create a world where every person can access every space. As a result, the non-profit is creating a world where everyone can live a life of independence, spontaneity, and ultimate fulfillment. But the organization didn’t begin with such grandiose plans. “I thought it...

Developing Leaders

For most kids, growing up is riddled with lessons in how to be a good follower. Follow the rules at home. Follow directions at school. Follow the norms of the community in which we live. Youth leadership, however, is widely accepted as a means of instilling responsibility, positive self-image and motivation in kids. Youth Empowering Parents reverses the mentorship dynamic to help kids uncover the leader within. Yardi caught up with Agazi Afewerki, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit, to learn more about its successful and innovative programs. Millennial Style Agazi co-founded Youth Empowering Parents with his friend in classic . They saw two needs in their Regent Park, Toronto community: adults without access to professional development resources and kids without access to meaningful leadership opportunities. They looked around for support, but they didn’t find what they needed. They then proceeded to spearhead  the nonprofit themselves. Learning along the way would be part of the business plan. “It’s how I and a lot of other kids grew up,” says Agazi. “We helped our parents learn. It’s a natural dynamic. So we figured why not put that in a classroom setting? It’s a leadership opportunity for young people and a high quality education for adults and seniors.” With only 11 days of business development behind them, they launched their first class. Its success surprised (almost) everyone. Solving Multiple Problems with One Program On the surface, Youth Empowering Parents fills the gap between adults and the skills needed to thrive in a new world. Many adult participants are first generation immigrants that struggle to transfer their existing knowledge into a country with a new language and rapidly changing technologies. But that’s only one layer of the problems that the nonprofit addresses. Youth Empowering Parents provides personal...