It is PCA SKIN®’s mission to improve lives. This task is not only followed through in the products PCA develops or the professionals the company trains, but through the charitable giving PCA SKIN takes part in annually.
According to Ian Dunlap, PCA’s human resources manager, “The PCA team was asked which organizations they had an interest in partnering with for our annual Day of Service. There is no doubt that given the survey results PCA has a passion for helping women, children and animals. We have partnered with the HALO Animal Rescue, Hunkapi Horse Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Sojourner Center in the past, and our team wanted to continue fostering those relationships this year. This is not only a great opportunity to help our community, it is also a time for our team to bond outside of the workplace.”
This year, this skin care enterprise once again partnered up with four charities in the Phoenix, Arizona, area to give back:
- HALO Animal Rescue: HALO Animal Rescue is a safety net for thousands of homeless dogs and cats each year. HALO is an acronym that stands for Helping Animals Live On. They are a no-kill facility, which means they never euthanize an animal because they’ve run out of room, but it also means they are limited in the animals they can take in at any given time. Their specialty is to provide a refuge to those pets who might otherwise be destroyed at other Valley shelters for reasons such as a treatable injury, illness, or those who are too scared or too young to go up for adoption at their time of arrival.
- Hunkapi Horse Program: In 1996 Debbie Crews, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at Arizona State University, began researching the effect of sport on the Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic populations. For three years she incorporated kids in eight-week athletic programs including basketball, weight lifting, running, archery and horseback riding. Dr. Crews compared all the sports and horseback riding proved to be the most positive intervention. She believed that everyone could benefit from interaction with horses. This sparked the development of the outreach horse program at ASU called Hunkapi. After 10 years with the university, Hunkapi is now an independent, non-profit program that continues to serve clients all over the Valley.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities: Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix is truly “the House that Love Built.” Since 1985 families that have traveled to the Phoenix area from all over Arizona, and throughout the world, to receive medical care for their children have found a “home away from home” at the Ronald McDonald House.
- Sojourner Center: Since 1977, Sojourner Center has provided shelter and support services to thousands of individuals affected by domestic violence. Through empowerment, families discover hope and have the opportunity to build a new future free from violence. As the nation’s largest domestic violence shelter, Sojourner Center is a tireless advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors.
PCA SKIN employees were able to choose any of the aforementioned charities to volunteer with for a day.
Among those who chose to spend time cleaning and playing with the animals at the HALO Animal Rescue were PCA SKIN Project Coordinator Dian Thalman, Operations Support Specialist Jamie Workman and Print Shop Specialist Duane Whittle.
“What an incredible experience!” Thalman said. “HALO Animal Rescue was opened in 1994 and they rescue dogs off the euthanasia list at the humane shelters in the Valley. All of the staff and volunteers are passionate and it shows through their dedication, love and care for each animal, and they welcomed us with open arms as well!”
Workman added: “The day at HALO was amazing… The staff and volunteers know each animal by name and personality, and are completely dedicated to ensuring the animals are brought back to health and taught to trust people… It’s impossible to go there and not fall for the dogs and cats, as well as the organization.”
A second trip to HALO was made by Austin Buck (Distribution Specialist) and Melina Morales (Physician Consultant), who cleaned kennels, took several dogs on walks and played with the animals for several hours.
“Their foundation is really quite amazing,” Morales said. “They are so passionate and dedicated to treating these animals and finding a happy home for them. It’s great to see people out there that care.”
Employees who spent a day with the Hunkapi Horse Program prepared the horses for their participation in the Special Olympics. Communications Manager Alison Walkley, Physician Consultant Emily Rowan, Certification Specialist Kandida Baker and Distribution Specialist Janina Shields washed horses, cleaned saddles and bridal, and even shaved some of the animals so they would look their best in competition.
“It was both a joy and a privilege to groom the horses in preparation for their Special Olympics event. Getting to interact with the horses on an individual basis was a special treat… The horses are definitely unique and a gift to the children who have the honor of spending time with them. Giving the horses showers with the warm sun hitting all of us was refreshing! I would spend time at Hunkapi anytime,” Baker said.
A second trip to Hunkapi was made by Beatrice Zarco (Practice Development Consultant), Ashley Smith (Physician Consultant) and Lacey West (Editorial Liaison), who were trained on how to groom the horses, as well as how to handle the animals with the children who took therapeutic lessons during their time of service.
“The facility is great and the trainers were so nice,” Smith said. “It’s a great opportunity and partnership.”
Those who took part in raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House paired up with the Phoenix West Rotary Club, helping with the live auction at their annual Beach Party. PCA SKIN CEO Richard Linder, Practice Development Group (PDG) member Abby Boswell and PDG Manager Andi Melnuk assembled auction baskets for presentation; labeled items; and prepared bid sheets, description sheets and guest bidder cards.
“The Ronald McDonald House is an example of how small acts of kindness have enormous impact on the world,” Linder said. “What we experienced was a well-run facility touching thousands of patients and their families each year through combing the acts of kindness of caring volunteers, and the caring donations of companies and individuals. Ronald McDonald House is a true respite for families. I left knowing that PCA will do more to support them.”
Boswell added: “Not knowing what to expect from my visit, I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the community in helping these families of sick children… I’ve done other volunteer opportunities in the past, but this was, by far, the most rewarding. I’m honored to work for a company that is willing to help in the community!”
Melnuk said, “Knowing that the Ronald McDonald house is there, with people who really care, is comforting. The small amount of work that we did at the Ronald McDonald house felt like a drop in the bucket of support that we could have provided. I am looking forward to doing more in the future and continuing our support of their mission.”
A second group of volunteers including Dunlap, Zarco, Johnny So (former Web Developer), Cathy Parker (Purchasing Manager) and Ashley Rolinger (Education Support Specialist) spent time volunteering at the Ronald McDonald Cambridge House through the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. They spent an evening helping to prepare a dinner for 16 families and provided all 16 children with PCA SKIN Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45, along with a note wishing them a speedy recovery and hopes that they would be able to return home soon.
Zarco commented: “My Ronald McDonald House experience was amazing! I am thankful and grateful for my growth and for helping others. I am extremely thankful to PCA SKIN for helping change my life and helping me change the lives of others. I am honored to work with such a great team and such a wonderful company.”
Rolinger said, “It was an absolute honor being able to serve at the Ronald McDonald House! I was completely humbled as my small part in serving allowed them to have a home-cooked meal. Again, it was such a joy to be part of giving back to the community and helping to improve these individuals’ lives (even if it was in a small way).”
Tana Holcomb (Education Support Specialist), Sheresa Rogers (Distribution Specialist) and Veronica King (Distribution Center Administrator) volunteered for the Sojourner Center and spent a day helping women with their cleaning chores around the shelter.
“We love what they’re about and what they’re doing,” King said of Sojourner.
A second group consisting of Laurie Penn-Moyer (Marketing Director), Jamie Justesen (Physician Consultant), Whitney Fry (Physician Consultant) and Travis Halsall (Shipping/Receiving Specialist) spent time at the Sojourner Donation Center processing a large donation of fabrics for the Center to use for sewing classes.
“My experience at the Sojourner Center was great!” Fry exclaimed. “Although we did not work directly with the women and children of the Center, I still felt like we made a big difference… Workers at the Center continually thanked us for our time and seemed genuinely happy to have us there. I think it’s so great we work for a company that allows us to have this opportunity.”
Justesen added: “The history of the Sojourner Center is truly inspiring. From what I understood, they started with a small domestic home and have now expanded to accommodate nearly 300 survivors at a time, with the addition of offsite apartment housing. The revival that they are able to breathe into these strong women’s lives is both admirable and remarkable… I could say so much more, but simply I am grateful for what they do for these women and for having been a small part of it all.”
“It was a rewarding experience to spend the day helping women who are in need of support for themselves and their children,” Penn-Moyer said. “We learned more about the organization’s mission and the variety of services they offer to help women and children break the cycle of domestic violence.”
Additionally, Rowan and Zarco embodied the spirit of the company by independently spending time with teenage moms at the Young Lives Benefit Tea through the Young Life Christian organization in early April. Fellow Young Lives volunteer/mentor and former PCA SKIN employee Laurie Webb said, “Emily and Bea joined us early Sunday morning and hung out with eight teen moms for the afternoon. They got them ready for our fashion show, talked with them about life and just generally made a huge impression on our girls. Emily told me as she left that she may even be doing makeup for one of the girls for her prom, how cool is that?”
Rowan commented: “It amazed me how at such a young age how brave they had to be… The tea itself allowed us to all see how Young Lives has changed these young ladies’ futures. They shared videos, pictures and some came on stage to share their personal stories. Laurie spoke about her role as a mentor and how it has affected her life in a positive light, as well. It was very uplifting to see so many people come together for a great cause. I will definitely be helping out next year!”
Dunlap said, “As a company, we really do have a passion for improving people’s lives, whether it be our customers, internal team or our community. I feel we really do live our mission of improving lives every day.”