For our location in Cornwall, Ontario, caring for the community they serve has taken on special meaning. The team not only works together to transport students to and from school safely, but to also make a real difference in the lives of children. Since 2009, the location has raised more than $350,000 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). “We believe you cannot really serve a community unless you are part of it,” says Location Manager Lorraine Hollis.
Fundraising efforts for CMN began small in Cornwall. A driver collected cans to recycle and donated the money to the non-profit organization. From there, the Cornwall team began to coordinate a number of annual events, including a very popular “Survivor Bus Weekend.” Employees volunteer to spend a weekend living on a school bus to raise money for CMN. “I am so proud of my team,” says Lorraine. “Their dedication to the children of Ontario is truly amazing.” The money the Cornwall team has raised helps fund medical care, research and education at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Employees have seen firsthand the benefits of their efforts. They have made a point to visit with children who are receiving care at the Hospital.
Best of the Best
The Cornwall location, which consists of nearly 70 employees, plans at least five events each year to benefit CMN. Drivers Rodney Pilgrim, Heather Lefebvre, Valerie Mitschke and Helene Gilmore sacrifice a tremendous amount of their own time to organize fundraising activities. The location was recognized for its efforts with a Be First Award, which recognizes First Student employees or teams who have made significant contributions to the company. “We were truly honored to be among the best of the best,” says Lorraine. “We are pleased to help out such a worthwhile cause, and look forward to raising more money for CMN to benefit children where we live and work.” Because it was not feasible for the entire team to attend the Awards ceremony, the location held a special all-employee dinner to celebrate their impressive and inspiring achievement.
Feel the Warmth
This sense of community is also apparent inside the Cornwall location. They not only support the community they serve, but also each other. “Dignity and respect are the rules of our operation,” shared Lorraine. “We want everyone to feel the warmth when they are here. In order to be successful, we need to be collaborative and supportive of each other.” Drivers receive special thank you notes with their paychecks. Every team members’ work anniversary is acknowledged, whether it be big or small. The location recognizes that little things can make a big difference.
Doing it Right
Lorraine has been the Location Manager in Cornwall for ten years. She began her career as a school bus driver and still has her CDL. In a pinch, Lorraine has been known to drive a route. She also believes in “doing it right the first time.” This has become a location motto, and Lorraine says they “live and breathe it” in Cornwall. The proof is in the results. The location recently scored a 100% on a safety audit from a school board partner. Together, Lorraine and our team in Cornwall are working successfully to keep each other and their community prospering.