June 26, 2013 // 1:42 PM

Far Rockaway Trip

Written by Scott Miller

Tuesday June 18th, 2013 at 4:00 a.m. a seven passenger club van left Garden Spot Village for a 3 ½ hour trip to Far Rockaway, New York (watch the video below).

Far Rockaway was hit hard during hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. Garden Spot Village has been sending teams of 7 to Far Rockaway since April to help rebuild homes damaged in the storm. The teams have included residents, future residents, supporting church teams, community members and staff. The entire effort is underwritten by the Community Church at Garden Spot Village.

I was part of this expedition which included 5 staff, a high school senior and an international exchange student. The interesting thing about this group is that 4 of the 7 of us were from Columbia. Two of the women on the team were from Columbia, one of their daughters was along and the international exchange student was from Columbia.

One of the things that is really cool about this story is that Garden Spot Village provides us (employees) with the opportunity to go into the community and serve during what would be “normal” working hours, and not just “managers” or “leaders” but each and every staff member. We need to use our PTO (Paid Time Off) but, and this is even cooler, Garden Spot Village contributes ½ the PTO for sponsored mission trips! We can take a day off work to go and serve but instead of using 8 hours of PTO we only have to use 4 hours. I think that is tremendous!!

The idea to do 1-day “mission” trips originated with Garden Spot Village comments from residents. Residents wanted to serve natural disaster victims locally. Garden Spot Village has an environment that not only enabled the idea it expanded it by making it openly available to Garden Spot Village team members.

In a world where “nose to the grindstone” is the norm, where 3 jobs are consolidated into 1 and organizations are demanding that employees do more with less it’s an amazing blessing to serve at a thriving non-profit where the common good is held in high regard.

One short story of the day . . . while we were tearing up floors and painting a young man stopped by looking for work. Since we were volunteering and he was trying to feed his family he moved on. We noticed he got work about 3 houses down the street. Late in the day after he finished we started talking to him as he was walking by our house. Lunches had been packed for us and we had an extra. One of our group asked, “hey, would you like a lunch?” and he happily accepted. How awesome is that!?

When we all look out for each other it just makes this world a better place! Common wisdom says :”there is no such thing as a free lunch.” When we work together for the common good, truly free lunches have a tendency to show up and make someone’s day.

Chief Marketing Officer