It’s amazing what can be accomplished when we open our Hearts, put aside our differences, and come together for a common goal.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, Southwest Employees, friends, and family did just that when they braved the frigid temperatures and joined together for a whole-community effort to bring positive change to the English Avenue neighborhood in Atlanta. Volunteers worked to enhance the campus grounds at the former English Avenue Elementary school by clearing litter, leaves and debris, installing and painting shade structures and benches, and planting shrubs. They also painted murals to hang in the windows of abandoned buildings throughout the neighborhood and built chess tables outside St. Mark’s Church.
This was just one volunteer event that took place in the past year as part of our year-long commitment to help build resilience within this Atlanta neighborhood as well as neighborhoods in Chicago and Phoenix.
The story of the day is best shared by those who put their Hearts in action.
“Having people of various ages, races, and backgrounds working together toward a common goal of servitude felt amazing. A beautiful symphony of brotherhood was on full display as we painted, planted, assembled, and served in harmony as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned. It was an honor to participate and represent Southwest Airlines and my local Georgia Center on that fine day.”
—Charles Mason, Georgia Center Customer Support & Services Team Leader
“After completing my portrait that will be used in the windows of abandoned homes in the area, I looked back and saw all the beautiful creations that everyone completed! It was heartwarming with all the positive quotes and expressions of love that will make someone’s day brighter and hopefully leave a lasting impact.”
—Adrienne Dore, ATL Customer Representative
“That morning, the outside temperature was cold, but the energy was increasing as more and more people came out. I really got a true sense of community as I met people from all parts of Atlanta and the surrounding counties. It seemed to me, the common theme was "What can I do to help?” I was asked this question often during the day. The work went by so quickly that I did not realize how much was accomplished. It really showed me that we can come together and achieve a common goal.”
—Ray McGuffie, Hands On Atlanta Volunteer Leader
“What meant the most to me about serving the English Avenue neighborhood was that it gave this community an opportunity to see beauty beyond the current conditions. An abandoned building or in this case a school, brings the morale down and gives a sense of hopelessness. But beautifying that same place completely redirects the emotions to hope and you are able to see that it’s not forgotten and neither are the people of that community.”
—Desiree Salley, ATL Flight Attendant
“We had at least three members of the homeless community join us on the day of service. One man came up and asked if he could have something to eat. After he grabbed a few items, he took off his backpack and joined in on the work. A few minutes later, another homeless man asked if we were hiring. I told him, this was all volunteer work but he could grab a snack if he wanted. He grabbed a couple items and left. About 15-20 minutes later, he returned and said it was on his heart to come back and volunteer.”
—Raquel Hudson, Hands On Atlanta Project Leader
“It was the most amazing experience and full of so much love. I was in my element, a gathering of people working together to make a difference in a world that can be so cold. The relationships we have as neighbors that day changed, I saw something different in my neighbors. We could as residents put aside our differences and make a change.”
—Annie Moore, English Avenue resident
Are you looking for ways to put your Heart in Action? Visit allforgood.org to find a volunteer project or opportunity near you.