The holidays are the season of giving, a time when many people go out of their way to be charitable. In that spirit, many DDOT employees are making selfless contributions, big and small, to help others less fortunate than themselves.
Some are participating in the annual DC One Fund campaign, a very high profile effort spearheaded by the Mayor to raise a $1 million dollars for local charities and organizations. But we discovered some DDOT employees are making a difference in a much quieter way, but with just as big an impact on the recipients of their kindness.
Staff in the Street and Bridge Maintenance Division (SBM) took it upon themselves to help less fortunate students in the District of Columbia Public School system. They reached out to the LaSalle-Backus Education Campus – which is not far from the SBM facility in Northeast DC – and were put in touch with social worker Yoland Ugorji.
Ms. Ugorji identified a family she felt not only needed but also deserved a helping hand over the holidays, Victoria Rodriquez, Juan Carmona and their four children, Karen (11), Michelle (10), Alex (8) and Cynthia (4).
“I knew they were struggling” said Mr. Ugorji, “But even so, their children were always in school.”
With staffer Angela Pettus and Antania Henderson leading the charge, the Street and Bridge team collected more than $1000 in donations and purchased gifts for the Camona-Rodriquez children – lots of gifts – including bicycles, toys, clothes and a small tablet computer. They presented the gifts to the very grateful family at the Street and Bridge Branch’s annual holiday party today.
“Incredible,” added Ms. Ugorji. “I don’t know how I’m going to be able to describe this to the principal.”
“It was wonderful,” said Ms. Pettus. “One of the kids said ‘I got everything on my list’ and they might not have gotten anything. It’s a great feeling.”
It was an effort to make the holidays special for others, but as is often the case, giving was as much a gift as receiving.
Happy Holidays to all of you from DDOT!