For the fourth straight year, associates of the Kohl's department store chain will come to Mooseheart to participate in a "Go Green" event Saturday, April 27, where they will clean and beautify the campus.
But the size and financial impact of this event has grown every year -- and this year figures to be the largest and most impacting yet.
Associates from more than 50 Kohl's stores from Illinois and Indiana will converge at Mooseheart at 9 a.m. on Saturday for a three-hour event. Kohl's financially supports these efforts of what could be nearly 500 staffers. Through this Kohl's "Go Green" event, Mooseheart would receive, from each store participating, an amount of $1,500. Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said that the event, and funds expected to be received by Moose Charities, could constitute the largest one-day event to be held on-campus by a non-Moose organization.
Additionally, Kohl's executives are expected to attend this year's event to witness the work, see the impact, and visit with Mooseheart's students and staff.
"There is some excitement, eagerness, and anticipation because it has been a positive event in the past," Urwiler said. "With it being this size, it brings enthusiasm as well. There's no words I can even say to express our gratitude to Kohl's over the last three to four years for what they've done, both in terms of volunteer time and financial donations. It's an incredible act of generosity to our mission at Mooseheart."
In 2012, employees from more than 50 stores came to Mooseheart and the campus received a check in excess of $64,000. This year's event should be even larger.
As in past years, the Kohl's associates will be working alongside Mooseheart students. Before they disperse to their worksites, they will learn more about the campus and its residents from 2008 Mooseheart High School graduate Chris Morones, who lived more than 15 years at Mooseheart prior to graduation.
"With Chris growing up here since he was two years old, he can convey what Mooseheart is and why they should continue to do what they do," Urwiler said. "Then they'll be working right with Mooseheart students; and they can talk with them (Kohl's associates) about who we are and what we do. I'm sure they won't even notice that they're working."
The benefits from the day extend to those Mooseheart students as well. Volunteerism and providing community service are cornerstone tenets for the Moose fraternity and are taught to the students. The entrance to the campus bears the phrase "Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve" -- words that are more than just a slogan.
"This is a great way for our students to see firsthand the benefits of people serving and serving others," Urwiler said. "It falls right in line with our mission and it speaks loudly to our students."
If the "Go Green" event is a one-day effort, Kohl's impact on Mooseheart extends throughout the year. Kohl's associates have come to campus many times in the past year to volunteer their time.
"I think the bottom line is what we've gained from Kohl's, and that is a true friendship," Urwiler said. "We've met many people who want to help by working to improve our campus environment for our children and to get as inspired from our kids as much as we are inspired by them."