We're all about making guests feel at home, so it's no surprise when our associates choose to help Habitat for Humanity, whose mission is to give everyone a decent place to call home.
Five of our Washington D.C. area hotels - Hyatt Regency Washington, Grand Hyatt Washington, Hyatt Fairfax, Hyatt Dulles, and Hyatt Regency Reston - partnered with Habitat for Humanity D.C. last month to work on two houses, one for a homeless U.S. military veteran and another for a family of four.
The scorching summer heat didn't keep our 23 associates from dedicating six hours to creating a beautiful foundation for the outside of two future homes. Jenna Widmann, Volunteer Services Supervisor at Habitat for Humanity Washington D.C., told the team leaders that "despite the 100 degree day, your group was one of the best we've worked with this year!"
The undisputed highlight of the day was helping local families. "I think we all enjoyed working alongside members of families that would be moving into the finished houses," said Rachel Roland, sales manager at Hyatt Regency Washington. "It really made us feel like we were making a great impact in our community."
But associates also enjoyed sharing the experience with their colleagues from other Hyatt hotels in the area. "By the end of the day you wouldn't have been able to tell that at the beginning most of us didn't know each other," said Devon Alexander, director of guest services at Grand Hyatt Washington. The day was such a success that the D.C. hotels are planning more joint events in the future!
Meanwhile, associates at the Hyatt Shared Services Center in Oklahoma partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland County to build Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs for short). What exactly are CEBs? They include a mix of dirt and non-expansive clay, and they're used to build Habitat homes.
More than just giving back, the 40 Hyatt associates got to learn about the interesting - and environmentally friendly! - process of making CEBs. Forty associates spent the day digging, sifting, and mixing the dirt with an aggregate to stabilize it. Next, they used a compressing machine to form the blocks.
All in all, they made 720 blocks, 270 more than the project manager expected in a day! Brian Emery, human resources director at the Shared Services Center, said his team really enjoyed working together and learning about the construction method.
Tasha Anderson, Hyatt Shared Services Center Collections Supervisor, said, "It was a great opportunity to help a family in our community, as well as represent Hyatt. What better way to show the community the meaning of 'the Hyatt way!'"
The team will return in the fall to see the project through, actually building the house with the blocks they've made.
Making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day is what keeps us going - inside and outside our hotels. There are even more stories of our volunteer efforts yet to come. Keep an eye out for next week's Thrive Thursday!