Giving back to society with Mission 500
We believe it’s so important for companies all over the world to act as role models, lead by example and influence the world around them in a positive way. And many across the globe are doing just that, realizing just how influential they can be to encourage and make changes.
That’s why we’re incredibly proud of the work Mission 500 has accomplished over the years to support children and families across America who are in crisis. This charitable non-profit organization works closely with those in the security industry, such as Axis Communications, to advocate for underprivileged or underserved children in the United States who need assistance.
Axis’ contribution to the organization is spearheaded by Jeff Coco, Director of Technical Services for the Americas, and a member of the Mission 500 advisory board. Jeff has a passion to help others and believes it’s important to lead the way by making a difference, working together and positively impacting those in our communities.
“It’s our responsibility as a company to do more than just make a profit,” Coco says. “It’s also about giving back; it’s about truly inspiring people to come together for great causes.”
There are three causes that are near to Coco’s heart where he worked closely with his Axis counterparts and Mission 500 to give back to communities.
Assembling bikes for children
Helping those in need is the red thread throughout our community service initiatives in the United States. Recently, the North America Business Development team took two hours out of their annual mid-year meeting to assemble bikes for children in foster care at Lydia House in Chicago. The bike parts, including helmets and elbow pads, had been acquired through fundraiser campaigns. The team’s goal was to deliver around 25 new bikes to the children.
“Let me paint a picture for you,” explains Coco. “Think of Lydia House as a large, dark brick building that looks like it was built 100 years ago. It’s not located in the best of neighbourhoods. We drove up with this giant truck, and one by one, we carried the bikes off to a playground area.”
“As we’re carrying these bikes,” Coco continues, “we looked up to the building and started seeing these little faces pop up in the windows. The children had big, wide smiles across their faces. They were so excited to get outside and play. It was an amazing experience that I wish everyone in our team could have shared, too.”
Altogether the initiative only took about two hours, but the kids have a memory that will likely last a lifetime.
To celebrate the end of the year and provide a sneak peek into upcoming activities, the US office invites selected distributors and partners to the well-attended Axis Connect & Converge Conference. During the conference last year, Axis and Mission 500 came together to support Refuge Range by donating school supplies. Refuge Ranch is a rehabilitating home for children that have been pulled out of sex-trafficking.
Along with Mexico and the Philippines, the US was ranked one of the world’s worst places for human trafficking in 2018. The Human Trafficking Hotline estimates there are currently hundreds of thousands of victims in the US. When looking at these statistics, it becomes evident how important it is that large corporations and companies shoulder their social responsibility and take action.
Making a difference across the border
A lot of Mission 500’s work is completed in the US, but some projects expand beyond its border. Every year, Axis sponsors employees from the US to travel to a region in need of aid to work hands-on for about a week. Following a thorough selection process, where candidates are asked why they want to go and what the trip would mean to them, several are sent to help.
“We receive many applications each year, and they are truly committed to the cause. Some write three-page emails explaining why it’s important for them to go,” says Coco.
One of those stories comes out of Puerto Rico where Axis employees travelled to help rebuild homes in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Maria that ravaged large parts of the country in 2017.
After the hurricane, thousands of residents were left without everyday necessities such as electricity, sources of food and clean water. Once at the site, volunteers formed part of a team of dedicated people – all from the security industry—who worked tirelessly together to help rebuild impacted areas.
“It’s a very hands-on job; you’re carrying debris, you’re ripping down an old roof and putting up a new one. Many of our volunteers have no experience in construction, but they still go to help,” explains Coco.
Social Responsibility Day once a year
Within our own walls, Axis employees work hard to give back to their local communities. One way to enable this is by establishing Social Responsibility Day in the Americas. Each co-worker receives one day off per year to work with a charity or cause of his or her choice. Coco’s goal for 2020 is to ensure every member of his technical service team uses their one day to make a difference.
“We’ll be 50 people in my team next year, so that’s over 400 hours of community service. I think that is pretty cool,” he says.
With a general increasing awareness of the importance of sustainability, it’s important to invest time and effort in local initiatives to make a difference.
It’s our responsibility as a company to do more than just make a profit. It’s about giving something back
“If you have the opportunity to help, do it,” Coco notes. “It’s our responsibility as a company to do more than just make a profit. It’s about giving something back.”
Investing in the future by making a difference today
It’s never been easier to practice social responsibility. Or to make an impact in someone’s life. Or impact an entire community. Or simply put a smile on a kid’s face with something as simple as building them a bike. One person can make a difference by being that difference!
Being a good corporate citizen starts with companies—big and small—realizing they truly have the power and resources to positively change the world around them. Of course, knowing how to start is helpful. If you’re not sure how to begin or what more to do, a quick internet search yields countless ways to help and a variety of organizations that dedicate themselves to different causes.
As we discussed earlier, an organization like Mission 500 for example devotes itself to helping children in need through community-based events. On the other hand, Relay for Life, the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, honours those who survived cancer, remembers those who lost their battle and raises money to fight the disease. This fundraiser takes place in over 5,200 communities in 20 countries. At Axis, we have a number of employees that walk in Relay for Life and collect funds by selling shirts.
The driving force behind making a change is people. We have the ability, whether as an individual or collectively, to be a driving force behind rebuilding, remolding and uniting communities, and helping those in need. Together, we have the ability to take steps to move the needle.