During the month of April, Southwire’s employee resource group (ERG), Allied – one of six ERGs that make up the company’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiative, FUSE – and Project GIFT ®, the organization’s employee-driven non-profit, teamed up to collect supplies for CHRIS 180. Allied is dedicated to creating a more inclusive culture, specifically focusing on advocating for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
CHRIS 180, an acronym that stands for Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety, is a non-profit that holistically helps children, youth and families change the direction of their lives and become more self-sufficient, contributing adults despite challenging circumstances. Through the program, those in need have access to mental health counseling, group homes for abused and neglected children in foster care, adoption services, a Drop-In Center for homeless young adults and a supportive housing program for single and parenting youth, ages 17 to 24, who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system.
One area of focus for CHRIS 180 is LGBTQ+ youth. According to CHRIS 180’s website, “in 2000, Chris 180 established the first program in the southeast to target a disproportionate percentage of LGBTQ homeless youth.” Since then, the organization has continued to reach out to LGBTQ+ youth in need and provide safe housing, mental health services and counseling, life skills training and adoption services.
“One of the reasons we chose to partner with CHRIS 180 is because a large number of the young adult homeless population that they support identify as LGBTQ+,” said Wendy Lucio, vice president of human resources and shared services and Allied’s committee leader. “After meeting some of the CHRIS 180 team at Atlanta Pride last year and learning about all of the incredible things they do, we were really excited to get involved.”
From April 8 to 22, Allied, in partnership with Project GIFT, collected items at Southwire’s west Georgia facilities to create welcome kits for young adults transitioning out of homelessness. Items that they collected included kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, queen-sized bedding and bathroom supplies. On May 9, Project GIFT and Allied volunteers brought enough supplies to create 30 care-packages to the CHRIS 180 facility on Atlanta, Ga.
“Sometimes you wonder if the stuff you are giving is going to those who really need it,” said Vernon Clark, professional staffing specialist and volunteer. “When we dropped off the supplies at CHRIS 180, I got to experience how real the situation was, so it was amazing to see that what we collected was going to help so many people.”
For more information about CHRIS 180, their mission and how to make a difference, visit chris180.org, and stay tuned to Southwire Community on Facebook for updates about Southwire’s D&I, sustainability and Giving Back efforts.