Working with Trinity Habitat for Humanity, Thomson Reuters staffers and clients helped revitalize an historic Barber College in Fort Worth, Texas.
What better way to wrap up a week of camaraderie that was the heart of SYNERGY User Groups Conference 2017 than by partnering with Trinity Habitat for Humanity for a community outreach project. The Trinity chapter has been enriching neighborhoods in Fort Worth and surrounding areas for 28 years. As one the largest Habitat affiliates in the world, nearly 10,000 volunteers partner with Trinity Habitat each year to help them build between 34 and 40 houses a year and assist with neighborhood revitalization projects.
“Several years ago, we started to focus on the neighborhood revitalization piece of what we do, and it’s changed the kind of work we’re doing across the board,” said Lauren Harris, director of leadership giving with Trinity Habitat. “With revitalization, we’re affecting a neighborhood as a whole as opposed to one family through one house or one rehab project.”On September 21, more than 50 individuals—including Thomson Reuters staffers and clients—worked side-by-side to help with revitalization efforts in a historic Forth Worth neighborhood known as Hillside Morningside.
“Today we are rehabbing a home—painting and beautifying it—so the family that currently lives here can have pride in their home,” Harris explained. “The Thomson Reuters team is also working on a barber college—one of the oldest businesses in the community—and a great cornerstone and asset for this area.”Inside, a group of young men are learning a valuable trade that will help them throughout their lives while volunteers give the barber college a more polished appearance with a fresh coat of paint and hand-lettered sign. Nearby, another group of volunteers construct benches for a senior center that doesn’t have any outdoor seating.“I think this kind of outreach really reflects an important aspect of the SYNERGY conference,” said Keith Nichols, Thomson Reuters managing director of Government. “It’s rooted in the power of our community. With Tax & Accounting, our clients are really trying to improve the lives of their citizens. Public service is in their veins.” Tracy Harris, with the Thomson Reuters office in Carrollton, Texas, couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day. “Just giving back and helping people always makes you feel good,” she said. Perched on a painting ladder, Brian Heaton with the San Diego County Treasurer/Tax Collector’s office half-jokingly added that he’s chipping in because he “thought it would be nice to help out and increase the city’s property taxes.”
Joking aside, Harris said these acts of kindness are beyond meaningful. “They let the people who live here know that others care and want to help give them a hand up. Thomson Reuters is helping breathe new life into this neighborhood and we’re excited to be partnering with them.”
Sharon Sayles Belton, vice president of Government Affairs and Community Relations at Thomson Reuters, couldn’t resist being part of it all. “My session was over Wednesday and I have a lot of work on my desk,” she said, “but I’m a big fan of Habitat and it’s just a pleasure for me to work alongside the people who attended the conference and my colleagues in tax and accounting here in Texas to help restore a home for a family in this community. We work hard every day and we enjoy doing that, but we also like taking time to give back to the community and let them know that we care about them.”And with Trinity Habitat for Humanity, “caring” manifests itself in tangible ways.
“It takes volunteers and funds to affect change in such a large way,” Harris added. “We know that Thomson Reuters is a company that cares about their community and wants their employees to be engaged, to volunteer and donate to the causes that are close to them, so we could not be more excited to have their partnership in this project.”