The Timeshare Industry Goes Back to School
By Lou Ann Burney
September 14, 2012
In our continuing effort to promote the good things about timeshare to consumers, we have just launched a new initiative—“Faces of Timeshare.” Each month, we will be profiling what various developers and ARDA members are doing around philanthropic or customer care efforts.
This month we looked at “Back to School” efforts. Not surprisingly, our members had a lot to share—from supplying backpacks to funding students studying hospitality in college.
Some examples include:
Orlando-based Club Meliá by Meliá Hotels International partners with Orange County Public Schools for its Community Resources Backpack Project, donating 120 backpacks and mouse pads for students in need.
Disney Vacation Club, in conjunction with the Company’s Disney VoluntEARS, is very involved with the public schools in the communities where is has operations, including Orlando, Anaheim, Vero Beach, Hilton Head, and Hawaii. Some programs supported include backpack programs, school breakfast programs, Junior Achievement, A Gift for Music (which supplies instruments and instruction in music), and A Gift for Teaching (which supplies teachers with materials like notebooks, pens, and art supplies).
Bluegreen Resorts has again worked with SOS Children’s Villages annual “Back to School and Ready” Campaign, for the fifth straight year. The Bluegreen Employee Action Resource (BEAR) Team collected and delivered donations of school supplies to the foster care neighborhood in Coconut Creek, Florida based on a wish list provided by their children.
Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) has renewed its support of Step Up For Students for the second year in a row with a pledge of $750,000. Step Up for Students is a nonprofit organization that offers scholarships aimed at providing learning options for economically disadvantaged children in Florida. WVO’s contribution will fund more than 167 scholarships in the coming year to allow at-risk students to receive a quality education that best meets their needs. They also support The Fishing School, a non-profit youth development organization that provides academic and cultural enrichment support to children and families in Washington, D.C., based on the “Teach a Man to Fish” premise. Since 2009, WVO has donated more than $80,000, in addition to in-kind donations and volunteer time.
At the college level, Interval International has made a long-term commitment to investing in education because the company recognizes the important role it plays in developing the next generation of hospitality industry professionals. Interval and its resort partners have donated more than $400,000 to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization for scholarships to help students pursue an education in hospitality and increase their awareness about career opportunities available within the industry. They also endowed a scholarship fund at Florida International University’s School of Hospitality Management for students to attend courses in timeshare resort management.
On an international level, in 1998 ARDA member and philanthropist Christel DeHaan opened the first Christel House in Mexico to give children of poverty the opportunity for transformational change. It serves over 3,600 students, their families, and communities, providing the opportunity for a better life through education, health and wellness programs, life skills, character development, and parent and community outreach.
The impact of helping young people achieve their goal of an education is immeasurable, with long-lasting results for all. To ARDA members and others who are making a difference in the lives of students everywhere, we salute you!
Over the next few months we will be looking at Recycling and Veterans’ Day. Stay tuned!