Volunteerism and community service in the Schwartz family does not center around one organization or source. They work with organizations and events sponsored by their employers, their children’s schools, other schools, their church, their neighborhood and some on their own.
The Schwartz family has always participated in a great deal of organized volunteer activities. They worked with the public utilities commission to replace a faulty transformer after the utility company was determined not to. They achieved the replanting of trees in their neighborhood through an email campaign; trees removed or downed in storms had not been replaced for over ten years previously. The petitioned and received a stop sign at a busy intersection. They worked with a neighborhood group to prevent a store from locating across from the school; it was a busy intersection and the storeowner was under investigation in another city for being a drug front. They organized their co-workers to sponsor music students at the Franklin Music magnet school located one mile from their house; music books were needed, so each person bought a book and was thanked by the recipient.
The Schwartz family also organized their co-workers to purchase/donate used sports balls for/to the same school. They purchased basketballs for a local community center after their son complained about the ones that they had. They arranged for funding for the “reward day” for the Franklin Music magnet school orchestra when the district funding fell through at the last moment. They purchased T-shirts for the entire class when their children participated in the D.A.R.E. program at school. They negotiated with a neighborhood thrift store to discount two shopping carts of toys for local family who had lost everything in a fire and were uninsured.
In addition to the above events, the Schwartz family also makes it a point of positively contributing to their community whenever an opportunity arises. They know that many of the children in school with their children are often without things that people take for granted. Those things may be mittens, school supplies, etc. If they find a sale, they stock up and send those items with their children. They also make it a point to ask the teachers if they need anything. They have often forgone a meal out so that they can buy enough clay for 90 kids, or a new notebook for each child.
The Schwartz family works mostly on rehabilitation types of projects that benefit families. They feel that a cash grant does not always improve a situation but giving skills and insight does. They have taught life skills and done home repairs. Everyone in the family helps. The rehabilitation projects that the Schwartz family has done have included elements of teaching the homeowners to care for their own house, but they have also done person life skills projects. They have taught art to both special needs children and abused children. Art is a great coping mechanism in addition to being an escape. They have also taught business skills, spoke at jobs fairs in inner city schools and mentored needy children.