Hurricane Sandy left a path of devastation as it traveled up the East Coast at the end of October 2012. In the short span of three days, lives were irrevocably changed as power, homes, and loved ones were lost to the power of the storm. Here at 1E, we counted ourselves immensely lucky when all of our employees checked in as safe, having weathered the storm with homes and families intact. All any of us had to do was to turn on the news to realize just how fortunate we were… and we knew we had to give back – as individuals, and as a company.
In the offices, we refer to this phenomenon as “1E Sunshine” – a deeply ingrained desire in each of us to make life easier for those around us. Professionally, it refers to the way we genuinely want to help customers in their endeavors. But 1E sunshine goes deeper than business cases; it is part of the company DNA and is a driving force in everything we do.
In an effort to help as an organization – in addition to the work that employees were doing on an individual level – Erica Allen, EA to the President, and Lauren Bermudez, Office Administrator, made countless calls to shelters, schools and charities following the storm. Perhaps fortunately for those organizations, many were already overwhelmed by the outpouring of goodwill they had already received and were recommending that donations be sent elsewhere.
One such organization, After Sandy, told 1E about the plight of The Petrides School on Staten Island. Four hundred students from neighboring schools had been displaced by the storm; many had lost their homes and some were removed from their family setting, placed in the homes of good Samaritans they did not necessarily know. Once contacted by 1E, the principal relayed a story of giving an iPod to a student who had lost everything and the immeasurable gratitude that the child expressed at the idea of having one thing as his very own again. As a technology company this struck a chord with us and we immediately responded with an offer to gift the other displaced students who lost everything at PS 53 with something of their own again.
On November 14, 2012 members of 1E staff stepped away from their desks to help rebuild the feeling of security and safety these children once had that was swept away in the storm. They brought with them technology items to replace those lost by the displaced students – Nintendo DSi consoles for the younger children and iPod touches for the older. Our NY-based IT team was on hand all day to help set up the new presents and also do whatever they could to help get the school’s computer systems back up and running. Other members of staff lent a helping hand wherever it was needed – in the cafeteria, the classroom, or the main office.
Our efforts at The Petrides school were documented by staff photos, stories, and – as a last minute surprise – The Making a Difference of the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
We are honored to have been able to lift the spirits of the children at the Petrides school in some small way and plan to continue our partnership moving forward in an effort to help them rebuild their schools and their lives.