MORELAND HILLS — Nearly 40 Progressive Corp. employees arrived at Hiram House Camp last week to give back to the community by helping the camp prepare for the summer season. Hiram House, which hosts hundreds of kids every summer for camp, put the employees to work around the campsite on Hiram Trail.
Progressive Social Responsibility Manager Wanda Shippy said that the company encourages employees to give back to their community either by volunteering or donating to a good cause. She said that employees have the opportunity to find a cause that interests them and set up a day to volunteer at that organization along with other employees from their team at Progressive.
Donna Sebusch, an executive assistant at the insurance company, said the idea to lend a hand at the camp came from another employee who drives past Hiram House daily while going to work.
“This is a great camp and a good cause,” said Ms. Sebusch, who helped organize the day. “We love doing it and we’ve come here for four years.”
The group spent the day painting the old firehouse on the campsite, staining wooden benches, painting flower boxes and beautifying the campgrounds by laying mulch and removing large branches. Executive Director of Hiram House Camp Courtney Guzy said that the firehouse is no longer is use, even though it used to house a vintage fire truck. In the summer, the old firehouse is used as a classroom and a home base for the camp kids.
Even though Progressive employees are not required to volunteer, employees said that they enjoy it and appreciate the company’s commitment to the community. Alyssa Ritenour, a pricing analyst, said that she also volunteered with Progressive at the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation in Mayfield Village last year to pull plants.
“I like volunteering and it’s important for us to do this,” Ms. Ritenour said.
Vince Oddo, who has worked as a pricing analyst at Progressive for nine years, previously volunteered with the company at North Chagrin Reservation and visited Hiram House for the first time last week.
“We wanted to get out as a group to give back to the community,” Mr. Oddo said.
On May 8, employees from the central division worked at the camp. On Tuesday, employees from the research and development division continued work at Hiram House, including painting the recreation room, setting up teepees and painting the trim on the firehouse, Ms. Guzy said.
Cassie Iker, a rotational analyst at Progressive, said that volunteering also serves as a chance to bond with other employees.
“This feels like a teambuilding activity,” she said. “It’s team-oriented.”
In addition to volunteering, Ms. Shippy said that Progressive encourages employees to donate to nonprofit organizations through the Progressive Insurance Foundation. If an employee donates to a 501(c)(3) organization through the foundation, Progressive will match the donation up to $3,000. Progressive is headquartered in Mayfield Heights.
“The foundation was created to support the charities that our people support,” she said. “It is a way for people to support their own passions.”
Ms. Shippy said that volunteering is mutually beneficial to Progressive and the organizations that they work with. She said that community service enriches the lives of the employees and helps them better understand the world around them.