When the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person activities on the Westlake, Texas campus, Schwabbies Laura F. and Patrick G., local community outreach co-chairs of the Charles Schwab Abilities Network (CSAN), saw an opportunity.
“We had funding set aside for an on-campus Halloween event for Schwab kiddos,” says Laura, who works on the Service Quality team within Client Service & Support. “We realized we could use those funds to help children in our area, particularly those with special needs. And of course, supporting those with special needs is a cause that is important to us here at CSAN.”
The Charles Schwab Abilities Network is a firm-wide Employee Resource Group (ERG) that brings together employees who have or care for a loved one with a disability.
“I am a dad of two boys,” says Patrick, who works in the Data Governance Office. “My younger son has apraxia and I’m passionate about supporting kids and others like him when it comes to providing opportunities that are not always afforded to them.”
Laura agrees, “My teenage daughter has autism and I am also passionate about supporting our kids. I think that very much applies to supporting our public schools and what they do to support children and their families.”
To that end, Laura, Patrick and the Westlake CSAN chapter obtained approval to use those unused funds to create an art contest for special needs kids in two area school districts. Dozens of art submissions were received and the local CSAN members hosted a virtual judging contest to select the winners.
IMAGES: A few of the artwork submissions
“We were proud to be able to offer three classrooms in our area a $500 award for their winning artwork,” said Laura. “It means a lot to me to be able to help these special needs kids and offer them the opportunity to participate in an event that might not otherwise be available to them.”
“Laura and I have both seen how special needs kids can get left out,” says Patrick. “It made us both happy to be able to provide a special event for them and to truly include them. We also were extremely glad to provide funds to three amazing teachers to buy important supplies in their classrooms, especially in such a difficult time.”