Community Partners

Our community partners and foundations are essential to continuing our programming as their support goes directly to those we serve. But more than just giving, our partners find that supporting enCourage Kids helps better their organizations and people.

Community Partners - Wyndham WorldwideWishes by Wyndham is the charitable giving arm of Wyndham Hotel Group. They have incorporated community service projects into a lot of their conferences, including a recent one for enCourage Kids at their franchise sales program.

“We created a ‘Party in a Box’ for children who are unfortunately going to be in the hospital during their birthday or a celebratory time,” said Michelle Lynch, Senior Manager of Events at Wyndham Worldwide.

Team members assisted in assembling boxes of party supplies with themes such as Dora the Explorer, the Avengers, and Minions. “It’s a great way for our team to come together to give back. That’s the most important thing, to give back, and that really trickles from the top down,” Lynch continued.

For the past four years, Wyndham has also organized the Angel Tree program, in which employees can purchase a holiday gift requested by an enCourage kid and their sibilings.

“I’ve been working with enCourage Kids for years now and what speaks to me is knowing that we don’t only just help the child in need but also their siblings and parents,” shared Kate Scozzaro, also a Senior Manager of Events at Wyndham Worldwide. “I know that we have made someone’s day more special, whether it’s getting a gift or hosting a party – they just need to be a kid.”

The Six Flags Great Escape Theme Park has a similar program called “Project Six”.

Community Partners - Great Escape

A resident of St. Margaret’s checks out the handy work of the Great Escape Project Six team.

According to Rebecca Close, Director of Marketing & Sales, “This is a day that after our season is over in November, all of our full-time staff presses pause on what we do during our normal operating days and we get out and support the community that comes to us all summer.”

Our enCourage Kids team in Albany was able to connect the team at Six Flags Great Escape with St. Margaret’s Center, a pediatric nursing home whose residents have very complex medical diagnoses, to makeover two of their spaces.

Their sign shop and graphic designer planned an entire amusement park-themed kids room, along with a cozy and inviting family room. “I never had any idea that it could be warmed up this way,” said Beth Berands, Executive Director of St. Margaret’s, in response to the room makeovers. “The transformation is just incredible. And the partnership between enCourage Kids and Six Flags Great Escape was really tremendous.”

“For every single person on our staff that was down there that day – it was one of the best days that we had,” said Close. “It was neat to see this team do things that we don’t typically do and have a lot of fun doing it.”

Ema Buco, Assistant Director of Residence Life at UAlbany, recognizes the need to involve their students in this type of giving back within their community. “I think that students sometimes are secluded, in a way, because they are experiencing the on-college lifestyle that they forget what the world is all about.”

Community Partners - UAlbany

She has led students in organizing several events for enCourage kids and their families, including Halloween trick or treat parties and the Super Hero Sprint. “It’s important for us to bring these programs to them so that they can have a better understanding of what awaits them when they are a graduate of the University.”

Contact Christina Buono, Manager of External Relations, to learn more about community partnerships: christina@encourage-kids.org