Ten years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit, Vi Founders Ryan Blair, Blake Mallen and Nick Sarnicola were inspired to provide relief to those affected by the traumatic natural disaster. They challenged the Vi Community and promised a matching donation. Vi Promoters and Customers across the country raised over $20,000 worth of much needed nutritional products. The total donation weighed in at more than $40,000 in nutritional products.
Returning to Our Roots
“What I love most about our company is our collective desire—among Promoters, Customers and corporate staff—to give back,” says Ryan. “We purposefully give our time, talents and products to causes close to our heart, and improving the lives of young people is one of those causes.”
Fast forward to present day. KaBOOM, ENCORE Academy and The Marlon Jackson Study Peace Foundation—all organizations that advocate on behalf of children—approached Vi to commemorate that first donation by helping to build a playground at ENCORE Academy in New Orleans. Over two hundred volunteers from the community rolled up their sleeves and broke ground last Friday.
Study Peace Foundation Founder Marlon Jackson and celebrity volunteer Big Easy of the Harlem Globe Trotters made a special appearance and worked alongside volunteers, shoveling mulch and piecing together play structures. ViSalus Cause Marketing Brand Manager Holly Case flew out to represent the company and was a welcome addition to the building crew.
“It was inspiring to see the community come together to help create a space for kids to live healthy and active lifestyles. Participating in building a park from the ground up in only six hours was an incredible experience,” says Holly.
Vi proudly designed and donated 200+ t-shirts for event volunteers and provided a variety of nutritious snacks including Vi Bites®, Nutra-Cookies, Vi Crunch® and ViSalus NEURO® Lemon Lift. Vi products were a bit hit among volunteers and kept everyone nourished throughout the build.
Work Hard, Play Hard
The new playground consists of a swing set, jungle gym complete with monkey bars, slide and a new amphitheater designed for performing arts. Volunteers also built new picnic tables for the lunch area. Local kids had a hand in design. The playground design was based on children’s drawings created at a special design event.
A playground is so much more than swings and monkey bars. Safe playgrounds help build community and offer kids a place to be active and make friends. According to KaBOOM, play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult.
The new, Mardi Gras themed playground is expected to bring more than 515 kids in New Orleans one step closer to enjoying a play filled childhood in a safe and fun environment. KaBOOM! has already built 196 playgrounds in the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina and plan to build more in the years to come.
For more information on how you can make a difference in your community and donate through Project 10™ Kids, please visit project10kids.vi.com.