#PeopleWhoDo – Texas Kids Read

While interviewing at Zenoss last year, I was impressed by the company culture and was really excited to become a part of it! The company’s core values are key to the Zenoss culture, and one in particular, “People Who Do,” especially appealed to me. Living this value includes contributing to the communities where we live and work. Individually, Zenoss employees (aka “Zenossians”) support many worthwhile causes.

As a company, Zenossians voted on the following focus areas: community development, education, environment, animal welfare, and health and human services. The Zenoss Cares team was formed to seek out ways for Zenossians to “do” for the community in these areas — that is, ways to work as a team, during regular business hours, to physically contribute to a cause. When the team called for representatives for 2017, I jumped on the chance to represent the engineering group!

Our latest volunteer project was with Texas Kids Read (https://txkidsread.org/). This small, family-run organization provides free books and other learning materials to kids who attend two Austin, Texas, Title I elementary schools. Title I schools are those with a high percentage of students from low-income families. The goal of Texas Kids Read is to make sure these kids continue to read and learn during school breaks.

Year-round, Texas Kids Read receives donations of new and gently used books. Near the end of the school year, they hold their big book distribution event — like a book shopping spree for the kids!

Zenoss Cares contacted Texas Kids Read to see if we could help with their cause. Serendipitously, they had an immediate need that aligned perfectly with our goals! They even offered to bring the project to Zenoss headquarters!

They pulled up with two trucks loaded with empty shopping bags, pens, colored pencils, notepads, pencils, bookmarks, crayons, and a well-planned strategy. They needed help filling the bags with goodies so that, at the distribution event, the kids could focus on choosing books.

We set up assembly tables in the Zenoss break room, and a hoard of helpful Zenossians descended! Working to the beat of ‘80s tunes, in two hours, we had all 800 bags stuffed, boxed up and labeled; the extra supplies repacked; and mountains of empty boxes flattened for recycling.

The project was a huge success and a lot of fun! Working as a team, we helped out a great cause. Because the project was on-site, many more Zenossians could participate, including our CEO, Greg Stock. Many who couldn’t participate stopped by to learn about the project and cheer on competitive colleagues vying to be fastest packer.

Our thanks to Texas Kids Read founders David and Rosanne Crump for allowing us to be a part of their mission. As they explained, many of the kids they serve have no other options for summer reading and learning. These books give kids the opportunity to maintain their reading skills, keep their minds active, and reduce knowledge loss during the summer months.

Kudos to Texas Kids Read’s donors, including Half Price Books, H-E-B Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, Texas Mutual Insurance Company, and National Geographic.