STAMFORD, Conn. – Over 60 employees from AXA Investment Mangers, an asset management firm headquartered in Greenwich, shed their business attire in exchange for workpants and gardening gloves last month to create an outdoor classroom, picnic area and nature trail for the students of Rogers International School in Stamford.
AXA IM’s volunteers tirelessly worked together to clear overgrown and wooded areas, build and install classroom benches, and distribute woodchips throughout the area so students in grades K-8 can extend their learning environment outside the walls of the school and enjoy the Roger’s unique natural habitat.
“Our goal with the Educational Outdoor Classroom Nature Trail Project is to enhance access to, and use of, our outdoor campus by providing a dedicated, safe, and engaging learning environment. Through collaboration between parent-volunteers and teachers, Rogers’ curriculum will now be enriched by offering learning experiences such as nature/habitat lectures and hands-on science programs in our new ‘classroom-in-the-woods,’" said Rogers International School Principal Cathleen Cummings.
"We are incredibly thankful to the AXA IM volunteers for caring so deeply about the students in our community. We can’t wait to see our students actively enjoying the fruits of the AXA IM team’s hard work this fall."
“As part of AXA IM’s Global Corporate Responsibility Week, our Greenwich-based staff was excited to get out of the office and into the community to support local students by building an outdoor classroom from the ground-up," said Sangita Blomberg, Head of US Communications and Marketing, AXA Investment Managers. "The transformation of the grounds was tremendous, and our employees were thrilled to be able to come together to create a completely new learning space for students of all ages in just one work day."
The project was organized in partnership with the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF), which strives to connect the needs and wants of Stamford's public schools with the community. SPEF delivers a wide spectrum of programs to students and their families, including mentoring in grades 3 - 12, math tutoring, and book giveaways; it also arranges community service projects such as this one, which connect corporate volunteers with Stamford’s public schools for a noteworthy cause and “done-in-a-day” experience.
Rogers’ Green Team, led by Rogers’ parent Thais Gherardi, directed the project with SPEF and AXA IM. Tasks performed by AXA IM volunteers included: pulling weeds to clear the land and create a path, pruning the area to ensure a safe environment, and shoveling and spreading donated wood chips to make a safe walking environment for the children.
In addition, AXA IM purchased three classroom benches, which they assembled and installed in the new outdoor classroom. Once back from summer break, this completed outdoor classroom, picnic area and trail will be an ideal location for teachers to direct children’s observations to specific features of Rogers’ habitat.
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