As a banker, businessman and community advocate, I have spent decades promoting and encouraging connections among people, businesses and organizations.
Business connections happen all over Lee’s Summit. They connect for-profit and nonprofit needs and interests. They put people and talents in front of our employers and students. Through the Lee’s Summit CARES Business of Character program, these connectors also help link business owners and our dedicated employees with the mission of character that is the organization’s everyday focus.
During my many years in business, companies I have been involved with have consistently supported corporate social responsibility. With CommunityAmerica Credit Union, it has always been important to me to work for and be involved with those organizations which reflect that ethic in their core values.
One shining example of an organization that promotes community involvement is Lee’s Summit CARES Community of Character. Through my involvement with LS Cares Business of Character, I have seen the impact this organization has on the youth of our community.
First, LS Cares partners with the school district for character-building programs in the schools, which can have a significant impact on our youth. I have witnessed the pride youth reflect when they are honored with a character award and it has made a significant impression on me as well.
I will never forget being at an assembly at Meadow Lane Elementary School and seeing the pride on the parents’ faces when their son was honored with such an award.
Second, the Mayor’s Character Breakfast, organized by LS Cares and sponsored by the Business Sector, is one of the most inspirational events of the year. Individuals who receive these awards are nominated by people whom they have impacted.
Their stories are read to the audience. Kindness is seen in each story — whether the story focuses on courage, respect, honesty or any of the other traits. Additionally, a business is chosen to be honored with the Ethics in Business Award. Also, an individual who has made a significant impact on the community is presented the Lifetime Achievement award and, finally, there is an inspirational speaker.
“Build Character, Build Business, Build Community” is the motto of the business sector. This year, businesses will be asked to sponsor service projects for classes in the schools. The classrooms will apply with a description of the proposed project and LS Cares will broadcast the partnership between the classroom and the business through all their social networks and newsletters.
What better way to promote your business and cooperate with the community than to be a part of this organization?
The business sector started in 2004 with five members and through the years has grown to 47 businesse. Whether the donation is in-kind or cash, LS Cares recognizes these businesses as partners.
Another event organized by the Businesses of Character five years ago is the Kick Off to Character — featuring an inspirational speaker, door prizes, 50/50 raffle and more.
Businesses can change and mold a community. Those businesses with ethics of respect, honesty, courage, cooperation, perseverance, responsibility and kindness will have great success. We’ve seen that firsthand in Lee’s Summit.
Being a part of the business sector of the Community of Character magnifies the ability for business to impact the youth of our community and future generations. These 47 businesses believe in the value of mentoring good character. How much difference could be made in the community if this number increased to 60, 80, 100 or more businesses?
My mother often reminded me that God gave me all my gifts and talent to treasure, and expected me to use them over my life to leave the world a better place. What an opportunity for individuals and businesses to use LS Cares’ Community Of Character program to make Lee’s Summit a better place, too.
Bob Glaser works for CommunityAmerica Credit Union and is a longtime business-connector and advocate for the Lee’s Summit CARES character program. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.