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Sheena Harrison

RIMS 2014 offers two local community service opportunities

Community service opportunities include helping Denver-area foster children, schoolteachers

April 13, 2014 - 6:00am


Insurance executives will aid several Denver-area nonprofits during the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s 2014 conference and exhibition, including two community service projects slated to take place during the event.

RIMS conference attendees will perform maintenance work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 at Savio House in Denver. The organization teaches parents how to properly care for their children after protective service agencies have been asked to deal with cases of child abuse or neglect.

Savio House Executive Director William S. Hildenbrand said the organization performs such work because children placed into foster care are more likely to face trouble later in life such as teen pregnancies, dropping out of school or developing poor personal relationships.

By instructing parents on how to better raise their children, Savio House can help reduce some of the social ills that are associated with the foster care system, Mr. Hildenbrand said.

“The worst thing that can happen to a child is to be separated from their family, even if their family isn't the best,” Mr. Hildenbrand said.

In a study of families helped by Savio House from 1996 to 2006, 88% had not received any further complaints of child abuse or neglect after undergoing training, Mr. Hildenbrand said.

RIMS volunteers will do maintenance at Savio House's visitation center, where parents who have been separated from their children hold supervised visits in a setting that models a healthy home environment, Mr. Hildenbrand said.

RIMS also plans to perform general cleanup efforts at Savio House's main office, including landscaping and painting, said Stuart Ruff, the society's New York-based director of meetings and events.

Savio House was selected for this year's Community Service Day partly because it will benefit local children, said Mr. Ruff, who expects about 100 RIMS members to participate in the event.

RIMS and Zurich North America, which is sponsoring RIMS' community service events, asked Savio House to assign tasks to volunteers that the organization's employees may not normally have time to do, said Jillian Walsh, Schaumburg, Ill.-based director of community investment for Zurich North America.

The Community Service Day event will allow RIMS attendees to demonstrate the insurance industry's commitment to helping others, Ms. Walsh said.

Along with the preconference community service event, RIMS will conduct a volunteer project during the conference to benefit the Resource Area For Teaching in Denver. The nonprofit, based in San Jose, Calif., provides classroom materials for teachers at a discounted rate compared with retail prices.

RIMS conference attendees will be able to assemble math and science teaching kits for RAFT during an all-day event inside the conference exhibit hall on April 29. Materials for the packs will be provided by RIMS and Zurich.

“A lot of teachers who work in the public education system are strapped for resources, and it's not uncommon for a teacher to buy his or her own supplies sometimes,” Mr. Ruff said of why RIMS chose to support RAFT.

This will be the first time that RIMS has held two service events during the annual conference, organizers say.

RIMS also will provide donations to two additional charities that benefit the Denver area, Mr. Ruff said.

RIMS attendees were given the option of donating $8 to Carbonfund.org along with their conference registration, Mr. Ruff said. The charity will use the money to help offset the carbon footprint of the RIMS conference and attendees' travel to the event, such as by planting trees.

Denver's Road Home also will receive a $5,000 donation on behalf of RIMS' annual conference programming committee, Mr. Ruff said. The nonprofit organization aims to end homelessness in Denver by providing assorted services.

 



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