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San Diego schools will benefit from RIMS Community Service Day


Teaming up with nonprofit Harmonium Inc., members of the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. will spend this year's Community Service Day sprucing up schools in the San Diego area.

“This is the ninth Community Service Day project, and it really has become a great tradition for RIMS,” said Stuart Ruff, vice president of events and education for the New York-based society that is hosting its annual conference April 10-13 in San Diego.

RIMS volunteers will paint, landscape, install siding, clean and perform other maintenance at school sites from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 10 as part of San Diego-based Harmonium's Klassic Kids after school program. Harmonium promotes well-being and self-sufficiency through neighborhood and family programs.

About 75 RIMS members usually participate in the service day, Mr. Ruff said. In 2014, RIMS worked with educational nonprofit Resource Area for Teaching in Denver to assemble math and science teaching kits.

RIMS does its research, working with contacts in host cities to find charities with which it can partner for its annual community service project, a selection process Mr. Ruff described as “rigorous.” It examined several local charities this year, he said.

RIMS attendees also can work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 12 with Louisville, Kentucky-based Blessings in a Backpack Inc., which provides backpacks of food to children who qualify under a federal program for free or reduced-price meals at local elementary schools.

RIMS first worked with Blessings at its 2015 conference in New Orleans, filling more than 250 backpacks last year, Mr. Ruff said.

“Blessings in a Backpack provides elementary school children ... with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends throughout the school year. So we really want the risk professionals to come out and lend support by assembling the backpacks that will be donated to the local schools,” he said.

This year, conference attendees also are being asked to donate new and gently used fiction and nonfiction books for children ages 5 to 11.

“Basically any book is great as long as it can hook a child into reading,” said Mr. Ruff.

He said turnout for past community service projects has been high, and it's easy to stop by the exhibit hall and lend a hand.

“Last year, we probably had around 300 people,” he said.

RIMS officials said about 10,000 attended last year's conference.

“We are a large conference, and we are grateful to the city that is hosting us. We greatly impact their city ... in terms of tax dollars generated and jobs created and things like that, but finding a way to give back to the residents and industries who don't necessarily have a direct benefit in the presence of our conference is something I think is important to us and is just another way of saying thank you to a destination or community for welcoming us into their home and providing us good service while we are there,” Mr. Ruff said.

“It's also great to see the risk management community refocus their energy and demonstrate an enormous level of commitment and compassion for those who are less fortunate” he said.