Digitas Takes Day Out to Help Others

More than 600 Employees Work to Fix Up 10 Community Centers

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Despite rainy weather, more than 600 employees from Digitas, New York, turned up last week for the agency's annual Community Service Day to fix up 10 community and child-care centers run by the East Harlem social services organization Union Settlement Association.

Projects included:

  • Painting, carpeting and refurnishing Union Settlement's headquarters and community and child-care facilities.
  • Installing new playground equipment and fixing up outdoor play areas and benches.
  • Upgrading garden boxes and planting flower beds in Union Settlement's community garden.
  • Designing and painting 11 new murals at six locations.
  • Installing branded signage throughout Union Settlement's facilities.
  • Redecorating and providing new classroom materials, books and furniture.

While the work was done in eight hours, the agency spent months planning and raising funds to make the project happen. The 59th Street Home Depot donated 25 gallons of paint, while Universal Play Systems worked out a half-off deal on a new playground.

During the service day, Digitas set up activities for 200 seniors and children while their usual facilities were being renovated. For example, the agency got youth volunteers involved in work at the Washington Community Center Garden, while students in the association's Adult Education Journalism Class worked on a video about the community service day.

"The labor, donations and fundraising services provided by Digitas will enable a year's worth of renovation, decoration and outdoor installation projects to be completed in just one day," Dave Nocenti, executive director of Union Settlement Association, said in a statement. "This effort will bring tens of thousands of dollars in improvements to our facilities and benefit the thousands of people who use these buildings every day."

Established in 1895, Union Settlement Association works to help East Harlem residents build better lives for themselves and their families through leadership and self-sufficiency. It serves more than 13,000 low-income residents annually through programs in education, child care, nutrition, senior services, counseling, the arts, job training and economic development.

Said Joanne Zaiac, president of Digitas' New York region: "Community Service Day is an integral part of our agency culture. Over the years we've contributed to a variety of local organizations, and this year we choose to work with Union Settlement because their good work extends throughout the community—from child care to senior care to adult education. We're proud to donate our time and capabilities to help foster a self-sufficient and productive community."