KeyBank dedicates day to ‘Make a Difference’Written by Christine Senack | | firstname.lastname@example.org
KeyBank’s offices were closed at noon May 20 in celebration of Neighbors Make the Difference Day, its annual day of community service. In the Toledo area, more than 475 bank employees traded their business suits for jeans and T-shirts and volunteered at more than 25 local community organizations addressing human and environmental needs.
One of the project sites to which KeyBank has remained committed is the savanna area of Oak Openings Metropark. Naturalists accompanied volunteers as they returned to what is informally known as the KeyBank site among Metropark staff. This year, volunteers were trained to statistically monitor the results of their decade of effort along the Walbash Cannonball Trail off Girdham Road in Swanton.
“When they came out for the first time this was a degraded woodlot. Now it is a showpiece,” said Bob Jacksy, Metropark naturalist.
Over the years, volunteers removed weedy shrubs and overgrowth to allow more sunlight to get through to the forest floor. The result was that a native oak savannah species of lupin grew from fewer than a dozen plants to thousands. The flourishing of the blue spiked wildflower allowed the population of the Edward’s Hairstreak butterfly to increase as well. The habitat of the rare butterfly has increased from 10,500 square feet to 10 acres due to the work completed during the annual KeyBank volunteer event.
KeyBank employee Linda Malone said she enjoys the opportunity to leave the office and work outdoors.
“We like working in the Metroparks because we like working in the community and working for the environment,” she said.
The impact of this annual environmental project has been objectively acknowledged by naturalists. Jacksy said the savannah area of Oak Openings is now recognized as one of the highest quality oak woodlands in the Great Lakes region.
While some KeyBank employees were making an environmental impact, others volunteered to make a difference in the lives of people. Returning to Josina Lott Residential and Community Services for the sixth year, volunteers were cheerfully welcomed by the residents with smiles and hugs. KeyBank’s Debbie VanHorn said, “We are friends here. I think they look forward to this but not more than we do.”
Residents invited volunteers to spend the afternoon with them playing games, making mosaics, planting flowers and dancing. Josina Lott volunteer coordinator Karen Weisman said, “The friendships that are built between KeyBank and the individuals we serve at Josina Lott cannot be underestimated. This defines community.
“As a bank, we help to improve the financial infrastructure of our cities and towns,” said Jim Hoffman, KeyBank president. “But Neighbors Day comes from the heart: it reflects our employees’ commitment and desire to make a very personal contribution.”
Nationwide, KeyBank’s 19th annual Neighbors Make the Difference Day included more than 7,500 employees volunteer 30,000 hours, representing a donation of $600,000 in employee time.