LAUNCHES APRIL 1, BY THE RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL COMPANY, L.L.C.;
Program Offers Travelers The Chance to Volunteer Their Time To Local Groups Dedicated To Child Welfare, Feeding The Hungry, Preserving The Environment
CHEVY CHASE, Md. " April 1, 2008, Guests at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world can volunteer their time to improve and assist the local community where they are vacationing. The program, called Give Back Getaways offers guests a variety of opportunities from aiding children with physical and emotional disabilities through the magic of horse-back riding in Tysons Corner, Virginia, to helping with renovations and landscaping at the Children- Hospice SONNENHOF, which offers support for children with critical illnesses in Berlin.
Give Back Getaways is the most recent opportunity to volunteer under Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton social and environmental responsibility program. We have come to recognize the interest many of our guests have in becoming more involved in the region where they are spending their vacation. Many of them are active volunteers in worthwhile activities at home, and want to continue this spirit of giving when they visit other parts of the world, explained Simon F. Cooper, president and chief operating officer. We believe Give Back Getaways is a unique way for our hotels to partner with guests to provide an experience both memorable and personally enriching, he added.
The employees at each Ritz-Carlton hotel were challenged to identify an organization or cause in need of support in their community. They then partnered with the group to prioritize needs for hands on assistance, and scheduled dates throughout the year when Give Back Getaways will be offered. From building a library for the young children of migrant workers at the Dandelion School in Beijing, to serving as a spotter and mapping the location of endangered Blue Iguanas in Grand Cayman, each of the programs offered will include instruction by professionals so participants can make a meaningful contribution to the project they select to participate in as a volunteer for the half-day program. All profits from the half-day programs will be donated to the partner organization.
At The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, guests will spend an inspirational day experiencing the magic of therapeutic riding at The Rainbow Center in Haymarket, Virginia. Reaching out to those with psychological, physical, social and emotional disabilities, the Rainbow Center offers therapeutic riding to individuals aged 3 to adult. Following an informative tour and brief mandatory training, guests will shadow a side-walker, a volunteer who helps ensure the safety of the riders. There is a unique bond that is formed between a rider and a horse, and guests are invited to witness this beautiful interaction and truly positive experience.
Visitors to Berlin can roll up their sleeves, don their work gloves and accompany hotel staff from The Ritz-Carlton as they launch a spring cleanup of the SONNENHOF facilities for children with serious illnesses. Throughout the year other Give Back Getaway programs will be scheduled including planting trees in the garden, renovating the petting zoo and cooking at an August Childrens Day barbecue to entertain and feed the youngsters and hospice staff.
Additional Give Back Getaways include cooking and serving meals at the North Texas Food Bank, preserving monuments and memorials in downtown Washington, D.C., planting native Cyprus trees in the dwindling wetland forests of the Florida Everglades, and building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Jakarta, Indonesia and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Beginning April 1, 2008, guests will be able to check availability of the programs in advance of their stay by accessing the Give Back Getaways page on www.ritzcarlton.com and www.givebackgetaways.com.
Even if people have never volunteered in their home communities before, we believe Give Back Getaways offers a new personal vacation experience which can be memorable and rewarding, explained Simon Cooper.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has always been committed to the support of local charities and causes and our ladies and gentlemen have donated tens of thousands of hours of paid time and their own time to organizations in their neighborhoods. Our employees around the world worked for months to develop the Give Back Getaways offerings and are immensely proud to have the opportunity to share the soul of our
company with our guests explained Sue Stephenson, vice president, Community Footprints. We believe extending this opportunity to our guests to participate in sharing
their time and their skills is a fine example of voluntourism in the hospitality industry.