Good in everyone

Doug Clark, AVP Client Services, Sedgwick & Chair of the Spirit to Serve Committee, WCI

I believe there is good in everyone.

I believe we all inherently want to make a difference and leave a positive impact on those with whom we come into contact. We strive to be the best parent, child, boss, employee, or friend that we can be. Each of us are uniquely equipped to make a profound difference in someone else’s life based on our own experiences, challenges, and triumphs. I believe there’s an eagerness in most of us to help someone in their time of need when we are presented with an opportunity to do so.

There is good in everyone.

I’m sure you can think of past situations that you didn’t plan on… but there you are, in a position to make a difference in someone’s life. You extend a lending hand to a colleague, a friend, a family member. Maybe you just take the extra time to really listen to an injured worker’s frustrations and worries and provide the reassurance and comfort that they need at a confusing time in their life. Not because you are obligated to or expect something in return but because deep down inside, you know it’s the right thing to do. You might agree with me when I say that I’ve found an unexpected byproduct of doing so is experiencing joy in knowing I’ve helped another person. Growing up the son of a single mom, I’ve been the recipient of other kindness many times. The kindness and generosity that strangers showed my family and me is something I’ll never forget. I believe in paying it forward…and I believe others, especially within our industry, do too!

There is good in everyone.

I’ve found this to be the case with thousands of our industry peers within the Workers’ Compensation Institute (WCI) that have come together in recent years to help a very special cause called, Give Kids the World (GKTW) village. GKTW is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort nestled in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with critical illnesses and their families.

Imagine, you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with a critical illness. You’ve spent countless days and nights in the hospital. Medical expenses have taken a toll on your family. Your child has become numbingly used to hearing the word “No”. “No, we don’t have the money to”; “No, your health won’t allow you to”; “No, sorry sweetie, it’s not wheelchair accessible”; No, No, No. Then one day, a wish is granted and now you find yourself staying at Give Kids the World Village. Upon arrival, you see whimsical buildings straight out of a storybook. You’re greeted with smiles and friendly faces and the word “YES”. Your child is told, “Yes, you get to stay in the master bedroom of a villa that looks like a mini castle” and “Yes, you can eat ice cream for breakfast”; “You want to be in a parade? Yes, we can make that happen”. You see a smile begin to form on your child’s face. On your way to your villa, you pass the Castle of Miracles and even a large magical snoring tree, aptly named “Ol’ Elmer” that makes your whole family erupt into a fit of giggles. Your child is beaming from ear to ear as they see the Carrousel and the Train and even horseback riding that are all handicap accessible. There’s a life size game of Candyland, Battle Boats and many, many other games for your entire family to engage in. Later that night your family attends the Pirates and Princess party and goes swimming for the first time in the wheelchair- accessible pool while watching a movie that is displayed onto the sails of a Pirate ship. Every night of the week is a different celebration at the village -Christmas, birthdays, even Halloween complete with trick or treating throughout the village. It’s a magical place that inspires hope, creates priceless memories, and helps your family celebrate life!

There is good in everyone.

I became acquainted with GKTW 9 years ago when I decided to celebrate my birthday with my family and friends by volunteering at the village. I’ll never forget the impact it made on all of us. I wanted to do more. It was a unique experience that led to many more visits to the village. That decision 9 years ago transformed my life and ultimately positioned me into overseeing WCI’s annual Spirit to Serve volunteer day.

When presented with the opportunity to become the chair of WCI’s GKTW Spirit to Serve committee, I was a little apprehensive at first but the words of Jim McConnaughhay, Founder & General Chair of the WCI Conference, continued to echo in my head… This was a chance to get a group of professionals in our industry from all sides to come together – employers, employees, attorneys representing employers, attorneys representing injured workers, third party administrators, doctors, nurses, judges, special service providers and even injured workers; putting aside our differences and coming together to support a common goal. That was something to be proud of and is worth my time – a cause that is bigger than myself that will help so many deserving families. This event should be advertised and recognized as it is the kids and families at the village that have and will continue to receive the benefits of our industry’s collective efforts. It’s inspiring to see so many leaders step up from different companies and contribute to this cause, year over year.

There is good in everyone

At Sedgwick, you’ve heard us say “Caring Counts”. It’s not just a marketing tagline, it’s the approach we all take within this industry as injured workers rely on us to become whole again. Working in this industry has opened the doors to become a part of something bigger than ourselves. This notion of everyone wanting to be a part of something bigger has become evident each year as we witness the growth and participation in the WCI volunteer day and Gala activities. We started out with just 40 participants 7 years ago. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, we had over 1,200 volunteers comprised of 156 separate companies -all within our industry! Painting, building, landscaping, cleaning and giving back all due to the echoing idea that: There is good in everyone! In 2021, we slowly began resuming our efforts with our Night of a Million Lights event held at the village. It was a huge success and such a memorable night for all who joined us!

There is good in everyone.

To summarize and try to put everything into perspective, what has taken us around 24 hours to do collectively in manual service projects, would have taken the village 7 years to complete! In addition to our volunteer efforts, we’ve raised well over $500,000 through our Gala’s, sponsorships, silent auctions, and donations. GKTW relies on volunteers and sponsorships for their survival and our industry has stepped up! I want to share the link to this year’s event in hopes that if you are not already participating in WCI’s GKTW day on August 20, 2022, that you will take the time to check it out and consider joining us in some manner.

Sometimes, we just need to be reminded or presented with an opportunity to act and participate. I encourage anyone reading this article to not only join us for our event but to also to look into local charities, shelters, rehab facilities or just help out a fellow neighbor when the opportunity presents itself. Make a difference where you can. The minute you do, you will immediately feel better for doing so. And do you know why? Yeah, you guessed it – because I believe there is good in everyone!

Hope to see you soon!