JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- CSX announced today that it is kicking off an eight-month-long community service project, entitled Beyond Our Rails: Project Sanctuary (www.beyondourrails.org) that infuses five days of management training between now and February 2012 with the company's core value of giving back to the communities where its employees live and work. Through painting, mending fences, replacing windows, and building new gardens and a compost bin, CSX has committed to revitalizing The Sanctuary on 8th Street, a learning haven for children in one of the Jacksonville's toughest neighborhoods, all while instilling a greater sense of community connectedness in its next generation of leaders from around the country.
Beginning June 4th, groups of newly hired or promoted CSX managers will team with CSX's existing management ranks at The Sanctuary on 8th Street to renovate the early 1900's era building and surrounding grounds. 500 CSX employees will work an estimated 1,200 service hours during the project, and for every hour volunteered, the CSX Foundation will direct $10 to a charitable organization of each employee's choice through its Dollars for Doers program.
How does this all fit into the larger plans of one of the country's leading transportation companies? Tori Kaplan, director of corporate citizenship for CSX, explains, "It is a long-standing belief at CSX that helping to build stronger communities makes us better as a company. The challenges that the kids at Sanctuary on 8th Street are up against are daunting. Our hope is to provide them with a greater sense of pride in this special place where they play, work and learn – all while further cultivating CSX's commitment to service in every member of our management team."
Originally built as the United States' sixth established post office, The Sanctuary on 8th Street purchased its building in May of 1999 to serve as the headquarters for this non-profit organization which provides after school programs, summer camps and a home school for inner-city children, many of whom live in poverty. Anticipated outcomes of the project include:
- Expanding the experiential learning-focused gardening program, the aim of which is to connect kids, many for the first time in their lives, directly with their food sources;
- Growing an entrepreneurial-focused pilot catering project into a full-time offering;
- Improving safety in the playground area by fully enclosing the structure;
- Encouraging Earth-friendly recycle and reuse practices through composting and expanded garden space;
- Improving health and wellness opportunities for children, including installation of fitness stations and improvement of all playground facilities.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the work that CSX has committed to our organization and by extension our community," commented Vicky Watkins, executive director of The Sanctuary on 8th Street. "This is an unprecedented gift of time and resources, and the value of hands-on learning through the expanded garden program is immeasurable. Most of all, it shows our kids that there are people in the larger community who care about them, their well-being, and who want them to have a better chance to be successful adults."
"So many elements of this project fit with what we value at CSX – promoting strong communities through giving, health and wellness, safety, and being good stewards of the environment," Tori Kaplan went on to say. "Our hope is that this type of meaningful grassroots volunteerism will continue to inspire a legacy of community service in our management team to take back to their hometowns as well."
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation's leading transportation companies, providing rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services. The company's transportation network spans approximately 21,000 miles, with service to 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia, and connects to more than 240 short line and regional railroads and more than 70 ocean, river, and lake ports. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com.