CHEVY CHASE, Md., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- It doesn't take a lot to make a positive difference to someone's life. A few words of encouragement, a helping hand and a little inspiration go a long way - especially when you're young. This has been the guiding principle behind Succeed Through Service, the global program started by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. as part of its Community Footprints social responsibility initiative.
All 75 hotels as well as Ritz-Carlton residences and destination clubs, take part in Succeed Through Service partnering with local schools and youth organizations worldwide, many of which work closely with children facing economic, social or personal challenges. After just two years, The Ritz-Carlton has helped over 6,000 youngsters around the world. "Succeed Through Service focuses on giving young people a bright future through life-skills training, career exploration, and service-learning projects," says Sue Stephenson, vice president, community footprints. "As the name suggests, Succeed Through Service is all about helping young people thrive and inspiring them do their best."
Many of the children who participate in Succeed Through Service face a variety of challenges and the partnerships with Ritz-Carlton hotels include low income schools, orphanages, centers for children with disabilities and organizations working with homeless youngsters. "We are committed to enhancing the lives, well-being and career prospects for young people in communities in which we operate hotels around the world, and Succeed Through Service gives us a platform to deliver on that promise. I am very proud of the meaningful difference our Ritz-Carlton ladies and gentlemen are making by helping these young students flourish," says Herve Humler, president and chief operations officer.
The driving force behind the development of Succeed Through Service came from an awareness of the growing global issue of children not completing their education. In the United States, for example, 1.2 million students drop out of school every year (an average of one child every 26 seconds) and drop out rates in many other countries continue to rise. The reasons vary greatly in each country but there are some common themes. Many children from low-income neighborhoods don't have access to positive role models, can't envisage a career and don't feel connected to their communities. Aiming to tackle these challenges, Succeed Through Service evolved from pilot projects started by several Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world that were offering mentoring support and life skills training to young students and helping them to engage in community projects.
Today The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a proud partner of America's Promise Alliance. Under the leadership of Founding Chairman General Colin Powell and current Chair Alma Powell, America's Promise Alliance has the mission to help all young people in the US graduate from high school ready for college, work and life. Through this partnership a Succeed Through Service blueprint has been developed for Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world.
"We thank you because you're not only investing in kids, you are investing in the future of our country and the other countries where you are located – and you're investing in the future of Ritz-Carlton," said General Colin Powell.
The concept is straightforward. Over the course of a year, the children visit their partner Ritz-Carlton to enjoy presentations by different members of staff designed to reveal the career benefits of continuing education. Secondly, the students take part in life-skills training modules – such as social skills and etiquette, presentation skills or the power and the teamwork – that are aimed at boosting self-confidence. Finally, they play an active role in one of the hotel's Community Footprints projects to learn the importance of contributing to their community. The students' community projects focus on one of three key areas – hunger and poverty relief, child literacy or environmental conservation – but the aim is always the same, to show students that they can give something back to others.
And, as the world celebrates Global Youth Service Day this week, Succeed Through Service projects represent a great global showcase of youthful achievement ranging from students helping at a nursing home in Singapore, youngsters in Phoenix participating in 'penny war' fundraisers to benefit a local children's residential home, students in New York planting trees in urban settings, children in Arlington, Virginia growing produce for their local food assistance center, youngsters in DC carrying out park work at the Washington Monument, students in Powerscourt, Ireland raising funds for the HIV/AIDS program at their adopted partner school in Africa, while in Miami teenagers initiating a beach clean-up to protect endangered marine life.
The youngsters' feedback on their community projects makes for inspiring reading:
Aimee H: "It changed my life knowing I can help other people."
Sabrina G: "The project has opened my eyes to how people can so easily change a life."
Aratza V: "Succeed Through Service helped me see how important it is to help people."
"After two years we are delighted with the success of Succeed Through Service," says Stephenson. "We welcome the opportunity to share our experiences with others. Succeed Through Success is easy to execute and its impact can last a lifetime."
Click here to see a video about Succeed Through Service.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 75 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an award that originated in 1987. Its purpose is to promote the awareness of quality excellence, recognize quality achievements of companies and publicize successful quality strategies. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company won the award in 1992 and 1999. For more information, or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR).
SOURCE Marriott International, Inc.