Long Island students participated in Henry Schein Inc.'s Back To School event on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)

Despite it signaling the end of summer break, hundreds of children were all smiles when they boarded school buses to Henry Schein, Inc.’s corporate headquarters in Melville for a Back To School party.

That’s because Team Schein Members running the program provided backpacks filled with back-to-school items and first-day-of-school outfits for more than 500 pre-identified Long Island students at Thursday’s 21st annual “Back to School” event. Smiles brightened the faces of many students and parents as the individualized boxes were opened, revealing personalized selections and purchases made by Team Schein Members.

“The great thing about helping kids, you can have a generational impact,” said Gerald A. Benjamin, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of LI’s lone Fortune 500 company. “You can have an impact on one child who can make a difference for their family.” 

The carnival-like event was filled with many activities for the students. Children lined up at the ice cream trucks, while others ate cotton candy and hamburgers, had their faces painted, or selected age-appropriate books from the book fair tables. There was even a bouncy slide.

“Back to School” is a flagship initiative of Henry Schein Cares, the company’s global social responsibility program, and is supported by the nonprofit Henry Schein Cares Foundation that works to foster, support, and promote dental, medical, and animal health by helping to increase access to care for communities around the world. With 30 Henry Schein, Inc. locations participating worldwide, and more than 5,000 students selected in the 2018-2019 school year, the impact is widely felt. 

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Eight-year-old Westbury student Jordan Ferguson was excited to find goodies in a folder of her favorite color, purple. The third-grader plans to use her backpack to haul her homework, lunch and binders, but was most excited about her new sneakers, because, according to Jordan, they were “super nice and clean.” With a love for school and an appetite for math, she plans to become an inventor and gamer in the future.

“I’m very impressed,” said Patricia Heckstall, an administrative assistant from ESPOIR Youth Program Inc., a Westbury-based program aimed at providing students in the community with educational opportunities beyond the classroom. “They see they can achieve anything in life and they see that people care about them.” 

At Schein, the corporate culture of giving back is evident by the planning, organization, dedication and participation required to pull off such an event. And as Chief Executive Officer Stanley M. Bergman explained, it is important that the outreach is “done in the most dignified way.”

“I would hope that people that are part of this company really understand the philosophy of ‘doing well by doing good’ and giving back to society because society has been very good to us,” Bergman said. “It’s not about writing a check. It’s about engagement.

Given the smiles and excitement from the numerous volunteers, students, and parents, the evening event was plenty engaging and a great heartfelt way to kick off the school year.

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Henry Schein, Inc’s Back To School event included free ice cream and temporary tatoos for the children. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
Children chosen to participate in the event got backpacks. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
The event included a BBQ buffet. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
Hundreds of children participated in the event. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
The event had a carnival-like atmosphere. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
Henry Schein, Inc.’s CEO Stanley Bergman, alongside Gerry Benjamin, EVP and Chief Administrative Officer stand among several hundred boxes left to be distributed during the company’s 21st annual “Back to School” program, aimed at providing underserved children with donated backpacks filled with school supplies and clothing. (Photo by Jennifer A. Uihlein)
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