Paying it Forward
By Tiffany Prior, Assistant Vice President
Many people do not realize that the beginning of CLE started from a small favor fulfilled by a woman named Dr. Irene Spalter. After guiding a friend’s son with learning disabilities through college, other parents began referring their children to Dr. Spalter for assistance resulting in the establishment of the first College Living Experience in 1989. Needless to say, no one knew this simple, yet meaningful, service would eventually impact the lives of countless individuals for the better and in a way that was unconventional at the time.
As a company, we are continuing to reflect on this simple service action which has now expanded to providing support to hundreds of students with disabilities each year. The staple services of CLE began with one woman and one act of service. Now, it is our responsibility as an organization to continue this mission outside of our program by paying it forward.
Through CLE Service Days, the staff and students at CLE work together with a common purpose of giving back to others in their community. As we leave an impression on the next generation of young adults, it is important as an organization that we lead by example and create opportunities of service to others without expectation. From spending time playing games and getting to know residents in an Assisted Living facility, to prepping a nonprofit organization for a summer camp that offers therapies to children with Autism, each CLE Center selected a meaningful service opportunity within their local area.
This year, over 100 CLE staff members and students gave of their time totaling more than 420 hours of giving back and paying it forward. Relationships were built, perspectives were changed, and sweat was poured, but most importantly, through the hard work of all, a difference was made. By the end of 2013, we anticipate having 1,000 service hours completed from both CLE staff and students.
As an organization, we consider CLE Service Days an investment in each other, our students, and our communities. Whether the service is a single or collective effort, sporadic or organized, being of service is our privilege. We are committed to lead the next generation of young adults by example through giving back and paying it forward.