MICHIGAN CITY – Dozens of volunteers gathered at Reins of Life last weekend for a special Day of Giving.
It was the annual Comcast Cares initiative, which brings together employees from Comcast, members of the Lakefront Career Network, and others from throughout the community who donate time to help a local nonprofit.
In the matter of a few hours, the newly-insulated arena at Reins of Life had been painted, and outstanding maintenance projects throughout the 40-acre property completed.
Dorota Janik, executive director at Reins of Life, said the lighter, brighter arena and spruced-up acreage looked beautiful and would be appreciated by everyone who volunteers or receives services from the organization.
“This is amazing,” she said. “I am overwhelmed with emotions because we are such a volunteer- and community-driven organization of 400 volunteers a week – and it’s still not enough. We serve over 200 people a week, so without community help, community support, we wouldn’t be able to help all these people with different challenges.”
According to Janik, such projects tend to fall by the wayside as she, her staff and volunteers focus all their attention on serving their riders.
“I want everyone here to know that they are changing a life,” she said. “With every bit of help, every small job, big job and smile, it keeps us going and propels us to be better. Especially the focus on our participants, our riders – they are so amazing and they enrich our lives, together with the people here.
"We are so busy with our daily activities that we never have time to do projects like this," she said. "So, to have everyone chip in with a smile, it’s just mind-blowing. I’m so grateful.”
Greg Gomolka of Comcast’s community and government affairs department is on the board at Reins of Life, and chose that organization as a means of raising awareness about the work Reins of Life does for disabled people in and around Michigan City.
“Comcast, as a company, understands that we are members of each individual community that we serve,” Gomolka said. “We truly believe in becoming part of the fabric of the community – we’re in people’s homes and yards and roads. You see our trucks everywhere.
“So, we really have two initiatives with Comcast Cares – one is to let our employees know and create more of an awareness about the volunteer opportunities that are available to them. And two, to promote volunteerism within the company and within the community.”
Anthony Novak, chair of the Lakefront Career Network, busied himself painting the arena with fellow LCN members. They have partnered with Comcast for the annual Day of Giving for the past three years – first at the Stepping Stone Shelter for Women, then the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City, and this year Reins of Life.
“All very worthy organizations,” Novak said. “We had a great event last night with Reins of Life, and it shows how much work they do and what they do for the kids. Even though the kids aren’t here today, that’s who the work ultimately benefits, so we’re just happy to get out and help in any way we can."