At Rand, we care about what we do and how we do it. We have built our reputation by treating clients and employees fairly, honestly, and professionally, and performing our work with merit and distinction. Integral to that mission is our commitment to help others by supporting people and organizations in the communities where we live and work. Through our "Rand Gives Back" program, the company strives to contribute a minimum of 1% of the firm's gross billing (not just 1% of "net profits," as many companies pledge) to a variety of volunteer efforts and charitable giving. The program offers employees the opportunity to use their talents and interests in ways that mean the most to them. Below are some recent projects and programs that Rand is proud to support and participate in.
Drawing on his love of historic architecture, masonry, and teaching, Rand Senior Project Manager Thomas Russack developed and leads a program for training inner-city youth in the craft of masonry preservation. Tom's Masonry Preservation Training Program, sponsored and administered by the Abyssinian Development Corporation, introduces students to preservation craftsmanship through a combination of classroom lessons and hands-on training. Tom teaches students the fundamentals of the masonry trade, such as how to mix mortar, use a trowel, re-point masonry joints, and erect pipe scaffolding, while emphasizing the importance of high-quality workmanship, site safety, and a strong work ethic.
Thirty-two students are enrolled in the program, which meets each week in a West 129th Street classroom. Many Rand employees have assisted Tom in teaching individual sections. In addition, the Workforce Development part of the program enables students to earn their high school equivalency diploma and explore career and further educational opportunities in the field. Rand is proud to have Tom and the other Rand volunteers instilling their passion for masonry preservation to the next generation of craftsmen.
Rand Project Associate Albelisa Gonzalez puts the fun in fundraising. As a member of the Children's Happy Faces Foundation Events Committee, she helps find sponsors and organizes activities to raise money for the foundation and the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Albelisa has participated in the foundation's joyous Easter parties at the Ronald McDonald House in New York City, which provides temporary housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families. Kids enjoy games with a clown, an Easter egg hunt, a visit by the Easter Bunny, and plenty of food, candy, and prizes. Albelisa and her Rand colleagues have also joined Happy Faces for a golf outing fund raiser and bowling auction, a barbeque, and a charitable event at Sleepy Hollow Country Club featuring golf, tennis, dominoes, and a horse-riding clinic. Given Albelisa’s love of helping children, the kids aren’t the only ones with happy faces.
What stands 17 rows high, curves 80 columns around, tilts two feet outward, weighs 2,000 pounds, and helps feed hundreds of hungry New Yorkers? Rand's "Torque for Hunger" Canstruction sculpture, of course.
RAND Engineering & Architecture, PC was one of 40 engineering and architectural firms that participated in the 16th annual New York Canstruction Design/Build competition, in which teams build elaborate sculptures using cans of food to raise awareness of hunger. Rand's "Torque for Hunger" design, modeled after Richard Serra's "Torqued Ellipse" exhibit of towering curved and bending steel plates, was comprised of 3,468 cans of Nutrament fortified milk and Royal Dansk butter cookies. It took Rand's Canstruction team approximately five and a half hours to build the structure, and the entry won one of two Honorable Mention awards—an impressive achievement given it was Rand's first time participating in Canstruction. Other award categories were Best Meal, Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, and Jurors' Favorite.
"We're very excited to have won an award in our first Canstruction competition," said Rand's Canstruction team leader, Young Suh. "It was a lot of fun using our design and engineering experience to build a unique sculpture, and it's satisfying knowing that the food will feed those in need." Participating with Suh on the Rand team were Sully Espinal, Albelisa Gonzalez, Jacqui Hogans, Sara Macias, Nzinga McBain, Radek Szymborski, and Gabriel Zinn. Rand and its employees contributed more than $5,000 for the cost of the canned foods.
Rand's "Torque for Hunger" and the other Canstruction sculptures were displayed for two weeks at the World Financial Center in Manhattan in November 2008. After the exhibits were "decanstructed," the cans were donated to City Harvest, a New York City food bank. The New York Canstruction competition is administered by the Society for Design Administration and the American Institute of Architects. For more information on Canstruction visit www.canstruction.org.
Having practiced various martial arts for more than 20 years, Rand Project Associate John Monroe knows a thing or two about training and discipline. Now he shares that experience with children by teaching them self-defense and giving them the confidence that goes with it. John, a black belt in jujitsu, instructed a group of 30 kids from kindergarten through fifth grade in the fundamentals of Ninpo, Aikido, and Isshin Ryu karate in a 10-week program at Woods Road Elementary School in North Babylon, N.Y. The program, which also offers basketball and plaster craft, focuses on developing the kids' basic coordination, strength, and agility while providing a fun and controlled environment. "The kids were energetic and eager to learn new moves," says John. "It was great to watch their skills and self-confidence grow over the course of the program." The halls of Woods Road Elementary School couldn't be safer.
It was yet another reason for kids to look forward to the weekend: The Saturday Art Program was a 10-week program created for the Hunt's Point Mental Health Center in the South Bronx to help children build confidence and develop social skills. Rand Project Associate Albelisa Gonzalez worked with approximately 60 special needs children and teens between the ages of 6 and 18 to create art projects in architecture, painting, sculpture, collage, and jewelry making. Rand provided the art supplies for Albelisa's classes, and other Rand volunteers happily helped out. At the end of the program, the children's work was displayed in an exhibition held for family members and clinic staff. The children gained a new appreciation for art and their own creative and social capabilities, while Albelisa made lots of new friends who won't soon forget her enthusiasm and encouragement.
Rand and its employees are proud to support the following social service groups and organizations:
Abyssinian Development Corporation
American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association
Boy Scouts of America
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center
Central Park Conservancy
Children's Happy Faces Foundation
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
Fashion Institute of Technology
Forest Hills Jewish Center
Hunt's Point Multi-Service Center
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
La Salle Academy
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Notre Dame School
Ronald McDonald House
Special Olympics New York
St. Barnabas Healthcare Facilities
West Side Kollel