“Even the smallest thing you can do to brighten the day of a child can be incredibly important,” according to Ted Odendahl. “And it’s incredibly rewarding, too.”
That is why Odendahl, a sales executive for Dimond Bros. Insurance in Freeport, Illinois, first got involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Freeport & Stephenson County. Years later, he is still working to make lives better — and now serves as president of the organization’s board, too.
The Boys & Girls Club supports youths of all backgrounds with programs and activities in five key areas: character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.
Dimond Bros. Insurance staff Valerie DeBoer and Amber Cummins help kids write farewell cards for a departing member of the Club’s staff.
“Our mission is to help these kids and young adults develop the qualities they need to become responsible citizens and leaders,” said James Rhyne, executive director of the nonprofit.
“This was a part of a community effort 20 years ago to establish a physical location with safe recreation and learning facilities,” Odendahl said. “It houses not only the Boys & Girls Club programs, but also several Head Start classrooms and a sliding-scale daycare provider. They have changed lives for over a generation.”
Dimond Bros. and the company’s employees in Freeport have certainly played a role in that ongoing success. They have hosted ice-cream parties, purchased Christmas gifts for the kids, helped with maintenance and improvement projects, participated in fundraisers and more. The club has also been the beneficiary of Dimond Bros.’ “Jeans on Fridays” donations.
Last December, Dimond Bros. Insurance donated funds raised annually from their “Jeans on Fridays” fundraiser to the Club. Here, four of their staff deliver the money.
The company strongly encourages community giving, allowing paid time off for volunteering and supporting a variety of causes, Odendahl said.
A 2017 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen award will amplify those efforts. The honor comes with a donation of up to $10,000 to the Boys & Girls Club from Safeco on behalf of Dimond Bros. Insurance.
Kids at the Boys & Girls Club impress agent Ted Odendahl with their computer skills.
“This donation will help address one of the club’s greatest needs — updating the computer lab,” Odendahl said. “For $5,000, they will be able to purchase 25 Chromebooks with software allowing the club to integrate after-school programs with the local school district.” Additional funds could go toward establishing wireless access points and supporting the club’s STEM-related educational offerings, he added.
“This award is a testament to the dedication of Ted and the team at Dimond Bros.,” Rhyne said. “They truly believe in our mission, and in building a stronger community. We’re honored to have their support.”
Learn more about our winners: