Edwards’ employees have adopted a local high-needs Orange County school, Washington Elementary, and partnered with the United Way. Through this partnership, Edwards has supported this high need elementary school for the past two years. “It’s really important that kids have that personal connection with people in the community,” says Principal Jackie Ochoa. “Our students really benefit from that, and I think the Edwards volunteers benefit from knowing they’re making a huge difference in the lives of our students.” An Irvine-based Human Resource Project Manager has been leading a team of over 25 employees, the Washington Elementary School Volunteerism Committee, who have facilitated over 12 projects. They have wrapped their arms and resources around this school, providing food over school breaks, running classroom specific supply drives before the start of every year, leading STEM activities and starting an after-school STEM club, mentoring students via playing soccer at recess, donating used i-Pads and personal items, reading to students, and cheering the students and their families on in a “red carpet rally” when they come back for the first day of school. Via the United Way Giving Campaign, Edwards has also been able to fund a Financial Empowerment Center at the school, where a financial coach now sits on the campus full-time, providing financial coaching and guidance to families and community members in the school environment that they know and trust.
The Edwards Foundation also funds programs in Nepal and India, including CardioStart, Thoracic Surgery Foundation, Nepal Heart Foundation, and Stanford BioDesign. CardioStart travels to Nepal four times a year to support a heart center in nearby Kathmandu and recently led a public education session for 500 children and their families at a school in Bkathapur, Nepal. Education included: 1) how to identify Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD), 2) what to do if symptoms are identified, 3) and hygiene tips on how to prevent RHD. Our employees distributed 500 toothbrushes and toothpaste that were packaged by volunteers at the Edwards Mumbai office. In partnership with the Thoracic Surgery Foundation, Mumbai volunteers also packaged patient care bags for adults and children, which were given to the nursing staff at Monmohan Cardiovascular Center for distribution to patients. The Nepal Heart Foundation conducted a heart screening of more than 300 students at a local school, where 30 people received an echocardiogram, and identified two of those with valve disease – a young teacher and a 13-year-old student.