United Way Agency Spotlight: Joplin Family Y

We value a culture of giving and encourage our employees to Do Some Good. Throughout the course of our Corporate campaign, we’ll be spotlighting several of the incredible agencies that United Way serves in our local community. Times may be difficult, but we have witnessed communities rising to meet hard moments. If in a position to give this year, we encourage you to support your local agency, too.

Joplin Family Y

The Joplin Family YMCA has been a fixture of the Joplin community for 129 years. You might know them best for their fitness offerings, which include cardio and strength equipment, group classes, and personal training. However, they’re more than just a gym and the name says it all – Joplin Family YMCA.

Staff at the Joplin Family Y work every day to strengthen the foundations of our community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Often, this mission impacts the families they serve in a very personal way.

When schools shut down during the pandemic, many essential workers struggled to find safe childcare. As a response, the Joplin Family YMCA implemented an Emergency Childcare Program to assist those families, which provided a healthy breakfast, lunch, snacks, assistance with their school’s remote learning activities, daily fitness activities, crafts and STEM projects.

Nikki’s son was one of 46 local children served by the program. It provided a safe, fun atmosphere for the kids, and allowed parents to continue serving our community during the crisis. “I’m very grateful,” said Nikki. “This program offered us both some consistency during a very difficult time.” Nicki even noticed that her son’s attitude greatly improved thanks to his experience there. While daily life felt very unfamiliar and chaotic during that time, the Emergency Childcare Program helped families navigate it together.

Like other nonprofit organizations around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a large toll on the Y. They were forced to manage facility closures, suspend memberships, and cancel all sporting programs. Enrollment in their afterschool programs in Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction, and Carterville were also severely impacted. These unexpected financial pressures forced them to make many tough decisions regarding operating expenses. However, they remain dedicated to providing a safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment for the community, the members of the Y, and our local children.

As they begin to reopen their programs, the Joplin Family Y is particularly grateful for the support they receive from the United Way of Southwest Missouri. “The gifts we receive from United Way allow us to better focus on the families we serve,” says Cookie Estrada, Chief Executive Officer. “The health of our community is more vital now, than it has ever been.”

The Joplin Family Y welcomes the specialized talents of community volunteers as well. You can support their mission by providing services including Information Technology assistance, landscaping, reading to children, coaching, or by serving on their Board of Directors.


Mississippi Teams Clean Up Their Community

At Leggett & Platt, environmental compliance efforts ensure that air emissions, wastewater discharges, waste handling, and chemical use and storage are in full compliance with all local, state, and federal government regulationsOur Environmental team collaborates with branches to implement and sustain the Eco Initiative, our companywide environmental management system. 

Part of the program extends the Eco Initiative well beyond operations – encouraging L&P employees to take an active role in cleaning up their communities. 

Several L&P branches in Mississippi realized this was even more vital this year. During a time of heightened stress, anxiety, and isolation, many people depend on their parks and green spaces for much-needed relief – mentally, physically, and emotionally. After evaluating the needs in their community, the teams decided to volunteer their time and energy to make improvements at their local Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi 

Four L&P branches were involved in the endeavor: Omega Motion, Super Sagless, Elite Comfort Solutions, and Tupelo Sleeper. Their environmental teams recruited employee-volunteers to provide electrical updates to the Boys and Girls Club facility, clean, trim hedges, pull trees and overgrowth, plant roses, paint safety zones, and more at the adjacent public park.  

“One of the reasons we chose this project was to give the children and staff members at this facility a sense of pride,” said Misti Lambert, Director of Environmental, Safety, Quality, and Continuous Improvement at Omega Motion. “Out of several possible projects in the area, we felt like this would make the biggest impact in our area. We want people to know that L&P is more than just a place to workOur employees want to make a positive impact in our community.” 

The laundry list of improvements might have seemed daunting to most, but fortunately, team members were eager to get started. Some even brought their own equipment to make their efforts more efficient and fast-paced!  

The pictures in the gallery below clearly show the impact this project had in their neighborhood. We appreciate their commitment to Eco Initiative and their efforts to provide a safe, beautiful recreational space for families in their community.  

Are you interested in joining a team that hustles together to Do Some Good? Omega and Super Sagless are both hiring for roles in their manufacturing facilities! You can apply for open positions at Omega here and Super Sagless here, both located in Tupelo, Mississippi. Follow our blog next week to learn more about the positions and culture offered at their facilities.  

United Way Agency Spotlight: Children’s Haven

We value a culture of giving and encourage our employees to Do Some Good. Throughout the course of our Corporate campaign, we’ll be spotlighting several of the incredible agencies that United Way serves in our local community. Times may be difficult, but we have witnessed communities rising to meet hard moments. If in a position to give this year, we encourage you to support your local agency, too.

Children’s Haven

The staff at Children’s Haven face crisis every day. While the unique circumstances of this year’s pandemic have made their work more challenging, the goal remains the same – to support children through a family crisis with as little interruption to their life as possible.

Children’s Haven serves as the only shelter in our area where parents can preserve their custody, despite being separated from their children temporarily. The home provides a unique and crucial service to families struggling with homelessness, hospitalization, fear of abuse or neglect, lack of food or utilities, parents seeking mental health or substance abuse treatment, or even in situations involving incarceration.

In addition to a safe, temporary home, the Children’s Haven program provides a full-range of services designed to make them feel comfortable including:

  • Transportation to “home schools,” doctor’s appointments, and other activities
  • Educational support including homework assistance, school supplies and collaboration with teachers
  • Nutritional support including meals and healthy snacks each day
  • Field trips and fun activities
  • Case management to connect families to resources to solve the crises they are facing

Children are cared for by professional, trained, and screened Child Advocates, who work diligently to maintain a positive space for the children.

Leggett & Platt has supported the mission of Children’s Haven since their beginning in 2003, even donating mattresses to offer the children a comfortable place to rest their head at night.

To protect the health of the children they serve, volunteers are not allowed to help in the home this year. Stephanie Theis, Executive Director, is very proud of their team as they have taken on additional responsibility. “Our staff are dedicated to keeping us going 24/7. They continue to rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of these kids every day.”

The financial donations they receive from United Way are also very important. “So many things are changing each day,” says Stephanie. “Knowing we can count on that consistent support is a huge relief to us.”

United Way Agency Spotlight: Children’s Center of SWMO

We value a culture of giving and encourage our employees to Do Some Good. Throughout the course of our Corporate campaign, we’ll be spotlighting several of the incredible agencies that United Way serves in our local community. Times may be difficult, but we have witnessed communities rising to meet hard moments. If in a position to give this year, we encourage you to support your local agency, too.

Children’s Center of SWMO

Children’s Center of SWMO exists to provide a safe haven for children undergoing investigation of and treatment for abuse.

With a child-friendly setting and specially-trained staff, the Center helps children feel as comfortable as possible, even while undergoing forensic interviews, medical examinations, or trauma counseling sessions. The hallways are filled with brightly colored superhero art. They also feature real superheroes –displaying the handprints of local children who have completed the Center’s therapy programs.

Every handprint represents a child’s story and gives voice to hurt, hope, and healing.  Here is the story of one:

A preschool teacher made a hotline call after noticing bruising on a young student. The 5-year-old victim had been enduring physical and emotional abuse from his mother’s boyfriend. While he hadn’t told a safe adult about his abuse, it was materializing in anger and aggressive behavior. The boy was brought to the Children’s Center and during his interview, he disclosed details of the abuse. The child also received a medical examination that determined physical evidence to confirm the allegations. The recorded interview and medical examination proved vital in the investigation and prosecution of his perpetrator.

The young boy was immediately recommended for Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) to help him heal. During the first session, his (non-offending) grandmother reported he was suffering from severe nightmares, irrational fear, uncontrolled anger, and was struggling to control his emotions. He had a lack of attachment that made him feel unsafe and fear abandonment.

The clinical child therapist began by teaching him to do deep belly breaths, a relaxation coping skill called balloon breathing. Then, they began a session of play therapy which allows children to express their feelings in creative ways.

At first, the boy chose a lamb to portray himself and asked the counselor to choose a “bad guy.” She chose an alligator and the boy self-directed the puppet show, which featured a very relatable plot. The lamb was brave, safe, kind, and encouraged others to be nice. He was attacked by the alligator, but then he was able to convince him to stop. In the end, he built a safe place to protect all the animals and himself by building a fence around them. His play naturally created boundaries and safety.

After seven months of these weekly sessions, the boy’s symptoms subsided to a normal range. When asked how he felt, his response was: “Happy, calm, loved, and surprised.” He also knew he was safe at his grandparents’ house, his school, church, and at The Children’s Center.

This little one’s story didn’t end with the disclosure of abuse, it continued until he processed through his trauma. The Children’s Center helped him find his voice and new hope.

During his last session, the boy directed one last puppet show. He picked two dogs to play the good guys. A wolf and a T-Rex were chosen as bad guys. Just as many times before, the brave lamb saved the day.

Happy Manufacturing Day!

Every year, manufacturers across the United States celebrate MFG Day to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing.

This year looks a little different, as we’ve worked hard to increase our safety protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our facilities (which aren’t represented by this pre-pandemic video). But our sentiment is the same – we’re proud to be a diversified manufacturer!

Top 5 Customer Service Skills You Can Use in Your Everyday Life

We believe customer service is more than a mindset. It’s more than the skills to make a sale or fix a problem.

Customer service is about maintaining healthy relationships that are mutually beneficial for everyone involved. You can improve your customer service at work and at home. Here are five places to start:

Empathy. Try to connect with and relate to the people in your life – from your friend Tim to your Great Aunt Tina. Putting yourself in their shoes and understanding how they feel can make all the difference when they seek your help or input.

Responsibility. Hold yourself responsible for maintaining your personal and professional relationships. If a problem arises, simply having the ability to say “I’m sorry” and “Let me try to fix it” can help ease tension and demonstrate that you’re willing to take responsibility for misunderstandings or mistakes.

Communication. Clear communication is one of the best ways to ensure that both parties understand each other’s needs. And listen up! By listening to someone, not just doing the talking, you’re actually taking the time to hear them. Asking questions can also make them feel valued and respected.

Creativity. Break up your normal, routine decisions. Collaborate with new colleagues at work or discover a random activity to do with your family. Simple choices like these exercise your creative mind, which comes into play when you need to solve a problem or simply keep boredom at bay.

Positivity. A good attitude shows others that you’re truly motivated to be there for them, which helps the other four tips also fall into place. You’ve got this!

The ADKAR Model: A Change Management Tool We Can Use Every Day

This year has unfolded with many unexpected changes, and sometimes it can all feel overwhelming. We asked one of our Managers of Change Excellence at L&P to weigh in on the topics of change, uncertainty, and how to move forward.

She said one change management concept that comes to mind can be used both at work and at home – the ADKAR model, which stands for Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement. This model originated from Prosci to guide organizational change.

“We can make change easier by applying this model to our own personal experiences, and also reduce those ‘out-of-control’ feelings,” she said.

She gave us a quick look at the model and how we can take bits and pieces of it for our own unique circumstances.

Awareness. First, you must try to understand what any specific change is about – why it’s happening and when, who is involved, and what needs to be done about it.

Desire. Next, you need to have a reason to want to make the change. This can mean looking at what you have to gain, but it can also involve understanding the adverse consequences of not changing. For example, you may consider continuing your education in order to advance your career. But you might alternatively consider the impact on you and your family’s future by not pursuing it (i.e., what might it mean not to pursue a higher salary?).

Knowledge. Learning what you need to know in order to succeed is very important. In business, we typically offer various types of training. You can also ask a more experienced friend or family member for insight, do a little research, or even practice to help you feel some competence or mastery. For example, if you would like to learn how to fish, you might check out some fishing videos and ask a friend or family member with experience for help getting started.

Ability. Ask yourself what you need in order to succeed. Look for enablers and barriers. In the fishing example, some enablers would include fishing gear and access to water. Lack of time or even the wrong bait would be barriers to your success.

Reinforcement. Listen for feedback – which can come in many forms. Also, reward yourself for making your change, whatever it is, and keep in mind that small rewards along the way are usually more effective than a big reward at the end.

Giving Hope Through United Way

As a longstanding partner of United Way, Leggett & Platt believes now, more than ever, we need to live united.

2020 has impacted each of us in different ways. Throughout the pandemic, our local United Way agencies have pushed to expand their programs to respond to increased need – all while adjusting to greatly depleted resources. In an effort to protect the health and safety of their clients, many have even lost valued on-site volunteers. Despite these challenges, they continue to provide vital services to our community, including medical assistance, literacy training, family counseling, and safe havens from abuse.

To learn more about United Way’s impact in our community, check out this video:

Today, we are launching the annual 2020-2021 pledging campaign at our corporate office. Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be spotlighting several incredible agencies funded by our local United Way agencies. Times may be difficult, but we have witnessed communities rising to meet hard moments. If in a position to give this year, we encourage you to support your local agency, too.

Together, we can give hope where it’s needed most.

Throwback Thursday: Leaders of the Past

Harry M. Cornell, Sr. (far right) discusses business with engineer Carl Kirchner and another unidentified Leggett & Platt employee. Cornell joined L&P’s board of directors in 1934 and became vice president and sales manager in 1935.

Staying Safe and Clean: How Disinfecting Sprayers Work at L&P

Amidst the pandemic, businesses have adopted new safety measures in order to keep employees safe and operations running. Leggett & Platt is no different – our employees around the world continue to make us proud by committing to safety protocols throughout the workday.

As part of our safety efforts, we’re committed to disinfection measures to keep our facilities clean. One new tool we’ve begun to use is a handheld or backpack-style disinfecting sprayer, which allows cleaning teams to disinfect faster and with more complete coverage than traditional disinfectant spray.

These sprayers have been adopted by schools, airlines, gyms, and countless other businesses since the pandemic began.

A member of the cleaning team at our Automotive facility in Juarez, Mexico, puts the electrostatic sprayer to good use on hard-to-clean equipment.

The science behind the sprayers is interesting: they place a positive charge on the cleaning solution before it enters the nozzle, which is then attracted to negatively charged surfaces when sprayed (most surfaces are negatively or neutrally charged). This allows the sprayers to more completely cover commonly touched or hard-to-clean surfaces and equipment.

The benefits of these sprayers are numerous. “There is no need to wipe a surface after spraying, thereby reducing any cross-contamination that wiping surfaces can cause,” says Josh Ford, a member of our Corporate Procurement team.

“They are easy to operate, require minimal training, and spray up to 65% fewer chemicals than traditional sprayers.” Plus, after spraying, it only takes a few minutes for the surface to dry completely, thus requiring no extra work!