Wearing “Team Hasbro” T-shirts, 20 employees from the Rhode Island-based toy manufacturer spent Friday painting an inspirational mural and bringing a fresh look to Friends Way in Conimicut. Friends Way, a non-profit on West Shore Road, provides grief counseling for children and their families.
The centerpiece of the volunteer team’s efforts, headed by Brian Wilk of Warwick, is a mural depicting a cobblestone path extending from a gateway into a clear blue horizon. In the foreground is an arching tree, its graceful limbs hiding just where the path leads. On the other side is a quote from poet Maya Angelou and a butterfly: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the change it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Artist Elizabeth Alvares drew the scene and selected the quote.
“It is a peaceful, colorful location … a park, it reminds me of that,” she said as Hasbro volunteers, using a projector, worked to recreate her work on an interior wall of Friends Way offices on West Shore Road.
The mural is more than just a tranquil scene to Alvares. About a year ago, she lost her 17-year-old daughter to a sledding accident. She and her 15-year-old son are among the 100 families that use Friends Way services.
The volunteers knew the connection between the artist and Friends Way. Having Alvares there to guide them made their work all the more meaningful.
What they were doing was part of Hasbro’s inauguration of their Global Day of Joy, when all of the company’s 5,000 employees in 36 countries were offered the opportunity to do community service projects without losing the day’s pay. The company routinely provides employees four hours of paid time per month to volunteer with child-focused organizations in their communities. On the same day, Hasbro donated more than 400,000 toys and games, valued at more than $3 million, to children around the world.
In a statement, the company’s president and CEO, Brian Goldner, said Hasbro’s commitment to helping children where employees live and work started more than 90 years ago.
“With the help of our many charitable partners, this initiative provided our talented team of employees with a glimpse into the incredible impact that can be made for children in need across the globe when we work together,” he said.
The Hasbro team worked throughout the building.
Drop cloths covered the floors and ladders extended from the entrance stairway to the walls above.
Alvares also directed the painting of a room where the colors, like a rainbow, transitioned from one color to the next. She called it “lazure,” or veils of color giving the room a celestial quality.
It made for an uplifting day.