Rodan + Fields® & buildOn: Serving in Solidarity Across the U.S.
When buildOn students team up with Rodan + Fields® Consultants to serve together in solidarity, the results are life-changing. Two years after Rodan + Fields and buildOn first created the groundbreaking 36 Hours immersion program, the company’s Prescription for Change® Foundation raised the bar again—this time by partnering with buildOn in four U.S. cities as part of four simultaneous 36 Hours events (or Change Maker Trips), that took place this past April. By traveling to buildOn partner high schools in the Bronx, Chicago, Oakland and Bridgeport, Rodan + Fields Consultants like Jean DeMayo, Cassie Stangler, Sherri Langfeldt, and Alyssa Zonghetti did more than simply support the incredible work of buildOn students across the country; they served alongside our students to create lasting change in the students’ communities.
In the Bronx, Jean DeMayo, a Rodan + Fields Consultant from Massachusetts, traveled to the School for Tourism and Hospitality. “The experience itself blew away any expectations that I had,” Jean says, remembering what it meant to be given a student-led tour of the high school, as well as serving with the students at a senior center and a local afterschool program for young children over the course of her two days in New York City. “I thought that I would learn about buildOn and come back with some information for my Rodan + Fields team and to share with my community—I had a notion that I was going to go down there and impact the students, but the outcome was the complete opposite. I was so touched and amazed and inspired by the resilience of the kids in buildOn.”
Above: Jean DeMayo and a buildOn student from the School for Tourism & Hospitality get to know each other during 36 Hours. (Photo by Tara Rice)
In Chicago, Cassie Stangler, a Rodan + Fields Consultant from Otsego, Minnesota, attended 36 Hours at Benito Juarez Community Academy, and she echoes the sentiments expressed by Jean. “I think that if people think that they are going to help the students, you will soon find out that you walk away with so much more than you could even give to them, for so many reasons,” Cassie says.
“I found their openness awe-inspiring. And it helped me…to connect with the students and share my own experiences”
Leading up to her trip to New York, Jean was initially skeptical about how well she would get to know Brian, the buildOn student ambassador she was paired with. “To be honest, I didn’t think that in 36 hours I would develop a bond with anyone, let alone a stranger. But what I found that amazed me with Brian and with all the students, was their ability to share,” Jean says. “I found their openness awe-inspiring. And it helped me—as an introvert and someone who is shy—to connect with the students and share my own experiences.”
Above: Cassie Stangler poses for a photo with Ari, a buildOn student from Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago.
In Oakland, Sherri Langfeldt, who is also a Rodan + Fields Consultant from Minnesota, found that the bond formed with students seemed effortless. “We immediately made connections. The students were very willing to share, they were interested, they were inquisitive, asking about our lives, and I just think that the programming—the way it was set up—allowed us to get to know one another in a short period of time,” Sherri says.
“It was amazing, the bond that you can form with these students in such a short amount of time.”
In Bridgeport, Connecticut, Alyssa Zonghetti felt that the students showed her how she can create change in her own community in Lowell, Massachusetts. “It was amazing, the bond that you can form with these students in such a short amount of time. They really taught me a lot about how I can give back to my local community and work with teens there, and how I can help empower teens in my own community. Even though I can’t be with the buildOn students in Connecticut all the time, I can bring that change back to my local community.”
Above: Alyssa Zonghetti (center right) and her buildOn partner exchange letters to each other before saying goodbye at the end of 36 hours at Central High School in Bridgeport.
In Chicago, after serving with buildOn students reading books with young children at a local Book Buddies program and serving a meal at a homeless shelter, Cassie felt that her experiences at 36 Hours also inspired her to serve more in her own community. “There is a ripple effect that comes off of everything that buildOn is doing,” she says. “And it pushed me to find out what’s going on with my community and what I can help with.”
Jean also felt inspired after serving with students at a senior center in the Bronx. She’s since organized trips to visit seniors in her own community and feels that 36 Hours taught her an important lesson. “Don’t underestimate the power of one person to make a difference,” Jean says. “I have always served but it has been less frequent in the past. Now, I have been inspired to incorporate service more into my daily life.”
“It forever changes the way you look at things. It changes your ideas about what a difference you can make.”
For Sherri, being a part of 36 Hours was a way to support students that she would not have normally come in contact with. “The biggest thing that I learned or that I had an appreciation for was the partnership between buildOn and Rodan + Fields. I support students in my local community, but it is great to know that what we are doing also supports students in different parts of our country as well,” Sherri says. “It forever changes the way you look at things. It changes your ideas about what a difference you can make.”
“Without 36 Hours, I wouldn’t have gone to Oakland, California. But to go there and meet people and know that really good things are going on there and that there are kids who want to make a difference in their community—to be a part of that is not a small thing in life.”
Above: Sherri Langfeldt and Flecshaney take a photo together in front of a mural at Coliseum College Prep Academy in Oakland.
Even though Alyssa, Cassie, Sherri and Jean all visited different buildOn schools in different cities, they all felt energized by the students they met and encourage other Rodan + Fields Consultants to participate in 36 Hours and serve with buildOn students.
“Be prepared to grow personally, professionally, emotionally and socially because the buildOn students are unlike any group of individuals I have ever met in my life,” Jean says. “It was one of the most influential and impactful events of my life.”
R+F Consultants can apply annually for the PFC Change Maker programs with PFC’s non-profit partners buildOn (US), The Smith Family (AUS), and WE (CAN). Consultants who complete PFC’s three Change Maker actions: Serve, Share and Support are eligible. Contact ChangeMaker@rodanandfields.com for more information.