June 23, 2011

JetBlue and PBS KIDS Launch Soar with Reading Initiative This Summer

School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop. We’re pleased to launch a project with PBS KIDS that aims to keep children reading wherever they go this summer – with a combination of in-flight and online literacy resources, community reading events and a partnership with First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need.

At the center of the program is the newly launched SoarwithReading.com, where parents can download a free reading activity kit, create a summer reading list with recommendations from Random House Children’s Books and log their children’s reading minutes, among other activities. For every reader who registers on SoarwithReading.com, we’ll make a book donation to a child through First Book, up to 10,000 books.

Children traveling on JetBlue flights this summer will receive a free activity kit with reading games based on PBS KIDS educational programming.

Coming Soon to a Library Near You!

JetBlue Crewmembers, PBS KIDS characters and hosts, and popular children’s authors will be visiting libraries across the country this summer to read with children. The Soar with Reading tour will make stops in several JetBlue cities, including New York, Boston, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

The Soar with Reading program will also award $10,000 worth of Random House Children’s Books to one lucky community’s library. Another library will receive $2,500 worth of books and five other libraries will receive $500 worth of books, courtesy of Random House Children’s Books and JetBlue. To nominate a library, simply visit SoarwithReading.com. Nominate a library and you’ll be eligible to win a JetBlue Getaways family vacation to amazing Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

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July 8, 2013

JetBlue Visits the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida

Two weeks ago, over 100 crewmembers spent the afternoon with 300+ energetic children from the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida in Orlando. Together we planted flowers, read books from Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series as part of our Summer Soar with Reading campaign and painted a backdrop of a New York City subway for an upcoming play at the Clubhouse. Of course, we also saved some time for some of our favorite games— foosball, bumper pool and a particularly intense game of soccer. With the children as the soccer team captains, our crewmembers had to bring their best games!

Crewmembers work at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida

These crewmembers represented a diverse cross section of the company, from Pilots, Flight Attendants, System Operations, Reservations, Technical Operations, and Airport Operations, and were in Orlando as part of a “Values Committee Summit” where they gather to work directly with each other, and with leadership to collaborate on making JetBlue a place where crewmembers want to come to work and an airline customers want to fly.

“What a great opportunity we had to work with these fabulous kids at the Boys and Girls Club. Interacting with them and seeing their smiles was such a rewarding experience. It was a day I will remember for a long time,” says crewmember Melinda P. in our Salt Lake City Support Center.

Crewmember spending some quality time with the kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida

Soccer!

When the Florida heat got too hot to handle, we all headed inside for choreographed dancing to Beyonce’s Single Ladies and V.I.C’s Wobble. It was a great way to end a day filled with fun, service and making a difference in the community.

Kevin A., a crewmember in Long Island City, captured the event perfectly, “What I liked most about working with the Boys and Girls Club was that we were able to see the results of our efforts. The time that we spent with the children hopefully impacted them for not only the present but for the future. The look on their faces was priceless and getting to work with them on activities did not feel like work at all—we were having fun together.”


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July 5, 2013

Newark Crewmembers Make Kindergarten Grads Smile

A few weeks ago, our Soar with Reading program launched across the JetBlue network, and our crewmembers in Newark are already spreading the literature bug. A group recently teamed up to visit the North Star Charter Academy in Vailsburg, a neighborhood near Newark, New Jersey.

Three kindergarten classes welcomed our crewmembers, who distributed bags filled with Blue Chips, pencils, and a Soar with Reading book. The school is one of the top schools in Newark and the students, now on their way to first grade, were so happy to receive some goodies from JetBlue.


 

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June 27, 2013

A Tale of Blue Cities: Flat Stanley

During my time as a member of the faculty at JetBlue University, I have had the privilege of leading tours of our training facility for various groups and visitors, but none as interesting as my most recent guest.

For the past few weeks, I have played host to a boy named Stanley – Flat Stanley.  For those of you unfamiliar with my flat friend, he is the main character in a 1964 children’s book by author Jeff Brown.  The story is about a boy who gets crushed by a bulletin board and has to learn to live his life being only ½ inch thick.  Because of his size, Flat Stanley gets to go on various adventures.  He has a friend named Flat Stella with whom he sometimes travels.

Flat Stanley arrives at JetBlue University in Orlando ready to learn all about JetBlue!

I came to know Stanley through a friend ‘s Facebook post indicating a young teacher named Amanda in my hometown of Somerville, Mass. She was looking for people out of state to participate in her class project.  The goal was to get as many Stanleys to go out of state on adventures as possible.   I thought JetBlue University was a good fit for Stanley, since supporting literacy is one of JetBlue’s key areas of focus for our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.  I also wanted Amanda’s class to know that even as grown-ups you never stop learning.

A letter from a student in Ms. Amanda’s class that arrived with Flat Stanley

Stanley arrived at JetBlue rather unceremoniously in a plain letter sized envelope and instructions from a student who signed his name ”Your Friend, Davis.”  It was a simple request – have fun with Stanley and send some pictures of his adventure.

First stop, our uniform store, where Stanley looked at the various uniforms worn by our crewmembers.   While in the store, we met Captain Eric who graciously posed for a photo with Stanley.  In my recap of our adventure, I emphasized to Ms. Amanda’s class the importance of math and science and that those were two topics that are very important in aviation.

Pilot Captain Eric with Flat Stanley in the uniform store

Flat Stanley seemed impressed with our uniforms, so we made him an honorary uniformed JetBlue crewmember complete with his own “flat” uniform.  From there we visited the Pilot training facilities, where Stanley got to see a Flight Training Device, or FTD, used to acquaint pilots with the flight deck on our aircraft.  Stanley also saw our full motion flight simulators where pilots learn and are tested on their mastery of “flying” our Airbus and Embraer aircraft in a simulated environment.

Flat Stanley in his new JetBlue uniform at our flight simulator

Rounding out his adventure, Stanley got to meet some Inflight crewmembers in training, along with Rose, one of our Inflight instructors.  Along the way, Stanley learned how tough the training is to become a JetBlue crewmember, and how, even as grown-ups, we have to study to learn new things.

Members of Inflight Class 10-13 and 11-13

As I sat at my desk and packed Stanley’s luggage for his trip back to Ms. Amanda’s classroom, I was grateful for the opportunity to experience this facility –  where I spend so much of my time – through the eyes of a child, even if that child was a small flat piece of paper.  In capturing the details of Stanley’s adventure, I remembered my excitement as a new crewmember, and that after almost ten years with JetBlue, how fortunate I am to work in this industry and for this company  – because JetBlue  supports the community in so many ways.

Diane showing Flat Stanley the ropes

Whether it’s a pilot speaking at a career day, or groups of volunteers from our BlueCities encouraging children to read through our Soar with Reading program that’s designed to promote literacy, these efforts not only give us the opportunity to serve the communities in which we operate, but also provide additional opportunities for us to connect with our customers.

Inflight instructor Rose

As I made my rounds with Flat Stanley, each JetBlue Crewmember I asked to pose for a picture with Stanley did so willingly and with great enthusiasm.  Because they knew that while Stanley is a piece of paper, he represents all those kids who sit at the airport with their noses pressed up against the glass watching the planes take off and land, who board our planes and want to peek into where the pilots sit and who one day may dream of a career in the airline industry.

Flat Stanley in the flight deck (don’t worry, he didn’t fly the plane!)

We airline people are a hearty breed.  You have to really love what you do to stand on the ramp in torrential rain to ensure bags get loaded on flights.  You have to be committed to your customers to get up at  2 a.m. to be at the airport for a 4 a.m. airport shift.   You have to love to fly to spend years and thousands of dollars to obtain the hours necessary to safely command a multi-million dollar aircraft and you have to work hard to learn all of the safety, security and service requirements to successfully pass inflight training.

These are the lessons that Flat Stanley learned these past few weeks and will take with him back to Ms. Amanda’s classroom (along with some cool JetBlue pins and baseball cards for the kids).

From left to right (Matthew, Davis, Stanley, Hemanjalee, Michael, and Ms. Amanda!

The Flat Stanley Project was started in 1995 by Dale Hubert, a third grade schoolteacher in Canada.  The project is intended to promote literacy and students who read the books send the paper doll and written notes to people or students in other parts of the world through conventional mail and e-mail.

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 Learn more about Dianecheck out the previous A Tale of Blue Cities stories and stay tuned for the next up!

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October 13, 2012

Photos: Swing for Good Golf Classic

Our fourth annual Swing For Good Golf Classic took place on Tuesday, and although the rainy weather proved a bit challenging, it didn’t keep nearly 300 business partners and crewmembers from participating in this important fundraising event.

With our 16th playground build right around the corner and all of our success with the Soar with Reading campaign, the event was a true celebration of our dedicated support to our partner charities, KaBOOM! and PBS Kids; we are proud to be associated with these organizations. In fact, over the past two years we have donated over a quarter of a million dollar’s worth of books to kids in need, and distributed more than 500,000 literacy based activity books across our network.

Learn more about our Corporate Social Responsibility team

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October 11, 2012

A Day in the Life: Corporate Social Responsibility

Welcome to A Day in the Life, where we take you behind the scenes at JetBlue to learn more about the important jobs that work in concert together to run a major airline. This time, we visit with Icema, Jenna, Irma and Kate, who have one of the most generous jobs at our airline.

This four person team makes up our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department, or the folks tasked with identifying charitable causes that make sense for JetBlue to support, and to allocate our resources accordingly.

The CSR team, led by Icema (who has been with us since JetBlue’s infancy when she was an operational leader at JFK), works in several capacities to support our philanthropic efforts. Overall, we support more than 1,000 non-profit organizations throughout the 71 cities that we serve. That support may range from financial contributions to in-kind donations to volunteer support, with the ultimate goal of moving the needle on social change in the areas of education, youth, environment and community.

The team wears many hats, including handling inbound inquiries for donations of funds; planning charity events like our annual Swing For Good Golf Classic (which just took place this week Tuesday); and organizing and empowering our 14,500 crewmembers to get out in their individual communities to volunteer for the causes they’re most passionate about. On any given day, the CSR team might be in Orlando with professional basketball players reading to hundreds of kids as part of Soar With Reading initiative, digging in the dirt to plant trees for our One Thing That’s Green campaign, or building relationships with our partners around the JetBlue network.

Our Soar With Reading event in New York

Many companies and celebrities now feel an obligation to have a charitable arm which donates to its largest bases as part of its regular operations, but at JetBlue, we are a little different in our thinking. We have always believed that giving back to the communities in which we serve is not a corporate obligation, but rather a moral one. Not only do our customers live in the cities that we fly to, but our crewmembers do as well, and we feel strongly about our responsibility to support those neighborhoods as best we’re able.

Some national partners that we have longstanding relationships with include:

  • Carbonfund.org
  • DoSomething.org
  • First Book
  • KaBOOM!
  • PBS
  • VH1 Save the Music

In 2012 alone we have:

  • Donated $200,000 worth of books to kids in need, through our Soar with Reading program
  • Decorated and delivered 2,100 quilts to children in hospitals throughout the JetBlue network, through our partner Soaringwords
  • Pledged to plant a tree for everyone traveling with us on Earth Day, which resulted in over 83,000 trees, in honor of our 5th annual One Thing That’s Green Campaign!
  • Built new KaBOOM! playgrounds – in San Juan, PR, Long Beach, CA, Boston, MA and Oakland, CA. Each of the new play spaces were designed with the help of local children and built by JetBlue Crewmembers, customers and local residents. In 2012 alone, together with KaBOOM!, JetBlue engaged over 825 volunteers, to build four new playgrounds that will serve 5,228 children.
  • And many more!

Our crewmembers are encouraged to go out into their local communities though our Community Connections program. So far this year, 2,014 crewmembers have volunteered 16,341 hours for 345 non-profits across the cities that we serve. For every 25 hours a crewmember volunteers, we donate one round trip ticket to their charity of choice. Crewmembers who volunteer more than 100 hours of their time are invited to an annual recognition dinner. “All of the rewards are important mainly because they demonstrate that we value crewmember engagement within their communities and it allows us to further align our corporate giving with crewmembers’ passions,” shared Jenna from the CSR team.

Our KaBOOM! playground build

Of course we don’t do the right thing in order to get recognition, but our community efforts have received accolades including CSR Cause Branding Campaign of the Year from PR News for our 2011 Soar with Reading program, which aims to help kids’ imaginations take flight through reading; to learn more about that award click here. We were also awarded the For Planet and People Award in the travel category, by Carbonfund.org, for our long-standing partnership and commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our crewmembers and customers. For more information on that award, click here.

“My favorite part of working on the CSR team is when crewmembers share the impact our donation of tickets had on their child’s school or an animal shelter or one of the other 300 organizations we support. The rewards may seem small but have a huge impact on morale,” said Kate.

Check out the previous editions of A Day In The Life and meet:

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September 27, 2012

Bid For Good! Online Charity Auction for Exclusive Items

Our fourth annual Swing for Good Golf Classic and Bid for Good online auction together make up our largest fundraising effort of the year. Help us reach our goal of raising $1 million to benefit two of our long-standing charitable partners – KaBOOM! and PBS Kids. Bid on items ranging from luxurious all inclusive Getaways packages and exclusive access to VIP sporting events to one-of-a-kind experiential opportunities, and provide much needed funding to these great non-profit organizations. Visit Charitybuzz.com/JetBlue and bid today through Oct.18 on items including:

  • A chance to throw the first pitch at a Boston RedSox game
  • VIP tickets to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Los Angeles
  • An Eli Manning signed jersey
  • Four passes to the 2013 PGA Championship
  • Super Bowl 2013 tickets
  • Tickets to the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards
  • MTV Movie Award tickets
  • Pit passes at a NASCAR race
  • A private PBS Kids party featuring a live musical performance by PBS Kids Host Mr. Steve
  • VIP tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in New York City; and much more.

Additionally, as part of this year’s fundraising efforts, we’ll also raise funds for both non-profit organizations at our fourth annual Swing For Good Golf Classic, held on Tues, Oct. 9, 2012 at Bethpage State Park Golf Courses.

Our non-profit partners are near and dear to our heart. Kaboom! envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. In addition to raising funds, our crewmembers have helped build 15 playgrounds and counting as part of our partnership. PBS Kids, the number one educational media brand for kids, is another longtime collaborator. Just this summer, we partnered with PBS Kids to provide more than $200,000 worth of books to children in need through our Soar with Reading literacy program.

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August 24, 2012

Tell Us Your Favorite Children’s Book for a Chance to Win a Vacation!

This summer, we partnered with PBS Kids to provide up to $200,000 worth of books to children in need as part of our second annual Soar With Reading program.  Between now and August 31, simply share the name of your favorite children’s book at Soar With Reading and through our partner Barefoot Books we will donate one book to a child in need.

With your help we have donated $127,150 worth of books to children in need so far this summer. Well known personalities such as Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Orlando Magic, PBS KIDS host Mr. Steve, PBS KIDS’ Hooper and Barefoot Books author Laurie Krebs all assisted in spreading the word to help us reach our goal. You too can help us reach this goal. As a special “thank you,’ everyone who submits a book title will be entered for a chance to win prizes including a JetBlue Getaways vacation package.

Soar With Reading is setting the stage for back-to-school reading success through these book donations, reading events in select cities and by providing free resources for families including an interactive reading list, reading tips and expert advice for keeping kids engaged in literature all summer long.  Book donations will be made to local literacy-focused organizations identified in partnership with PBS member stations in the 71 cities that JetBlue currently serves.

For more information, or to submit the name of your favorite children’s book, visit SoarWithReading.com.

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August 6, 2012

San Juan Soars with Reading

Our most recent Soar with Reading event took place at Plaza Las Américas mall in San Juan, the Caribbean’s largest shopping center. The children enjoyed a reading of Nos Fuimos Todos de Safari and danced with Mr. Steve from PBS KIDS. Check out some great pictures of the event provided by our Airport Operations crewmember Giovanni.

Our Regional Marketing Manager Janid recently appeared on Sistema TV, the PBS local affiliate in San Juan. In the clip, Janid talked about our recent a Soar with Reading event and the great participation from our crewmembers! Check out the clip below.

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May 18, 2012

JetBlue Is “Doing Good in the Neighborhood”

In addition to flying people to their friends, family for work and for play around our 71-city network and providing excellence in customer service, part of our mission to “bring humanity back to air travel,” involves engaging our crewmembers to do acts of volunteerism in their communities and the communities that we serve.

Our Boston crewmembers deliver the $10,000 check to The Jimmy Fund

In the spring of 2011, our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team (who works to identify and organize support for worthy causes like our One Thing That’s Green environmental initiatives, our Soar With Reading campaign to promote children’s literacy, and Race for the Cure to support breast cancer awareness, to name a few), launched JetBlue Community Connection to reward and recognize crewmembers for their volunteerism, and to align our corporate giving with crewmembers’ passions. For every 25 hours any crewmember volunteers, we will donate one round trip flight to the non-profit organization of their choice. In addition to flight rewards, crewmembers can earn grants and be recognized for their efforts at the annual Community Connection crewmember awards dinner.

On March 7, 2012, we hosted the first annual event, with more than 100 crewmembers from across the JetBlue network gathering to celebrate the volunteer accomplishments of the past year. In addition to the individual awards, we presented one team, or BlueCity, with an award for their outstanding efforts. The 2011 award went to Boston, for their Wings for Autism program which benefited the Charles River Center for Autistic Children. The event centered on a field trip to Logan Airport for families with autistic children, which allowed them to get familiar with air travel in a realistic, but low pressure setting.

For their efforts, we awarded the team a $10,000 grant to the non-profit of their choice, and they selected The Jimmy Fund, which supports the fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“We are thrilled to be the beneficiaries of JetBlue’s generosity,” said Suzanne Fountain, Director of the Jimmy Fund.  ”The Boston crew’s hard work, commitment, and devotion to the community and our cause is inspiring.  On behalf of all of our patients, families, caregivers and researchers, we thank everyone at JetBlue for their support.”

Learn more about JetBlue’s commitment to the communities we serve

 

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