In recognition of National Volunteer Week, leaders from Independence Blue Cross (Independence) welcomed first grade students from Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary School in Philadelphia for its annual executive storytelling hour. The event was part of the Philadelphia READS Power Partners program, which brings students and Blue Crew volunteers together once a week for an hour of literacy coaching. Since 1988, the program has provided literacy enrichment and mentoring for over 12,000 Philadelphia elementary school students.
This year, executives read from Will the One-Winged Eagle, a children’s book recently published by Independence associate Jimmy Curran, a market research analyst. Curran is a group leader for Associates Beyond Limited Expectations (ABLE), an Independence associate resource group dedicated to advocating on behalf of those living with disabilities through education and community outreach.
The story follows a one-winged eagle on his journey to self-acceptance and persistence in the face of adversity and encourages readers to accept those living with a disability. Curran and the book’s illustrator were inspired by their own experiences with spinal muscular atrophy. Students each received a copy of the book to take home with them.
For more than 15 years, the Blue Crew — Independence Blue Cross’ corporate volunteer program — has played an essential role in the company’s commitment to enhance the health and well-being of the community. In 2017, nearly 1,400 associates and their families donated over 11,000 hours to over 300 community service projects throughout the region.