Nearly 160 volunteers exchanged their laptops for paintbrushes in an effort to beautify Walker Elementary School, transforming it from an institutional, beige building to a colorful, visual learning center. The volunteers, from Triarc Restaurant Group, located in Ft. Lauderdale, participated in the school beautification program as part of the Arby’s Rockin’ Hat Ranch Project’s “Painting and Learning” program.

“We believe there’s nothing more impactful to employees than working toward a common goal, especially when it’s for a good cause,” says Michael Howe, CEO and president of TRG, who hosted the event as part of the company’s Annual All Employee Meeting. “This Arby’s Rockin Hat Ranch Project takes employees out of their usual setting and places them in an environment where they can contribute to the cause in their own unique way.”

Arby’s Rockin’ Hat Ranch for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, where children at risk and their mentors learn leadership and life skills via fun and unique community service projects, was inaugurated in 1994 and has become a tremendous success. This year TRG employees jumped on board and adopted Walker Elementary School.

The Arby’s Rockin’ Hat Ranch event was staged in two parts. On day one, volunteers painted hopscotch outlines, shapes and equations on the walls and sidewalks of the kindergarten and first grade areas. They also landscaped the grounds and even planted two butterfly gardens. Over the weekend, Bigs and Littles (mentors and students) came together to finish off the work—coloring in designs and completing a new mural designed by local artist, Gay DeMario, that graces the entrance of the school.

“We wanted to create an activity that would bring employees together to work toward a common goal,” said Laura Widmer, Director of Corporate Communications for TRG. “TRG employees say the greatest reward provided by Arby’s Rockin’ Hat Ranch is getting to know their co-workers in a different capacity, and, most importantly, the gratification of making a difference in the community.”

Little Brothers and Sisters who participated in the “Painting and Learning” project will be rewarded with a one-day field trip with their Bigs to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, during the month of May 2001. TRG is providing transportation and admission for the Bigs and Littles.

Arby’s Foundation, TRG’s charitable arm, has raised more than $9 million for charities such as BBBSA. The Foundation is a nonprofit, nonsectarian, grant-giving organization established in 1986 as part of a focused commitment to making a valuable difference in the education and development of America’s youth.

News, Sandwiches, Arby's