Going Virtual: Community Initiatives Continue Across DPR

This article is included in the Great Things: Issue 3 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

Unprecedented times call for creative measures as DPR Construction teams across the country restructured their Community Initiatives (CI) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although community service looks a little different these days, DPR’s ongoing commitment to building possibilities for the under-resourced remains consistent when shifting youth education programming from in-person to virtual. 

Take a look at the virtual CI events so far in 2020:

DPR Shares Virtual Meeting Best Practices with Boys & Girls Clubs - July 2020

At the end of July, DPR Construction's Richmond office facilitated a "Virtual Meeting Best Practices" webinar for the staff and students of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond (BGCMR). Since 1953, BGCMR has provided safe and creative spaces for youth, career and educational guidance focused on equipping its members with the specific skills and tools they need for lifelong success.

In this online training, DPR helped extend BGCMR’s operational capacity by strategizing with them for more intentional youth engagement at their clubs. This interactive webinar broke down DPR's virtual meeting standards and best practices, featuring key tips for creating virtual content. DPR's training reinforced BGCMR's need for promoting confidence amongst their youth when navigating virtual obstacles in the future.

Daniel Barker, one of DPR's event organizers, shared: "This training event equipped BGCMR with the tools and knowledge to help evolve their content development and virtual presentations for the Richmond youth as the pandemic continues."

PowerPoint slide of DPR's Virtual Meeting Best Practices webinar for the Boys & Girls Clubs.of Metro Richmond.
DPR's Richmond office facilitated a "Virtual Meeting Best Practices" webinar for the staff and students of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. Courtesy of Daniel Barker

Women’s Empowerment Webinars for Austin Nonprofit - May/June 2020

This past May and June, DPR’s Austin team hosted two personal development events for the local nonprofit organization, Girls Empowerment Network (GIRLS). A long-standing partner in the community, GIRLS’ mission is to teach young women self-efficacy through a variety of character development programs focused on improving their confidence. Despite the limitations due to the pandemic, GIRLS has continued supporting young women in the Austin community after shifting their programming to a virtual format.

The first DPR session, a “Power Chat” webinar, supported high school girls enrolled with the organization. During this webinar, DPR’s Angie Weyant, along with other volunteers in the professional space, offered GIRLS’s attendees a glimpse into the working world. Through Q&A breakout sessions, Weyant had the opportunity to share her career path, experiences as a woman working in the construction industry and love for working at DPR Construction.

In the second workshop, DPR’s event organizers offered the GIRLS team a unique way of learning more about themselves through introspective journaling and going over their results from the Enneagram personality assessment. After explaining the 9 different Enneagram types, Weyant and Jacobs expressed how this evaluation can be used for both personal and professional growth. GIRLS Executive Director/CEO, Julia Cuba Lewis, shared, “Thank you to DPR for continuing to partner with us in such meaningful and relevant ways.”

Introduction PPT Slide for the Austin GIRLS webinar.
DPR’s CI Champions participated in a "Power Chat" webinar and hosted a Team Enneagram Session workshop with the GIRLS youth and staff. Courtesy of Angie Weyant

Leading Personal Development Sessions with Girls Inc. - May 2020

In May, DPR Construction’s Dallas office hosted two virtual personal and professional development sessions with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas. Girls Inc. is a nonprofit committed to preparing young women for success in their work and home life through a combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships and research-based programming.

DPR’s local CI champions Jacobs and Weyant led both of these webinars, extending operational support to Girls Inc. leaders and organizers by breaking down the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Wheel of Emotions chart. Attendees learned about MBTI and how it can help with evaluating adolescents they work closely with. Additionally, DPR’s event facilitators shared how the Wheel of Emotions can serve as valuable communication tool for both adults and youth when identifying complex emotions.

Girls Inc. Director of Development Mimi Bishop, shared, “DPR added so much value to our staff. We appreciate all they do for us!” DPR is planning more virtual events with the Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas team in the future.

Introduction PPT slide for Dallas Girls Inc. webinar
DPR Construction’s Dallas office hosted two virtual personal and professional development sessions with Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas. Courtesy of Monica Jacobs

DPR Teaches 3D Modeling to South Florida Youth - May 2020

In May, DPR gave the students of The Milagro Center a crash course in 3D modeling software with a “SketchUp Training” webinar. The Milagro Center is a nonprofit organization that strives to ensure the social and academic success of underserved children and teens ages K-12 in the Delray Beach community.

DPR’s Zach Thompson, who acts as one of the company’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) leaders, joined other DPR volunteers to lead the virtual workshop on 3D modeling. Thompson helped students download the free version of the SketchUp software, taught a beginner tutorial on how to use the program, and offered technical support throughout the remote event.

The webinar’s facilitators helped open a up a wide range of learning possibilities for The Milagro Center’s students, as this was the first time they had been exposed to a software with SketchUp’s capabilities.

SketchUp 3D Model Screenshot
DPR’s Zach Thompson led the virtual workshop on 3D modeling with SketchUp software. Courtesy of DPR Employee

Sacramento Students Explore Careers in Construction - April 2020

In April, the DPR’s Sacramento office hosted a “Careers in Construction” webinar for students from Mira Loma and Natomas High Schools involved with local organization Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT). IYT serves young men of color and enrolls students as early as 7th grade, with the option of remaining in the program up until their college graduation.

This webinar gave DPR's group of panelists the opportunity to share their own professional development journeys with the students, answering any questions they may have. To showcase the breadth of career options within the construction industry, each panelist specialized in different jobsite roles and responsibilities.

IYT’s Event Manager, Alina Sanchez, said, “The students had an eye-opening experience regarding the different avenues one can take in the construction industry, and loved learning about the DPR team’s career journeys.”

Ft. Lauderdale Teens Take a Virtual Jobsite Tour - April 2020

DPR Ft. Lauderdale hosted a virtual “Career Exploration” event in April for middle school students enrolled with HANDY, a local organization that supports disadvantaged youth. HANDY offers an array of customized educational, personal development and economic self-sufficiency programs for youth and adults, ages 9-25.

During the webinar, DPR’s hosts shared their day-to-day job responsibilities, details about the construction industry, and answered questions regarding DPR’s community outreach and its involvement with healthcare projects during the COVID-19 crisis. One of the hosts was working remotely from a South Beach jobsite trailer, giving HANDY’s students the opportunity to go on a “live” tour of the project site.

Lina Nageondelestang, DPR’s event organizer, said: “The students enjoyed catching a glimpse of a jobsite, which under normal circumstances they would not have been able to, due to the project’s location.” Nageondelestang shared that DPR will continue to host more virtual initiatives with HANDY in the future to continue inspiring the next generation of builders.

Discussing Opportunities for Homeless Youth in Seattle - March 2020

In March, DPR’s Seattle office hosted an online educational event for students enrolled in YouthCare's YouthBuild program. YouthCare offers a wide range of services to support Seattle's homeless youth, while also offering employment training and educational opportunities, such as the YouthBuild pre-apprenticeship program. YouthBuild allows students to explore the various career options available within the construction industry and gave DPR leaders the chance to offer guidance as they answered student questions about job responsibilities and career paths.

In a virtual format, DPR volunteers from a variety of professions, including project engineering, estimating, and field supervision, shared career advice and hosted a presentation about DPR and general contracting, followed by a Q&A with the students.

"YouthBuild works tirelessly to empower students through educational guidance and technical skill development. We hope the wide range of careers and opportunities available with or without a four-year degree inspires the YouthCare students to pursue construction,” said Brianna Lance, DPR’s event panelist.

Seattle CI Virtual Event Welcome Screenshot
DPR’s Seattle office hosted an online educational event for students enrolled in YouthCare's YouthBuild program. Courtesy of DPR Employee