Viacom Takes a “Day On” in Recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, often referred to as “a day on, not a day off,” is a call for Americans from all backgrounds to unite in the spirit of Dr. King.

In the spirit of embracing the variety of backgrounds and ways of thinking that make Viacom strong, Viacommunity – the company’s social responsibility umbrella – hosted three MLK Day of Service volunteer projects in partnership with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. The events, focused on motivating and empowering students to reach their educational and career potential, took place during the week leading up to MLK Day.

Viacom employees and “I Have a Dream” Foundation Dreamers talk educational and career goals at an MLK Day of Service event at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters.

At Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, Viacommunity and the foundation’s New York chapter hosted their annual workshop for dozens of “Dreamers,” college students who had gained access to higher education with the organization’s assistance.

A panel discussion followed, featuring inspirational advice from two Viacom employees: Essence Dashtaray, manager of Human Resources and Jason Williams, vice president of Global Inclusion Strategy. A speed mentoring event then combined employee volunteers with rotating groups of students to discuss their career paths and the Dreamers’ educational goals. In a testament to Viacom’s ongoing support of the foundation and genuine connection to its students, some of the Dreamers, now soon-to-be college grads, were reconnecting with Viacom employees that they had known since their freshman year.

The Viacommunity team moderates a panel between Viacom’s Essence Dashtaray, seated right, and Jason Williams and “I Have a Dream” Foundation Dreamers at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters.

A few dozen blocks south in Manhattan, at Viacom’s office at 345 Hudson Street, employees working in partnership with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation’s National office assembled more than 200 care packages with treats and notes of encouragement for disadvantaged college freshmen. The room buzzed with creativity and movement as volunteers decorated their notes and put together the care package in assembly-line fashion.

At Viacom’s Hollywood office, employees assembled dorm send-off packages of hygiene products, towels, clothing hangers, sheets, and laundry baskets to support high school senior Dreamers preparing for college. Working in partnership with the foundation’s Los Angeles chapter, the employees also decorated the care packages with ribbons and bows and included creative notes of encouragement.

Employees at Viacom’s Hollywood office with the dorm send-off packages they assembled for college-bound dreamers.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Paramount Pictures volunteers visited the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for their annual “I Have a Dream” Day. This year, Lee Rosenthal, president of Physical Production, moderated a panel of employees from Marketing, Visual Effects, Casting and Creative Development who shared their career paths, outlined how they pursued their goals, and explained how they managed pitfalls they encountered along the way.

Viacom’s participation in the Martin Luther King Day of Service is a way for the company to support initiatives like the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, the L.A. County High School of the Arts and the larger spirit of the holiday.


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