Employees Get $1,000 to Give to Others

An Irving company's holiday bonus is changing lives.

Every year, employees at Leadership Worth Following LLC are challenged to "make it personal." Employees receive $1,000 to invest in someone else's life.

"Four years ago we established a program called 'Making It Personal,'" said Dale Thompson, founder and CEO. "And what the 'it' is, is making the process of giving and changing the world much more personal to each and every employee."

The company instructs employees to "look at those people around you -- really look at them -- and see whose life you can make a little better during this holiday season -- and then do it."

New employees are always baffled.

"I couldn't believe that a company -- especially being so small -- would do something like this," said Adria Toliver, who has worked at the company for a year and a half.

Employees tell Thompson who they want the check made out to. The check is then cut and given to the employee to deliver to the recipient.

"And people, for the most part, go see people (and) hand the check to them personally, which is really a transforming experience for most of these people," Thompson said.

The program began four years ago.

Thompson fondly remembers the story of a woman who did not want to accept the $1,000 check. The mother of three was recently divorced and had a broken-down minivan.

"When this program came along, she went to her and said, 'Look, I've got $1,000 here. It's my job to help you,'" Thompson said. "And, of course, the woman broke into tears, and we actually bought tires for her minivan, which allowed her to work and take care of her family."

At the company's annual Christmas party, employees share their stories of giving.

Toliver was so touched by the program, she created one for her life.

"As a result, I opened up an additional savings account, and I'm going to do my own Making It Personal in addition to what LWF gives me," she said.

Thompson said the program is his way of making an impact on the world, one person at a time.

"I do feel a growing sense of satisfaction, and I believe in the power of the individual to change the world," he said.

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