Marriott Volunteers Help Grow Perennial House Garden – and Build a Community

“I was raised by a single mom,” says Chris Coles, general manager of the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott.

The Marriott volunteer team with Perennial House residents

The Marriott volunteer team with Perennial House residents

Chris had not heard of Healthy Babies Project before last spring. But when he and a team of Marriott employees delivered a donated van to Perennial House in April, Chris said the project struck a nerve. “I saw the exciting work what a great organization this is, I wanted to be more involved,” he said

The Marriott Corporation encourages community involvement, so it was easy for Chris to approach his staff and invite volunteers to join him at HBP’s Perennial House for an outdoor workday. The volunteers contributed bushes, mulch and manpower to beautify the grounds.

Marriott Volunteers Return

The experience was a success and the group returned to Perennial House in October, this time to plant ornamental fall cabbages, lay down tarps for weed control, mulch plantings, and prepare the yard for winter.

“My mother raised 5 children on her own,” says volunteer Rosie Irwin, HR manager at the Marriott Dulles location. “I saw how the community came together to help her finish high school and become an RN. This is a way I can help give back.”

Volunteers Are Building Up the HBP Community, Too

HBP teen moms and Perennial House residents joined with the volunteers from Marriott for both work days, allowing the volunteers and young families get to know each other.  This time around, Chris reconnected with one young mother he had met last May during the team’s first volunteer work day. “She had just arrived at Perennial House,” he said. “Now, she has a job. It’s great to see her progress.”

“They want to make a better life for themselves and for their children,” said Rosie. “Healthy Babies Project gives them a chance to do that – to have hope. And to be part of a supportive community.”

The HBP girls echo those sentiments. One shared that she had never done yard work, but working with the team made it fun – like she was part of a family.

The Marriott team is participating in Adopt-A-Family during the holidays as well as their next work day on the Perennial House grounds.

“We will be back in the spring,” says Chris.

The Marriott volunteer team at Perennial House in October

The Marriott volunteer team at Perennial House in October