Mt Laurel company welcomes Camden kids for holidays

A Mount Laurel company is sharing its holiday party with kids from Camden this year.

An association management company for more than 30 years, Association Headquarters (AH) provides associations, voluntary organizations, and medical societies with professional management services.

Five years ago, the company created a social responsibility committee made up of volunteers who want to guide the company’s community service outreach.

This year the business partnered with a group out of Camden called Urban Promise, an after school program for kids. Volunteers read to kids and clean up buildings in the city.

Robert Waller, Jr. serves as president and chief operating officer at AH.

“Our staff really connected with the kids and the organization,” Waller said.

Usually AH has a holiday party for the entire staff but this year there will be a party in the office with kids from Urban Promise.

On Dec. 9, there will be gift giving, face painting, and other activities for as many as 60 kids. One treat for the children will be the appearance of Santa Claus.

Some staff from Urban Promise will come as well.

Waller said he and two others came up with the idea about two months ago.

“It’s really been great to watch the committee take it and run with it,” he said. “It’s going to be a very, very neat event.

“Our staff is very excited about it,” Waller added. “The response has just been extremely favorable.”

There are about 150 people who work at AH.

The committee is also putting angels on a holiday tree with gift requests on them.

“We can’t put them up fast enough,” Waller said, noting that the staff has been given a limit but many want to spend more.

“It’s been really very rewarding to see how the staff has embraced the concept,” he said. “They just exceeded our expectations.”

Waller said the logistics are the most difficult part, especially a way for Urban Promise to secure transportation.

He said he wants the event to be something the kids remember and foresees doing it again next year.

“I can see us doing it again and taking it to another level,” Waller said.

Typically the AH holiday party is for staff only, no spouses, and every year the staff votes to keep it that way.

“We weren’t really sure how they were going to like the idea of opening it up but it’s just been overwhelming how positive they’ve been,” Waller said, noting the committee does Habitat for Humanity builds, blood drives, food drives, and events to support troops.

“It’s been a really great fit for us,” he said of Urban Promise. “We’ve done different events for them over the last year or so.”

Angela Showell, associate communications manager at AH, said one member of the committee suggested angels to hang on the tree because it was done at a library when she was younger.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said. Showell, who came on board AH over he summer, joined the committee because she believes in its mission.

“I think doing community service is really great,” she said. “When I heard this was going to be our holiday party, I wasn’t worried at all about the staff liking it because I just had a feeling that it would go over very well and it did.”