When Teijin Automotive Technologies’ operations management and health and safety teams gathered in San Antonio, Texas earlier this month, the focus of the meeting was not just about improving operations. The team also worked together to create spoke guards that will be mounted on wheelchairs and donated to people around the world.

During the team building project, more than 50 Teijin Automotive employees split into teams to learn more about wheelchair users and the organization that provides the wheelchairs, The Walkabout Foundation. Presented in the form of case studies, teams learned about past recipients and their individual needs, and had to answer specific questions to earn the right to adorn spoke protectors. Once completed, each team gave a presentation on why they chose to decorate the cover in this way.

“As we were planning our first in-person meeting after COVID, we wanted to make sure the agenda included team-building elements,” explained Deanna Graham, VP of Environmental Legal, Health, Safety and Sustainability. “But even more than that, we wanted to do something that would allow us to be good corporate citizens and give back to those in need. This project was a great intersection of both.”

The colorfully decorated spoke protectors have been donated to The Walkabout Foundation, a UK and US registered charity with a mission to restore dignity, freedom and independence by providing wheelchairs and rehabilitation to people in developing countries. Since its inception in 2009, the foundation has donated nearly 24,000 wheelchairs to individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford them.