This week began on a solemn note, with the untimely losses of three members of the extended Discovery family – Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young. They left their mark on the weather community and the world, working to learn more about tornadoes and how to improve our understanding of them to save lives. Personally, I had the chance to work with Tim while overseeing social media for Discovery Channel and working on Storm Chasers. As an Oklahoman, I admired him and understood his connection with the beautiful but often violent weather of the plains.
And, while tragedy marked Monday, the Discovery family showed the power of giving back on Friday with our annual Discover Your Impact Day, and in other news:
Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Discovery Communications President & CEO David Zaslav
New Jersey: Where only the strong survive.
We’ve all seen the phrase plastered on shirts and stuck on bumpers, but today we all learned the true definition of “Jersey Strong.”
As we began Day Two, with sore arms and bits fiberglass in our hair, excitement brewed – all of the volunteers (including me) were motivated by Day One’s progress and ready to see our families’ houses continue to return to being homes. While most of us began construction, some members of the Discovery Education team traveled to Sovereign Elementary School, just down the street from our work sites, to meet many of the children affected by the storm and share with them a preview of Discovery Channel’s upcoming series, North America (premiering this Sunday). The children were also treated to a visit from Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni, who brought along North American animals, and Jersey boy, Buddy Valastro, who brought sweet treats from Carlos’ Bakery for the students and staff to enjoy.
When we broke for lunch today, “Discovery Impact” came to life. In a special ceremony opened by a Habitat for Humanity leader and our own David Zaslav, volunteers heard from Jersey natives about the deep value of their work. Buddy Valastro shared his own passion for restoring the state he calls home and then welcomed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Governor recounted the deep devastation experienced when Superstorm Sandy hit his state and shared hope for the future, as well as genuine appreciation for the volunteers who have joined his mission to restore all New Jersey families to their homes.
Nearly impossible to believe, tomorrow is our final day on site. We’re all excited to see what we’ve accomplished in three days and to bring home the stories of strength and hope we have experienced along the way.
I’ve included below a few photo highlights from the day, as well as an incredible video from two dedicated Habitat for Humanity volunteers – a true dose of inspiration! For more images and stories from today, follow us on Twitter, Instagram (#ourimpact on both!) and Facebook.
Richard and Richard Jr. Shared Their Story with Discovery Communications President & CEO David Zaslav
Today marked Day One of Discovery Impact: Rebuilding Atlantic City, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. The day began with an orientation with Habitat for Humanity Atlantic County, where we learned more about Superstorm Sandy’s devastation, making this experience even more meaningful for all of us. After orientation, we met our Habitat team leaders, and the hard work began.
Each team faced different challenges at their homes – my family’s home had a strong structure but required insulation and dry walls, while other teams were tasked with replacing floors or clearing homes. While most volunteers had never nailed more than picture frame, our Habitat leaders patiently taught us the ropes, and we all left today feeling a bit more confident with a hammer and drill in hand.
Our employees were joined by some enthusiastic personalities from our networks, including the guys from TLC’s Honey Do and Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni.
As we rest up for tomorrow, we’re excited for all to come. We announced today that we’ll be visited by TLC’s Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and we can’t wait to continue to connect with our families and make progress in their homes.
Take a look at a few of the photos from today below, as well as a video reflection from Jennifer, a Discovery volunteer on Team Elizabeth. Don’t forget to follow @DiscoveryComm on Twitter, DiscoveryComm on Instagram and #ourimpact on both for updates over the next few days!
On April 4, hundreds gathered at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City to get the first glimpse into the future of Discovery Communications programming. The show kicked off with daredevil Nik Wallenda’s tightrope walk over the audience – a small feat compared to his upcoming walk across the Grand Canyon, to be televised live on Discovery Channel on June 23– and concluded with a sweet performance by Colbie Caillat.
A few of the highlights from the presentation included:
Kal Penn’s announcement of his new Discovery Channel series, The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius, a show that seeks the next great innovators