August 2012


Here is a the video I showed Sunday morning at my church recapping our Nicaragua trip.  This was a wonderful experience.  Most of you know that I have been to Nicaragua a couple of other times on mission trips with faith-based groups.  This trip was actually through my work.

I worked with Opportunity International, World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, and the Free Wheelchair Mission.  Going in a corporate capacity gave me the opportunity to meet with Executive Directors, National Directors, Directors of Corporate Engagement, etc.  It is truly fascinating how everything is coming together and the work we were already doing in Nicaragua dovetails in with the work that can be supported by these large nonprofits.

In case you’re wondering… the music is by The Head and The Heart.  We saw them in Athens, GA and they are one of our favorite groups.



 I am back from my Nicaragua trip and will give everyone a more detailed update once I collect pictures from our team members.  In the meantime, I’d like to let you see the letter I wrote our national foundation upon returning.  My company is a large Fortune 500 corporation.  So often, we relate large corporations to greed, politics, and red tape.  It is refreshing to work for an organization that sees the benefit of arranging for its associates to perform humanitarian work in a third world country.  Here’s my letter:

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity to represent our company on the Global Giving trip to Nicaragua.  When I accepted my position at United Stationers, I was actually deciding between starting up a non-profit to aid the people of Nicaragua versus being the Continuous Improvement Manager at the Suwanee facility.


Strange as it may sound, I felt called to accept the position with United Stationers.  On the surface this seemed to limit my ability to engage in humanitarian efforts; nevertheless, I felt assured that it was the right thing to do.  Within my first week of employment, Rob Hutt asked me to consider becoming the chairperson of the Atlanta Council.  This afforded me the opportunity to work with several non-profits and get a true sense of significance from my work.  When the announcement came out about the Nicaragua trip, I was tremendously excited. 


Every day of last week, I thought about what a great company I work for.  We don’t do everything perfectly – no company does, but the culture our Foundation has developed of giving our time, talent, and treasure through the Foundation is something we get very right.  I know that there was a substantial cost involved with this trip.  While it is impossible to quantify, there is also an immeasurable benefit.  First, I personally experienced a level of significance that I have never felt through any other employer.  I will pass this on to my coworkers and anyone else who will listen to me talk about this trip.  Secondly, I experienced a level of camaraderie and teambuilding unparalleled by any other “work team” of which I have been a part.  I will do anything within my power to help my Global Giving teammates and I know that they will instantly reciprocate if I have any needs they can meet.  Finally, and most importantly, I got to be part of a team that made a real difference in the lives of countless people who are in need.


I learned a lot about myself, my coworkers, and my company in the past few days.  This experience was amazing and again, I am truly thankful and humbled to a part of this team.


Thank you,


Jason Barr

Continuous Improvement Manager

United Stationers Atlanta

Hey folks.  I’m writing from Nicaragua.  It’s been a long day, so I won’t be writing a post tonight.  Here is a link to our blog while I’m on the trip…


This Friday is back to school time at the Barr household.  Olivia is excited about being a first grader.  I thought I might try something different and post an interview.  Here’s a first grader’s view on school:

  • ·         You’re about to start first grade.  What are you most excited about?


Let me think… recess.  My favorite thing is recess because you get to go outside and play with your friends and you get all that energy out.


  • ·         Is there anything that you are nervous about?


I’m nervous that people might think I’m weird and might not think I’m a good student.


  • ·         What is your favorite subject?  Why?


Probably everything.  The thing I’m really excited for is learning new things.


  • ·         What do you think you will learn in the first grade?


Learn how to do math and how to do other stuff.  Probably I think I’ll learn about how to draw good and how to do cool stuff.  (Maybe grammar?)


  • ·         Do you have any advice for Kindergartners?


I wish them good luck.  If any of them are in Mrs. Millwood’s class, they’ll have the best teacher ever.  I hope they have a good time.   And that’s it.


  • ·         How many more years do you think you will go to school?


I don’t know.  About two.


  • ·         What do you think about the cafeteria food?


My favorite thing in the cafeteria is nachos and I think the cafeteria food is awesome.


  • ·         Is it better than mommy’s?


Yes…  Mom, look what I told daddy!