Volunteer Day

The Torch Classic instituted Volunteer Day into its host of employee activities beginning in 1993. Employees and retirees reinforced our corporate initiatives within our communities through hands-on projects like those detailed below. As a result, more and more employees have made a difference in communities where we conduct business. This single day of giving will earn returns for years to come – for the communities we serve and surely for the volunteers involved. Take a look at what’s been accomplished so far:




2011 – Houma, Louisiana
Jim Bowie Park & Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary

On June 22, 2011, Torch Classic volunteers employees from BP locations across North America came together to provide improvements at Jim Bowie Park in Houma and Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program at Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Jim Bowie park project included beautification tasks and a playground build. Volunteers helped to build picnic tables, BBQ grills, plant flowerbeds and restore a butterfly garden. At Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Torch Classic Volunteers planted live oaks and grasses along the beach, and constructed sand fences to help preserve Grand Isle State Park. Efforts of Torch Classic volunteers at Jim Bowie Park were mentioned in Houma Today.




2010 – Whiting, Indiana

Franklin Academy Environmental Park

On June 24, 2010, over 500 students from Franklin Academy middle school in East Chicago worked along side BP employees from Whiting, Texas City, Houston, Tulsa, Naperville and other BP locations across North America to construct an environmental park on the grounds of the school. The project was highlighted by local media.







2009 – Houston, Texas

Keep Houston Beautiful Campaign

On June 24th, during the 25th Anniversary of the Torch Classic event, over 160 BP volunteers planted over 4,000 hardy grasses and scrubs around Texas City’s distinctive metal Western sculptures of longhorn and a windmill in a large area between FM 1764 and Interstate Highway 45. The project was honored by the Keep Houston Beautiful Campaign and received recognition at the Mayor of Houston (Bill White) Proud Partner’s awards luncheon on November 16th at the Houston Post Oak Hilton Hotel.


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2008 – Tulsa, Oklahoma


Carver Middle School

Literacy Garden

Torch Classic volunteers constructed a Literacy Garden on the grounds of Carver Middle School. Quotes from George Washington Carver imprinted on beautiful plaques were placed throughout the Garden area. A reading station was constructed with pavestone, and benches were placed to allow teachers and students to use the area as an outdoor classroom. Special thanks to our numerous local and national suppliers/vendors who partnered with the Torch Classic for this wonderful project.



Tulsa Garden Center

Torch Classic volunteers used their carpentry skills to fix and attach trim to windows, walls and siding on a 119 year-old mansion that sits on the grounds of the Tulsa Garden Center. Volunteers also painted and hung curtains that were purchased and provided by one of our local vendor/suppliers. Special thanks again to our local and national vendor/suppliers who assisted us by providing monetary funds and/or equipment to help us with this project.

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2007 – Naperville (Lisle), Illinois

Netzley/Yender House

In cooperation with the Lisle Park District, the Lisle Heritage Society, and the Village of Lisle, Torch Classic volunteers restored the historic Netzley/Yender House, home of the first residents of historic Lisle.

Torch Classic volunteers painted, spread mulch, repaired fences, built decks, and constructed vegetable and flower gardens on the grounds of this historic home.

View complete details about the project…

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2006 – Las Vegas, Nevada

Chester T. Seawell Elementary School

In the City of Lights for the first time, about a hundred Torch Classic volunteers joined teachers, students, and administrators to help construct a literacy lab and outdoor learning center at the school.

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2005 – Whiting, Indiana

Whiting Community Center

The Community Center was built in 1923 as a gift from John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil of Indiana to the people of Whiting. The Center is now the flagship of the Whiting Parks Department and offers a variety of social and athletic activities.

Torch Classic volunteers once again provided much needed help restoring this historic building.

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2004 – Texas City, Texas

Dickerson Food Pantry

Torch Classic volunteers constructed a building for storing food gathered to feed the hungry in the Texas City area.

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2003 – Whiting, Indiana

Whiting Community Center

The Community Center was built in 1923 as a gift from John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil of Indiana to the people of Whiting. The Center is now the flagship of the Whiting Parks Department and offers a variety of social and athletic activities.

Torch Classic volunteers helped paint selected rooms and walls around the gymnasium, providing much needed help restoring this historic building.

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2002 – Texas City, Texas

Texas City Birding Trail Project

Torch Classic volunteers started construction on a nature/wetlands habitat with birding trails near the Texas City Dike area. Later that year, several community groups joined in the effort to complete the project.

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2001 – Anchorage, Alaska

On Wednesday, June 6, over 700 Torch Classic participants from all across the globe helped make a lasting difference in communities throughout Alaska.


ANCHORAGE – Cuddy Family Midtown ParkDespite the cold & rainy weather, over 500 Torch Classic volunteers spent the day building an outdoor pavilion and landscaping the grounds at Cuddy Family Midtown Park.In partnership with Anchorage 2000, the Midtown Park and Trail Committee, and Alaska Society of Landscape Architects, Torch Classic volunteers constructed bleacher seating, installed irrigation piping, and created a trail system throughout the 15 and a half acre park in downtown Anchorage.The park is designed to complement the functions and grounds of the adjoining Loussac Library. Visitors to the park and library will experience one integrated landscape, an active “civic campus.” This combination of civic and park uses will create new opportunities in Anchorage – a place to play outdoors with kids after checking out a book, for events and the arts, to meet friends for a stroll on interpretive nature trails or the literacy trail, or to take out-of-town guests for a view of Alaska ‘s beautiful landscape.


EAGLE RIVER – Eagle River Nature CenterOver 75 volunteers, some ankle deep in water, helped to construct a boardwalk to re-establish a flooded wetland trail and re-vegetate Eagle River Nature Center gardens with native plants and flowers.Eagle River Nature Center is a major gateway to the 500,000-acre Chugach State Park. It offers interpretive displays, programs and visitor information, along with hiking and camping opportunities. Over 75,000 visitors use the Eagle River Nature Center trail system each year. In addition, science education classes on ecology, natural history, and astronomy are conducted each year for over 2,600 school children.
KENAI PENINSULA – Kenai Peninsula Food BankAbout 100 volunteers battled the rain showers to rehabilitate the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank ‘s community garden. Volunteers constructed raised vegetable beds, built a greenhouse, tilled and planted vegetables in the 3,325-square-foot soup kitchen garden. The soup kitchen garden provides onions, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank was founded in 1988 on the belief that no one deserves to be hungry. It provides food to more than 60 non-profit agencies and distributed more than 564,000 pounds of food last year and provided meals to 11,763 residents.
FAIRBANKS – Silverberry HomeCan you believe it? It was sunny with no rain in Fairbanks! One out of four isn ‘t bad. About 40 volunteers were on hand in Fairbanks to frame a library addition to the Silverberry Home, a residential home administered by the Presbyterian Hospitality House program.The Silverberry Home provides life skills support for teenagers. The library will offer a quiet place to study and house the home ‘s computers. The Presbyterian Hospitality House program was originally established in 1956 and provides care and treatment for adolescents from Interior Alaska communities.
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2000 – Calgary, Canada

Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland

The 2000 Torch Classic Volunteer Day was one our most successful projects. Participants and their families helped to construct a new 36-acre interpretive wetland adjacent to the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery in Calgary, Canada. The interpretive wetland consists of numerous hiking trails and boardwalks overlooking a series of winding streams, ponds, and bogs. One of the wetland’s primary roles is to naturally treat wastewater released from the fish hatchery. The wetland concept is to re-create streamside and wetland habitat commonly found along southern Alberta foothills streams.

Another primary role of the wetland project will be functioning as an outdoor classroom for tens of thousands of school children and other visitors who will visit the site each year to learn more about the value of wetlands. The Torch Classic partnered with the City of Calgary and Alberta Environment to make this project become a reality. The project was chosen because it reinforces a commitment to the environment and it is an investment for the future.

View a 2005 update on this project here…

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1999 – Whiting, Indiana


Volunteer Day workers help lay the foundation for one of the  restroom and storage facilities in Hammond.Hoosier Boys Town

The most aggressive Volunteer Day project to date. Our employees and retirees logged thousands of volunteer hours assisting with the construction of a 125,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose educational facility on the campus of Hoosier Boys Town. The new facility will provide computer training, vocational training, dining service for 400+ meals a day, independent living skills training, a resource library, GED/college prep classes, and individual & family counseling for over 92 young people from Northwest Indiana residing at Hoosier Boys Town. Classic volunteers received a Proclamation from the Governor of Indiana, for their work at Hoosier Boys Town.

Other Community Projects

Other community projects included construction of two restroom and storage buildings in Hammond and Whiting. Also, volunteers helped plant trees and assemble bleachers at the Little League complex in East Chicago.

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1998 – Tulsa, Oklahoma

Carver Middle School

Carver Middle SchoolOne of our largest projects ever, volunteers logged thousands of volunteer hours restoring the historical landmark Carver Stadium. Torch Classic volunteers installed new bleachers and constructed a new press box, and helped to provide new lighting and a new track.

Volunteers also constructed an outdoor learning center and butterfly farm on the grounds of Carver Middle School. In the fall of 1998, Classic volunteers were recognized at Carver Middle School ‘s first football homecoming game “under the lights” in over 20 years. The Torch Classic received the State of Oklahoma ‘s highest award for historical restoration for their work at Carver Stadium.

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1997 – Houston, Texas

Project Row Houses (revisited)

Project Row Houses appears as the central feature of a Woman's Day  Special Interest Publication in 1996.A lot had happened at Project Row Houses since we first helped kick-start the project in 1994. Several corporations followed our lead, and the project took off. Project Row Houses gained national recognition including coverage in Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications, and a special segment on “CBS News Sunday Morning.”

Despite its fame, there was still a lot more work that needed to done. Classic volunteers decided to revisit the project and were welcomed with open arms. Volunteers repaired and painted wood siding, built a new deck for the day care center, and constructed a new walkway for students attending workshops. Project Row Houses continues to be a national model for neighborhood revitalization. Torch Classic volunteers received a Congressional Proclamation for their work at Project Row Houses.

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1996 – North Dakota

The Child's Hope Learning Center was an ambitious project for the  North Dakota Amoco Torch Classic in 1996.Child’s Hope Learning Center

Classic volunteers put in thousands of hours constructing the new Child’s Hope Learning Center, an activity and day-care center for children with disabilities. Built from the ground up, employees and annuitants used their skills in the construction, plumbing, and electrical trades to make a dream come true for a special group of children in the Mandan/Bismarck communities. Classic volunteers received a Proclamation from the Governor of North Dakota for their work at the Child’s Hope Learning Center.


Mandan Legion Park

Classic volunteer workers installed a new playground at Mandan’s Legion Park. Constructed to remember the smaller children, the modern playground skips the life- and limb-risking thrills in exchange for lower-height attractions. The playground also accommodates children with disabilities by offering a “transfer station” from which physically challenged youngsters – including those in wheelchairs – can use to get to all attractions.

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1995 – Chicago, Illinois

Pilsen/Little Village

Volunteers spent the day at the Racine Apartments, a senior citizen housing complex. The surrounding grounds were landscaped with trees and flowers, and a walking trail was constructed for recreational activities. In addition, volunteers painted the interior of over 35 apartments for senior citizens who reside there.

Logan Square

Chicago Volunteer Day participants break for  lunch and watch as the Casa Day Care Center children participate in  games.Classic volunteers assisted in the renovation of Casa Central’s Day Care Center. Casa Central provides a comprehensive system of social service programs for residents in the community. Major projects included painting the day care center’s front staircase and iron fence, painting several of the children’s classrooms, and landscaping the grounds with flowers.

Grand Boulevard

Employees and annuitants repainted benches, and painted the lower half of the Abraham Lincoln Center’s gymnasium. The gymnasium is frequently used by students who seek an alternative to gangs. Hundreds of children participate in the after-school programs, and the gymnasium is a hub for many of those activities.

Humboldt Park

A team of demolition volunteers reconstructed the first floor of the Artists & Children Create Together building. The organization provides an alternative to gangs, by taking a “hands on” approach to art education. Their hope is to aspire children to create a sense of ownership, responsibility, and control over their lives. Volunteers also performed landscaping and other cleanup efforts to create a park across the street from the building.


A cooperative effort between Classic volunteers and a community group called Pride. The Royal Gardens, a large affordable housing complex had become an eyesore and a site for some illegal activities. Representatives from Pride decided to take their complex back, and worked with Torch Classic volunteers to beautify the area and provide a secure and safe place for children to play. Volunteers turned a courtyard and side lots into beautiful lawns and gardens. They also constructed a flagstone walkway and timber playground for the children.

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1994 – Texas City, Texas

Project Row Houses before renovation.Project Row Houses in progress.Project Row Houses - The finished product! Project Row Houses
Project Row Houses was originally conceived by African American artist and Houston community activist Rick Lowe. As a way to enhance racial pride and bring Black art and culture into the community, Lowe had a vision to rehabilitate 22 row houses that were slated for demolition. Some of the homes would be used as art space for galleries and workshops. Others were to be used as transitional housing for single mothers and their children.After meeting with Lowe, Classic volunteers decided to adopt the project for Volunteer Day. Thousands of volunteer hours of planning and construction was performed by volunteers.Employees and retirees repaired the foundations, built new decks, removed over two tons of trash and debris, removed and replaced wood siding, scraped and used over 400 gallons of paint to restore the 12 of the 22 historic row houses in Houston’s Third Ward. Project Row Houses is now a national model for neighborhood revitalization.Bay Street Park
Bay Street Park in Texas City, Texas, was the site of the nation’s first air force base. To commemorate it’s history, Classic volunteers worked with Texas City officials to develop hundreds of acres into a memorial park.Volunteers assembled and installed recycled plastic playground equipment, handicapped accessible picnic tables, bike racks, and park benches throughout the park. They also placed over 100 recycled plastic trash containers throughout the park.

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1993 – Atlanta, Georgia

The Moving 'N Spirit Dance Troupe perform on their new stage built  as part of the Atlanta Volunteer Day.It was once a debtors prison during the Civil War, but now Glencastle serves a more meaningful service for Atlanta. With thousands of volunteer hours courtesy of Classic volunteers, Glencastle now provides housing for the working poor.

Classic volunteers constructed office space, and used over 200 gallons of paint renovating the interior of the main building and chapel areas. Outside, additional volunteers built a 20′ by 24′ portable stage for the “Moving in Spirit Dance Troupe,” a group of children from the Glencastle complex who perform interpretative dance routines at special events throughout the country.

The chapel area was also landscaped with flowers and trees, and more than 3,000 sq. ft. of sod. Classic volunteers received a Proclamation from the Mayor of Atlanta for their work at Glencastle.

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