Choose Your Location
Access & Impact
By: Tim Goodenow
November 22, 2022
Ten years ago this month, Viatris’ Ashlea Currey completed the steps to become a licensed foster parent and adopted a son. The joy of welcoming a first child into her family was quickly soured by the sight of two garbage bags full of everything the little boy owned.
Fast forward to today, Currey recently found herself surrounded by colleagues, packing comfort items for children entering the foster care system. But this time, they filled backpacks for kids to transport their possessions.
The activity with non-profit organization Comfort Cases was just one of many global impact events occurring as Viatris celebrated its two-year anniversary. Whether through philanthropic giving, advocacy and education, partnerships or volunteerism, the company recognizes the importance of supporting the global community.
“We do a lot of great things at Viatris, and I’m especially grateful to be part of giving back for something that is very personal to me,” said Currey, director of U.S. Customer Relations. “At work, we talk about meeting unmet needs. We did the same for kids in a complex foster system.”
More than 500 cases were assembled from U.S. colleagues gathered at Viatris’ Southpointe office in suburban Pittsburgh. Each backpack contains personal care items ranging from hygiene products to blankets, journals and more. Items inside the cases varied based on the age of the recipients.
The use of cases and backpacks is intentional and at the heart of Comfort Cases’ mission to eliminate trash bags from the foster care system.
“We are sending a message that every child is important. Children know when things are different and having ownership of a new case or backpack to house your possessions is important,” adds Currey. “This whole exercise adds value to youth engagement and stabilizes an emotional situation for the better.”
“We can’t thank the people at Viatris enough for hosting a packing party, creating another opportunity to bring dignity and hope into the foster care system,” said Rob Scheer, founder of Comfort Cases. “Viatris is more than a company that produces medicines. They are a company that cares about communities and the world around them, one that embraces its ability to make a meaningful impact.”
According to Comfort Cases – which delivers packs to all 50 U.S. states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom – roughly 700 children enter foster care every day.
Six years ago, Currey expanded her family with the adoption of a 3-year-old girl.
“While the process of foster parenting and adoption can be very challenging, it is also a very rewarding experience,” said Currey, who also volunteers with foster parenting classes. “It’s a lot like my work. There many are long days and nights. But I know I am going to do everything I can, as much as possible, to help the patient or customer on the other end of the line. I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life.”