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Life at Arcus

Arcus Employees and Families Unite for a Day of Science and Service

By Deborah Ausman   |   Arcus Biosciences

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children and adults with signs

Arcus employees brought their children to work on July 20, 2022, for a morning of fun science activities and a unique service project designed to bring joy and encouragement to children fighting cancer.

Arcus’ first annual Science & Service Family Day was attended by 127 Arcus employees and 91 children at the Arcus Hayward headquarters and in an online session. Onsite, the morning encompassed two primary activities.

kids doing science experiments

Happy Little Scientists

Children watched in awe as research fellow Jarek Kalisiak, assisted by Suan Liu, research associate, and John Hartung, principal investigator, brought chemistry to life with experiments that made fake snow, glowsticks, slime and other cool concoctions. Jarek loved seeing the “curious, happy eyes of little scientists.”

“When I was 13, I had a chemistry lab in my bedroom and spent a good amount of time making fun experiments like the ones I presented today,” Jarek said. “Personally, moments like the Arcus Science & Service Family Day remind me of my scientific journey, and I hope that there are kids out there who got inspired and will become future chemists.”

kids doing science experiments

Bringing Joy to Courageous Kids with Cancer

Employees also participated in a service activity hosted by the Jessie Rees Foundation. Jessie was an inspirational 12-year-old girl who, while undergoing her own fight against cancer, found a way to encourage other children with the disease to Never Ever Give Up. She created JoyJars® filled with toys and games and gave them to kids receiving cancer treatment in the hospital. Her legacy has delivered more than 405,000 JoyJars to kids around the world, and Jessie’s motto, Never Ever Give Up (NEGU) serves as the mission of the Jessie Rees Foundation.

Volunteers from the Jessie Rees Foundation instructed Arcus employees in how to fill JoyJars, and together we filled 300 jars. The children also created bright, cheerful Care Cards to accompany the jars, and our remote workers had the chance to color Care Cards digitally in a one-hour virtual session held in conjunction with the event.

The day also featured fun outdoor games such as cornhole and Jenga and a scrumptious BBQ lunch.

“Thank you all for organizing an amazing day yesterday!” wrote Jennifer Jarrett, Arcus chief operating officer, to the team who put on the event. “It was special on so many levels! And you all did an outstanding job of creating the perfect agenda and setting. It was very much appreciated by everyone.”

“Jen couldn’t have picked a better organization for us to partner with for our first service day,” said Roberta Bernardez, HR Associate and one of the organizers of the event. “We thought we’d never be able to pull the kids away from the science experiments, but my niece completely surprised me by saying she wanted to start with the Jessie Rees Foundation first! I think it was really powerful to have kids coloring Care Cards for other kids—it connected to what Jessie did when she started this project and tied in to everything we do at Arcus for people with cancer.”


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