MacLean Curtis Partners with School 18

There are many phrases and quotes that remind us of the simple things in our lives.  “Good Things Come in Small Packages,” “Pay it Forward,“ “The Best Things in Life are Free” are a few you may know.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to “Pay it Forward” is to give of yourself to enhance the life of another. That is what fuels MacLean Curtis (Buffalo, NY) in their partnership with Dr. Antonia Pantoja Community School of Academic Excellence (also known as School 18). For well over 25 years, children attending this inner-city school have been recognized for the character traits that will prove to enhance their education and mold their future. School 18 is unique in that it serves children from over 20 countries offering ESL (English as Second Language) programs.

The process is simple:  every month a teacher from grades one through eight chooses a child to be recognized. This results in 24 children a quarter for which a celebration is given. The honorees receive a white polo shirt with the inscription ‘Citizen of the Month,’ a gift bag filled with items to support a healthy lifestyle, and a pizza luncheon.  

It’s no surprise that there are children who have been previously recognized in years past; it is with these veterans that the introductions begin. Going around the room, each child is asked to tell the group their name, grade, and teacher's name. They are then asked to share “Why they think their teacher chose them to be Citizen of the Month?” Occasionally, a student responds with “I don't know,” but the majority is prepared with honest and wholesome answers. Some of the responses we have heard range from “I am respectful to the teacher,” “I do my homework every night” and “I help others in my class when they don't understand something.” And, every now and then, there is an answer that reinforces how critically important our commitment is, “I am nice to kids who have no friends” or “I'm kind to others when they are sad.”

There are generally between three and six MacLean Curtis employees who attend—these include members of both the plant and office workforce, giving a great cross-section of our workforce. Employees on the plant floor explain the parts we make and how we make them. Sample parts are brought in as a visual for the children. Office employees share their job descriptions and how their job affects the organization.

After receiving their certificates and a handshake or hug, the children are ready to return to their classes. As thank you and good-bye is said with warm smiles of appreciation, there is no doubt “It's Better to Give Than to Receive.”