“Every other year the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce delivers Maplewood Business Directories to the residents and businesses in their town. This year the Chamber’s director, Jeannine Beck, asked the students of Giant Steps to be their carriers to deliver the Maplewood booklets. A perfect job! Something every student at Giant Steps can do!
Giant Steps students have the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Often people think that people with this disability are only to be served, never serving others! But Giant Steps has been serving others in the community for the last twelve years, whether they are volunteering at the St. Louis Food Bank, baking goodies for the Maplewood Police Officers or Firemen, or selling dog biscuits to donate funds to neglected and abused animals. Betty Berger, the director of the program says, “Service to others fits right into our curriculum. Our students are learning vast skills while preparing for future work and increasing their life skills, not to mention what it does for their self-esteem. When practicing service learning behaviors decrease and abilities rise to the surface!”
During Physical Education classes, Giant Steps students often can be seen outside doing distance walking for exercise, practicing crossing the street, obeying traffic signs, and experiencing the community. Now they walk with an added purpose: representing the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce! Each student carries their own backpack filled with directories and places them at the doors or hands them off to residents. Each student is learning how to carefully place the directories at the door and to be courteous when they meet someone new. When the students return to school after delivering they may look tired but satisfied. Many students have a look of pride on their face and some students say proudly, “I got the job done today!” Surprisingly no one is complaining or refusing to go out with Marhia Wilkenson, their adapted PE teacher and their personal teaching assistant. In fact there has been no resistance at all, even after delivering over 1000 directories!
Marhia reported: ” During all those warmer days the students were very happy to be out in the neighborhood. They are keeping up a good pace and no one wants to return until the last directory in their backpack is delivered!”The Giant Steps students are hoping for more sunny days so they can get back outside and complete their task. Yesterday one student brought his empty backpack to his teacher and said, “Lets go!” Serving the community comes in all shapes and sizes and now in all abilities! ” Betty Berger, Giant Steps of St. Louis
The 2012 Annual Holiday Food Drive at Madosky Chiropractic and Acupuncture Center brought in approximately $600 worth of non-perishable foods, making it the most successful yet! Food items were collected through the month of December and were matched by Dr. Madosky. All proceeds were donated to Immaculate Conception Church in Maplewood which hosts the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s food pantry. Thank you for making this year’s food drive a success!
Liberty Mutual Insurance: Liberty Mutual Insurance representative Clare Hill is our newest member. She can help you with many of your insurance needs: (636) 579-1359.
Pitzman’s Co. of Surveyors: Chris Peoples, President of Pitzman’s has been named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 list.
Nix Conference & Meeting Management: Kimberly Ritter was the recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for her, and Nix’s, work to fight child sex trafficking. According to Ritter’s LinkedIn Profile Nix Conference & Meeting Management is a global leader in combating human trafficking. Their work in setting up events in various hotels gave them the opportunity to make a difference by creating the first Meeting Planners Code of Conduct to combat child sex trafficking and child pornography that occurs in various hotels across the country.
The night Mayor James White presented me with a Key to the City of Maplewood, Mo., was one of the highlights of my life! I was speechless when he bestowed the honor and stated, “Mary, you are a cornerstone of this community.”
Literally, a cornerstone lies at the foundation of a principal angle. Figuratively, it is the essential support from which a development makes its beginning and draws its strength. The placement of such a stone is often ceremonious, focusing on the joining of all the elements to make the structure – and all entities within – successful.
As the incoming president of the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce, I feel a huge sense of responsibility – this business community has placed its faith in me to continue being a community cornerstone. For that, I am truly honored! And I am excited to continue creating, joining and celebrating the qualities that give this community strength and pride.
You have also placed your faith in the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce board of directors to serve as a cornerstone. I have always believed and will continue believing in this board. We are all successful business owners. We have gained tremendous knowledge and wisdom as we have built and sustained our businesses. And we are currently experiencing what you are – the positive and the not-so-positive. These are assets upon which you can draw. Let us be your cornerstone!
My guarantee is that the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce board will make decisions and take actions that are purposeful and meaningful for this business community. But for us to do this, we need you. We need you to keep us informed of what you require for building and sustaining your businesses. We are here for you! This community has all the cornerstone elements for healthy, long-lasting partnerships. Let’s use them to create the qualities and features that will give us strength.
As one of the many community “LocaVores,” I take great pride in Maplewood. Let’s become strong cornerstones for one another. As we do this, our Maplewood community will thrive!
Business name: Girls on the Run St. Louis
What does Girls on the Run do?
Girls on the Run St. Louis (GOTR-STL) empowers girls for a lifetime of healthy living. We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. GOTR-STL provides an innovative physical activity, positive youth development program in the Greater St. Louis area. The program, for girls in 3rd-8th grades (8-14 years), combines training for a 5k (3.1 mile) run with life skill lessons designed to encourage healthy habits and active lifestyles. They strive to increase each girl’s fitness level and self-esteem as well as teach them skills that will help them navigate the pressures of adolescence and reduce the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors. We work to reduce adolescent pregnancies, eating disorders, depression, suicide attempts, the occurrence of substance/alcohol abuse and childhood obesity.
Tell me about your program?
The GOTR-STL program utilizes an academically evaluated curriculum delivered in small groups by 2 volunteer coaches (min.) per program, twice weekly for 10 weeks, resulting in a coach to girl ratio of 1:3. The curriculum contains 20 lessons focused on specific life skills such as healthy decision-making, conflict resolution, healthy eating, body image, leadership, teamwork & goal setting. Each team participates in a community service project of its own design. At the end of the program, the girls participate in a 5k as the culminating achievement of the previous 10 weeks.
How long have you been in Maplewood?
We moved to Maplewood in June, 2010.
What are you most proud of with your Girls on the Run experience?
In 2012 we began celebrating our 10th anniversary and serving more than 10,000 girls! In 2011-2012, we operated programs in more than 225 schools serving more than 4,500 girls. In the 2012-2013 seasons, we will serve more than 5,000 girls in more than 240 schools in 19 counties across eastern Missouri and western Illinois. Our program is offered in 55 school districts and 43 independent schools within our service area. The Greater St. Louis community has embraced our mission and helped us work to empower a generation of young girls in our region!
I’m a male- is there any way I can get involved with GOTR?
Of course! GOTR-STL is a volunteer based organization with more than 2,000 volunteers each year. Our team coaches are trained volunteers with a minimum of 2 coaches per team. We also welcome volunteers to participate on our race committee or help on race day each spring and fall. Volunteers help in our office at the start of each season to prepare program materials and for race preparation. We also encourage volunteers to become a running buddy at our race and run with a girl as she crosses the finish line. Volunteer opportunity information is available on our website at http://www.girlsontherunstlouis.org/get-involved/.
What are some of your favorite places to go/ things to do in Maplewood?
We are very proud to call Maplewood our home! We enjoy all the wonderful community events, delicious food and the wonderful walkability/running opportunities in Maplewood.
If you could add one thing to the Maplewood community what would it be?
We are always so excited about any new neighbor that moves into the Maplewood community! We love how supportive everyone is of each other.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
We appreciate the wonderful community that is Maplewood. Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary and Maplewood-Richmond Heights Middle Schools both have wonderful Girls on the Run and Girls on Track teams at their schools with committed coaches from the community!
“The first step to combating this hidden crime is to acknowledge it, and then talk about it. You do not have to be directly related to the travel industry to fight this crime. Awareness is the key. All businesses can make a statement by going towww.nixassoc.com and click on the News and Notes” tab and follow the link under “All Individuals”. This will take you to the ECPAT-USA website, which will allow you to download a letter that should be presented to each hotel General Manager at every hotel you or your co-workers utilize. This shows the hotel chains that you prefer to use properties that stand against child sex trafficking. We should all use our professional resources to combat this crime.”