I recently learned about this partnership between EACC member Miller-Valentine Group and Adopt A Class (AAC), which is generating great benefits for both the firm and our community. When I discovered that over a dozen other EACC members work with AAC (including manufacturers like Givaudan and VEGA Americas, I knew this was a story we had to share. Be sure also to see these videos (from MVG CEO Elizabeth Mangan, a member of the AAC Board, and this one featuring EACC Board Member and MVG CFO Mike Dektas) to learn more. –Todd Schwartz, EACC Executive Director
Miller-Valentine Group (MVG) first got involved with Adopt A Class in 2015, when the general contractor made a monetary donation to the nonprofit. Six years later, MVG is all-in on supporting the program.
“One of our core beliefs is to give back through education, and Adopt A Class provides unbelievable opportunities for us to do that,” said Mike Dektas, Chief Financial Officer for MVG and a member of the EACC Board of Directors. “We have watched our Associates develop both personally and professionally through our work with Adopt A Class, and the impact you make on the community and the children is wonderful.”
MVG currently supports fourth-grade classrooms at Silverton Paideia Academy, and has previously worked with Norwood View Elementary School. In addition, MVG CEO Elizabeth Mangan sits on the Adopt A Class board.
This year, MVG’s Associates met with students virtually because of COVID-19. But in a typical year, 10 to 12 Associates visit their adopted classrooms each month. Their hands-on sessions target different aspects of the construction process and pull in the skills the students are learning in school. For example, last year, MVG pulled together a set of plans and materials to build birdhouse-shaped banks. Students learned to read the plans, develop a budget, and construct and decorate the banks.
During every meeting, MVG Associates work hard to help students make connections between their interests and potential career paths.
“Naturally we talk about the skills that are needed to build a building, but we take it a step further,” said Angie Gill, vice president of real estate investments for MVG. “We also discuss careers in the industry that use different skillsets. For example, students who enjoy working with numbers could go into the finance field. Or if they like art, they might want to consider careers in marketing, graphic design and even architecture.”
In addition to classroom sessions, the team takes students on field trips. Past field trips included tours of local MVG construction sites and MVG’s office in Cincinnati. The MVG team also uses videos and video chats with construction personnel to bring the job site to the students.
The overall time commitment is minimal, but the ability to help students see the opportunities for their future is priceless.
“These children are our future, and we as professionals have a chance and an obligation to help them see the many career paths that are available to them,” said Gill. “When you enjoy what you do and the company that you work for, and you see the kids get interested in and excited about their potential careers, it’s an amazing thing.”
For more information on how your organization can support Adopt A Class, contact Adopt a Class Executive Director Sonya Fultz at 513-673-9360 or Sonya@aacmentors.org.