The Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee of the St. Louis Minority Supplier Development Council (SLMSDC) has adopted Twillman Elementary School.
SLMSDC is committed to promoting partnerships with Minority Business Entrepreneurs (MBEs) among major U.S. corporations through strategic marketing and communications programs that educate majority companies on the benefits of doing business with minority entrepreneurs. In addition to these efforts, the SLMSDC promotes community outreach through partnerships, such as the one with Twillman Elementary.
“The school’s counselor reached out to the council and they recommended we take a look at the school,” said Craig Kelly, president of Corporate Facility Solutions and a SLSMDC board member. “I personally visited with the counselor and the other ladies at the school and I thought it was a worthwhile school to adopt after visiting and seeing what they need.”
After Kelly’s visit, Aline Hanrahan, lead guidance counselor, attended a meeting with the SLMSDC board to address the needs of Twillman Elementary and outline future goals to promote social and emotional development and academic success. She was accompanied by Tracy Hinds, Twillman’s instructional specialist, and Helen Sanders, Twillman’s parent liaison. They showed the SLMSDC board a brief, student-led video highlighting Twillman and its accomplishments.
Several ideas were discussed, including providing extra-curricular activities to students, such as chess, homework and other social clubs. The staff also discussed mentoring opportunities and meeting students’ basic needs, such as school supplies, clothing needs, hygiene products and winter clothing. Twillman staff listed culturally relevant experiences and programs they identified as ones that could use SLMSDC partnerships.
Hanrahan shared information about the school’s career day event, usually held during the third week in May, where professionals provide talks, visuals and hands-on instruction to students about what they do for a living.
“We want to participate in that career day and get some of our constituents out there to meet the students and the staff,” Kelly said. “At that time, we will present them with a financial gift.”
“Many of the students didn’t know that positions like those represented by the SLMSDC existed,” Hanrahan said of last year’s fair. “They were only familiar with jobs related to sports.”
SLMSDC board members agreed that they could definitely help with many of the goals outlined by Hanrahan, Hinds, and Sanders. Kelly mentioned a possible connection to the St. Louis Chess Club, as an example, in addition to sponsoring “Taking a Kid/Student to Work Day.”
Today, MBEs generate more than $2.5 billion in revenues and account for nearly 7,000 jobs in the region. There are 300 African-American business owners in the metro area that could be tapped for these programs.