As the Geneva 2020 initiative expands throughout the community, Rich Malec, owner of Mark’s Pizzeria and generous supporter of the initiative, has witnessed firsthand the impact civic engagement can have on the entire community. Through the Geneva 2020 partnership, Mark’s Pizzeria, and other local businesses and organizations share the common goal of engaging civically to foster the continuous improvement of the lives of children in the community and the enrichment of their educational experience.
“The Geneva 2020 program is right in line with what we are trying to accomplish in terms of reaching out to the community,” says Malec, who contributes to the Geneva School District’s P.A.W.S program. “As part of the community, I feel businesses should go above and beyond the normal operations and do what we can to support the community. The community shows us a great deal of support and we want to give back as much as we can.”
P.A.W.S, a program designed to “catch” children demonstrating positive behavior, falls into four behavioral categories: patience and kindness, academic excellence, working together and safe and in control behavior. Many local businesses have teamed up with the Geneva 2020 initiative to provide rewards for the students involved in the program.
“I think it’s very important to reward kids for good behavior,” Malec says. “I look at programs, such as P.A.W.S, as a way to plant seeds for our future. I feel it’s up to the leaders in the community to display that kind of leadership and pass it down to the children.”
The P.A.W.S. program is an afterschool program for elementary students and families on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 – 7 p.m. at West Street School. P.A.W.S. activities focus on health and wellness, academic and technology connections, family connections and homework support. Special workshops using technology, literacy and math games, and game time in the gym are just some of the activities offered.
Launched in March, the Geneva 2020 initiative seeks to harness the resources of the entire Geneva community – nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals – to provide assistance in three key areas identified by the Geneva City School District as being critical to the future of Geneva’s children: graduation rate, career and college readiness and literacy.