by Joe Sylvester
Patrick McMahon knew he did the right thing when three John Adams Elementary School students came up to him and said it was the best day they’ve ever had.
Not that McMahon, chief executive officer of One Point, a Scranton-based office furniture and supply company, had any doubt about his company putting on a carnival for the school on a recent Friday. He knew that was the right thing to do, just as he was certain it’s right for his company to put up the money to fund an after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program at the school.
McMahon wanted to do something for the school, not for publicity or praise, but to encourage other companies to do the same.
Especially for a school like John Adams Elementary, where 96 percent of the students come from economically disadvantaged families and the students and their families speak a total of 26 different languages and come from more than 14 different countries, according to Principal Mario Emiliani.
McMahon and his employees formulated plans to help the Capouse Avenue school, located just two blocks away from his Poplar Street company, after he learned about the school from one of his employees, who was there for the United Day of Caring.
McMahon learned the students did not have the same advantages as more affluent schools.
He said that in a meeting of the company’s charity committee, he thought the company should do something for the school.
“I said, what about a day of fun?” he recalled.
“These guys are neighbors of ours,” said McMahon, as he stood in the school lot where some of the 300 students participated in such games as soccer darts, potty toss, Minute to Win It or had their faces painted or did sand art. “These neighbors are the future.”
“I was excited for the kids,” said Emiliani.
He gave a presentation at One Point to talk about his school.
At least a dozen of McMahon’s employees volunteered at the carnival, along with some Scranton Preparatory School students.
McMahon said that while a lot of companies do public outreach, “we would encourage other companies to adopt an elementary, middle or high school.”
He said his company is not stopping at the fun day.
“We’re going to keep this relationship going,” he said.
One Point, which derives its name from late former President George H.W. Bush’s reference to a thousand points of light volunteer organizations, will organize and pay for a teacher for the afternoon STEM program. McMahon said that hopefully, the Prep students will assist.
He said he hopes his company can serve as a model for other companies to do the same.
McMahon follows the four pillars of success in leadership – self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism – as stated in Chris Lowney’s 2003 book, “Heroic Leadership,” based on the business practices of Jesuits.
“Businesspeople don’t use the word love,” McMahon said. “It’s caring, it’s respect. That’s love.”