As part of its community outreach efforts, the OPCMIA recently visited Moravia Park Elementary School in Baltimore to spread some holiday cheer.

General President Daniel E. Stepano, General Secretary-Treasurer Kevin D. Sexton, Executive Vice-President Todd A. Lair, Vice President Doug Taylor and Office Manager Matthew Hurd attended a kindergarten and pre-kindergarten class, speaking about what plasterers and cement masons do, and about the OPCMIA’s commitment to giving back to the community.

The students then made ornaments, while union officials handed out gifts to the children and Child ID Kits to be distributed to parents.

The children’s ornaments were recently hung on the OPCMIA’s Christmas Tree in its Columbia, Md. Headquarters, making it not only pretty but poignant.

“It was good to spread the holiday cheer,” said General President Stepano. “We try to talk to as many kids in different age groups as possible, so they’re aware of different career opportunities down the road once they graduate from high school. In fact, by the time they reach high school, they already have an idea what they want to do with their life and what career path they want to take, so it’s important to reach out to them in earlier grades — even those as young as the children we had the pleasure of spending time with today.”

“Our school motto is, ‘the heart of the community, the home of excellence,’ so we pride ourselves on our community partnerships,” said Moravia Park Principal Tadem L. Daniels. “It’s extremely important for the students to see that the community is there to assist them for anything they need, as far as academics, social/emotional support, and just some fun things like this.

“One of the curriculum units for Pre-K and K is ‘community helpers,’ so they get to see there are different jobs in the community,” she noted. “When we have these partners come in, it kind of opens their eyes to any new careers that they would never be thinking of, and say ‘Aha, that’s something I can do.’”

“Our students had a lot of fun,” said special education teacher Caitlin McKee. “They did get gifts and they learned about giving back to the community, as well, at such a young age; that is so important.”

The child ID kits were given to the students’ parents as a result of OPCMIA’s partnership with the National Child ID Program. This enables parents to immediately assist law enforcement authorities in the unlikely event that a child goes missing, greatly increasing response time and the chances that they will be swiftly found.

The Moravia Park Elementary School visit was one among many OPCMIA outreach activities during the holiday season and year-round. And the OPCMIA Christmas Tree stands as a visible expression of the holiday spirit at its best.