Partners for Progress: Steel Dynamics
If you were to wander onto the campus of Palmer Home for Children between the hours of 8 AM and 2 PM, you might be surprised to find a small schoolhouse full of children studiously engaged in individual lessons via computer. In each classroom there’s an array of interactive technology such as electronic white boards, e-readers, laptops, desktops, printers, and workstations designed to ensure that teachers and students have every possible resource at their fingertips.
This setup is essential for the operation of Palmer Home School, which serves to meet the needs of the children living at Palmer Home, an organization that cares for children in need. Often children who arrive at their doorstep have lacked consistent education, and may be years behind their grade level. The existence of an on-campus school allows these students to complete course work at their own pace, with a small student-teacher ratio where help is always available.
What many people don’t realize is that the Palmer Home School likely wouldn’t exist without the partnership between Palmer Home for Children and Severstal, now Steel Dynamics. The partnership began in 2012 when the company first donated $5,000 to Palmer Home as a gift to the general fund. Eventually this led to their aid in renovating the Friarson building, where the school is now located. Four years and more than $50,000 later, the partnership is thriving.
In 2016, Steel Dynamics made a $75,000 commitment which will spread over 3 years, to cover necessities such as updates to educational technology, special needs and gifted placement testing, and continued renovations to better suit the needs of the school. Fortunately, the corporation hasn’t stopped at the necessities. For the second consecutive year, they will provide funding for students from Palmer Home to attend LeaderSTATE at Mississippi State University, a week-long leadership immersion experience. Other perks, such as tours of the Steel Dynamics facilities in Columbus and workforce development with older students, are not an uncommon occurrence.
“The partnership has been very meaningful for Palmer Home,” says Development Director Emily Ferril. “The leadership at Steel Dynamics is quality, and their giving truly spreads from the highest levels of management down.” Employees of Steel Dynamics are encouraged to engage on a personal level as well, and many have been known to donate rewards they have earned through the company to Palmer Home for Children.
Palmer Home operates on a saying that simply declares, “They need our help. We need yours.” Without companies like Steel Dynamics, willing to go the extra mile to provide that aid, fewer children would experience the thrill of making honor roll, fewer teens would see their dreams for college or career open wide before their eyes, and fewer children would know the hope of a future offered to them within the gates of the Palmer Home for Children.