Baltimore Janitorial Supply, 8 others honored by GBC for civic leadership

September 28, 1990|By Cindy Harper-Evans

An article in yesterday's Business section about the nine businesses honored by the Greater Baltimore Committee for their civic leadership misidentified Best Janitorial Supply, which has a Clown Corps that visits sick children in hospitals.

Baltimore Janitorial Supply's clowning around has gotten it an award from the Greater Baltimore Committee for civic leadership.

Charles Levine, one of the janitorial company's owners, got his clown idea when he became ill with what doctors think is multiple sclerosis and began spending a lot of time in hospitals.

"As I was going through the hospitals, I met a lot of kids there. So whenever I ran into one of them I started goofing off to take their minds off their illnesses," said Mr. Levine, 31.


Mr. Levine decided to start Clown Corps 18 months ago through his company and encouraged employees to become volunteer jesters, visiting and entertaining sick children confined to area hospitals.

All the money used to bring balloons, puppets, magic tricks and gifts to the children come from the company's operating budget.

Yesterday, the GBC honored Baltimore Janitorial Supply and eight other companies and institutions for finding unique and unusual ways to improve higher education and Baltimore's public schools, feed the hungry, fight illiteracy and clean up neighborhoods.

Other winners of the GBC's Mayor's Business Recognition Award were:

* BSI Temporaries -- This temporary-help business supplied Sarah Roache Elementary School on Old Frederick Road in Irvington with a computer, a mimeograph machine, a record player and supplies after the school was robbed a few years ago. Computer teacher Dorothy Simpson said BSI continues a relationship with the school.

* Afro-American Newspaper Co. -- Afro-Charities, a non-profit subsidiary of the company, has launched many community programs including the Mrs. Santa program, which helped clothe, feed and provide toys to 400 families last Christmas.

* The Baltimore Orioles -- One program cited by the GBC was the Orioles' Read Like A Pro program, which challenges students to read a target number of books. Roughly 1,500 students met the challenge in 1990 and were invited to a special night at the stadium.

* Giant Food -- The supermarket company has been a big part of the Bags of Plenty project, which feeds people at Thanksgiving. The project begins in mid-November with the placement of 500,000 special grocery bags in The Sun.

* Piper & Marbury -- Through the Educational Opportunity Pro

gram, the law firm has made contributions to Lake Clifton High School. The program links students with mentors from the business community from ninth grade to graduation. Fifty-four Lake Clifton students have been helped through the Piper & Marbury program.

* The University of Maryland at Baltimore -- The university allows its employees two hours of work time each week to volunteer on partnership activities with Booker T. Washington Middle School. This year, UMAB staff members spent more than 2,500 hours at the school.

* Westinghouse Electric Corp. -- Since 1983, Westinghouse has had a partnership with Harlem Park Middle School. It has donated two computers, its employees teach computer courses at Harlem Park, and students get tours of Westinghouse operations.

* Yaffe & Co. -- The company has had a three-year relationship with Sharpe-Lendenhall Elementary School on the edge of Federal Hill. GBC said Yaffe was the first to work with a special education school in a partnership.

Fifteen Yaffe employees visit the school each Wednesday and teach cooking and sponsor guest lectures including a nutritionist, doctor and football coach.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke presented each business with a plaque at the Omni Inner Harbor during a luncheon.

"In the community, people need a lot of help, and not just with money," said GBC chamber division director Kendall Shackelford.

"These companies have done something unique that will hopefullyencorage other businesses to do the same."

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