Brokerage community adopts real estate pro's youth program
Though Robert M. Mauk, CCIM, isn't a jockey,
he spends a great deal of time in the winner's circle. The champions
who share the spotlight with Mauk are the thousands of schoolchildren
who take part in Winners Walk Tall, a community-based volunteer program
devoted to educating today's youth on becoming leaders in life. WWT's
mission is to teach kids fundamental values and life skills through
short, interactive classroom activities.
early 1990s, Mauk helped his daughter, who is a teacher, by spending
time each week tutoring the students in her second-grade class. Despite
his busy schedule as a senior vice president at Colliers Turley Martin
Tucker in Cincinnati, he wondered if he could be doing even more to
help the kids. When he asked another teacher what else the children
needed, he received an earful: "She said they desperately needed help
with manners and learning how to treat people with respect - the basic
values that are necessary to make good choices as they mature," he
The conversation planted a seed in Mauk's mind
that blossomed into WWT. For two years he hosted weekly classroom
discussions on character-building topics ranging from choosing reading
over television to setting goals to overcoming peer pressure. Mauk's
idea soon spread like wildfire: Local volunteers joined him at that
school in 1994; the program expanded to other Cincinnati-area schools
in 1996; and WWT was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1997.
Currently, more than 450 volunteers spend time with about 20,000
children in nine U.S. states and Montreal, Quebec. A small staff and
board of directors run the program, which is funded solely through
donations and foundation funds.
"Many of the volunteers
come from the ranks of commercial real estate offices," Mauk says. He
estimates about 20 to 25 CCIMs currently are WWT volunteers. "One of my
goals with the program is to take it across the country through the
commercial and residential real estate communities," he says. His goal
is being realized through a recently established partnership among
Colliers International, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., and WWT. "Inquiries from all over the country are coming in weekly."
2002, Colliers International honored Mauk with the Tom Richardson
Award, which annually recognizes one employee's work and community
achievements. "It was great exposure for Winners Walk Tall within
Colliers," Mauk says.
Now that WWT is off and running,
Mauk has no plans to take a seat in the grandstand. His fondness for
the program only continues to grow: "The kids just light up when you
step in the classroom, and they really bond with the volunteers," he
says. But it's the program's results that keep him coming back: "The
teachers say they really see an immediate difference in the kids."