Marty Young had just begun a whiteboard lesson for his seventh period sixth-grade language arts class Nov. 19 at Browns-

town Central Middle School.

That’s when school administrator Trent Shelton and Brownstown McDonald’s owner/operator Andy Ball interrupted class.

But it was for good reason. Ball handed Young an oversized check for $200. He was among the recipients of a Make Activities Count grant.

“I had no idea. I was very surprised,” Young said. “Whenever you fill those grants out, you just never know. You’re hopeful that you get one, but I didn’t plan on it by any means. I was very shocked and excited that McDonald’s provided us with the funds to help these kids.”

Up to $500

This MAC grant was presented by McDonald’s of central Indiana, which consists of 162 locations from as far north as Lafayette to as far south as Brownstown.

The grants, with a maximum of $500, are presented to middle school teachers all over the country to provide hands-on activities for their students.

Advertising dollars help fund the grants, Ball said.

Teachers fill out a paper or online application, describing how they would use the grant money. Each owner/operator receives applications from another area, and they help select recipients.

“We get a lot of requests, especially over the last several years, just stuff people need for the classroom,” Ball said.

Two in a row

This was the second straight year a teacher from Brownstown received a grant.

“I want to see the money come back to the communities that I do business in, obviously, and that’s great,” Ball said. “Any time we can get the money back into our local community is good.”

Young said he was in the school office one day and saw the forms.

“They don’t really ask you to do it, but if you know something you want to do with your class, you just have to fill it out on your own time,” he said. “Our school only gets a set amount in the budget, so if you want to do a special project with a group, that’s what you do, maybe go out and find your own grant.”

Young spends most of his day teaching physical education and health. But last year, the school was in need of a language arts teacher, so he added that to his schedule.

‘Maniac Magee’

Each trimester, he has his language arts class read a book. In applying for the grant, he explained he would use the grant to purchase a classroom set of 20 to 25 “Maniac Magee” books.

Young said he used that book in a lesson with sixth-graders when he was a teacher at Medora.

“We have a good selection of books, but I know a lot about the ‘Maniac Magee’ book, and I like that book,” Young said. “We didn’t have it here, so I was like, ‘Well, I can try to get a book that the kids will enjoy and have a lot of resources I can use to make it a unit in my class.’”

“Maniac Magee,” a novel by Jerry Spinelli, follows the story of an orphaned boy on the run looking for a home and covers the topics of racism and homelessness.

“The big learning point of the story is about discrimination and how the boy, a white boy, went through the black side of the city and how he kind of broke that barrier,” Young said. “It has a lot of lessons that the kids can learn.”

As soon as he receives the books, Young plans to start the lesson. Once the class is done with them, he said he will offer them to another teacher to use.

“At the end, we’ll do maybe a game show or board game, some things that kind of tie the book together,” he said. “With the group I have, it’s going to be good for their comprehension skills.”

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Make Activities Count grants from McDonald’s

This program is for middle school teachers (Grades 6 through 8) across the country. Locally, grants are presented through central Indiana McDonald’s.

Only complete applications, with itemized budgets, will be considered.

All activities must take place on school property.

All checks will be made payable to your school.

Grants may be submitted for up to but should not exceed $500.

Only one application per teacher may be submitted.

This year’s application period is closed. Check back with for the next opportunity to apply.


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