SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Evangel University’s Enactus team has launched a campaign to encourage 72 businesses in or near the Weller Elementary School neighborhood to provide financial support for the Weller Elementary Activity Fund.
To initiate the effort, the Evangel Enactus team recently presented a $300 donation to Dr. Rebecca Donaldson, principal.
Evangel University is located in the Weller Neighborhood. The Enactus team started exploring the needs in the community two years ago.
“Convoy of Hope came in and trained our Enactus students on how to assess needs and then look for sustainable solutions from within the area,” said Bernie Dana, Enactus faculty advisor. The Enactus team named the project Elevate.
The students learned that Weller’s median household income is 23% below the city average, and the number of single-parent households is three times the city average. Nearly 88% of the children attending Weller Elementary receive free and reduced lunch.
When Weller Elementary opened in the fall, the teachers welcomed students and parents with nine different native languages.
“We learned that the parents want the best for their children, but don’t always have the resources to provide the field trips and other dynamic learning experiences that broaden their horizons and expand their hopes and dreams,” said Eden Janeway, the current Elevate team leader.
Last spring, the team began mapping out businesses that are within or adjacent to the Weller Neighborhood. They sent students to visit some of the business managers to learn what approaches might be best to encourage area businesses to provide financial support.
Last fall, the team developed and tested a brochure to share the message. The Elevate team has now visited 26 businesses to provide the brochure, a contribution card, and return envelope and to obtain contact information for follow-up.
“Many are expressing an interest in participating and some of the larger businesses are seeking corporate office approval,” said Janeway.
The remainder of the 72 business will be visited in the next month. The Enactus team plans to continue the campaign and to help Weller Elementary create the processes to generate several thousand dollars annually from businesses to provide the enhanced learning experiences that the Weller children deserve.
“Our teachers and students are being blessed so much by what the Evangel Enactus team is doing,” said Dr. Donaldson. “They are reaching out to a segment of our community that we did not know how to reach. This can develop into a model that other schools with needs like ours can use.”
Donaldson said that the school is working on a plan to display the names of the businesses that choose to participate.
Faculty and students at Evangel University have had a long-term commitment to working with Weller Elementary. Education majors, social work majors and student athletes alike volunteer on a regular basis, both at the school and through the Boys & Girls Clubs in the area.
Enactus is a corporately sponsored, international non-profit organization that brings together student, academic, and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.
Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.
For more information on Evangel University, visit http://www.evangel.edu