May 23, 2013
Flagler College’s Enactus team won its third National Championship with local projects benefitting the homeless, troubled youths, war veterans and the environment in St. Augustine.
Flagler Enactus, formerly Students in Free Enterprise, was named the 2013 Enactus USA National Exposition champs on May 23 by a panel of top executives from major U.S. corporations. They evaluated the team’s year-long community outreach efforts, and how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those in need.
“Every one of our projects began with a problem in our own backyard,” said Enactus co-adviser Barry Sand. “Our students apply all the skills they learn in the classroom to solving a problem and helping the community.”
One of the highlights of their presentation was the Passport Pretzels project, a hybrid job-training program for St. Augustine’s homeless shelter, St. Francis House. Passport Pretzels is a business where shelter residents make pretzels and learn culinary that will get them certification in the food service industry. The project provides participants with an immediate source of income and reduces the St. Francis House dependency on funding.
Thanks in part to a $70,000 Perkins grant, which Enactus helped to write, the team has partnered with the St. Johns Juvenile Correctional Facility to create a cable certification program providing the opportunity for the youths to be certified in copper, telecommunications and fiber optic cabling. These new skill sets can help participants land a job that pays $15 to $50 an hour.
“Through this program the boys are gaining hands-on experience,” said Flagler student Jovie Reeves, co-president of Enactus. “It was such an amazing experience to feel their excitement and be able to congratulate them on a job well done.”
Another Enactus program that teaches real life experience involves a different medium altogether: soap.
Together with the Flagler group, eight young men from St. Augustine Youth Services have started Soapy Tales, a company that produces all-natural, hand made soap.
“When we first came in to mentor, these boys didn’t have the confidence to talk to strangers. They were shy and reserved and felt uncomfortable around large groups of people,” said Estefania Mones, co-president of Flagler Enactus. “Through this business, they learned product development, marketing, sales, distribution and budgeting, but most importantly, they learned leadership, teamwork, accountability, responsibility and communication.”
To date, Soapy Tales has made profits of over $3,500 and their products are sold in 15 stores throughout St. Augustine.
In addition to those programs, Enactus is also working on their Make History Initiative, which aims to implement a reusable and city-wide commemorative bag system throughout the city of St. Augustine to promote environmental sustainability, as well as the culture of our nation's oldest city. St. Augustine declared the initiative an official beautification component of the city’s 450th anniversary celebration, and has ordered 5,000 of the reusable bags. In addition, 50 local businesses have committed to purchasing the bag.
“Our goal is to have businesses in the St. Augustine community commit to using reusable bags and eventually convert St. Augustine into a completely reusable bag system,” said Jovie Reeves, Co-President of Flagler College Enactus.
They are also continuing work with Jacksonville’s Veterans Farm, an organization that helps wounded combat veterans get back into society through the use of horticulture therapy. Enactus helped the farm develop a product line and marketing campaign, which is helping veterans who are not ready to enter the workforce find a source of income.
The Enactus USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Mo., featured more than 150 chapters of Enactus, an international nonprofit organization that focuses on entrepreneurship. Flagler College has also won the title in 2004 and 2009.
"For a little college to win the regional championship, and then go on to win the national championship is pretty extraordinary," said Flagler President William T. Abare, Jr. “Enactus does a lot of good for the communities that they serve and help in some way.”
Flagler Enactus’ next stop will be Cancun, Mexico, in September where they will represent the United States in the Enactus World Cup.
Enactus is an international nonprofit organization active on more than 1,500 university campuses in 39 countries. Enactus teams create economic opportunities in their communities be organizing outreach projects that focus on market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial skills and business ethics. Enactus teaches students the positive power of businesses through service learning. For more information, visit www.enactusunitedstates.org/events/national_exposition, or visit enactus.org.