Members of Students in Free Enterprise have made it their mission to give back to the local community.
SIFE has begun a partnership with New Horizons, a local non-profit that ministers to abused children and gives them a place to live. The students planted flowers and worked in the gardens and New Horizons’ Audrey Grace House on Saturday – but students said this is just the beginning of their partnership.
“We want to build that relationship with those kids and be a part of the community with those kids,” said SIFE project manager Jon Pratt. “We’re going to start going every Thursday to spend time with kids and tutor. It’s a sustainable project so we plan on working with them for years to come.”
Pratt, senior accounting major from Kerrville, said the group was awarded a $1,200 grant from Lowes Home Improvement and decided to work with New Horizons at the suggestion of their adviser Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, associate professor of management.
“It’s outstanding. New Horizons exists to put kids first and do what’s best for the kids,” Jinkerson said. “It can be a very, very long relationship.”
Pratt said he was looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with New Horizons.
“Our SIFE team is all about getting involved in the community,” Pratt said. “As a team we’ve never had a non-profit that we’ve been completely focused on. We are focusing on being able to help organizations like new horizons long term.”
Pratt said SIFE, an organization based in the College of Business Administration, is not exclusively for COBA students.
SIFE is in COBA but it’s not just for COBA students,” Pratt said. “We have history majors and PR majors. It’s a great opportunity to work and build leadership skills working with places like New Horizons.”
Ashley Cherry, senior finance major from Hallsville, organized the Saturday’s workday at New Horizons. She said the group was searching for a local project through which they could make a big difference.
“When I first heard about New Horizons, I was expecting just terrible children running around, and I didn’t expect it to be what it is,” Cherry said. “It’s an oasis for those kids. It’s beautiful. They are normal kids. There is nothing wrong with them. They just have hard pasts.”
Cherry said she believed the group has a responsibility to help those less fortunate.
“We take for granted what we have,” Cherry said. “Not everyone is able to live a privileged life, so it’s important to get in touch with reality and give time and resources.”
Cherry said in the future, SIFE wants to develop a rapport with the children at New Horizons. She said students in the group plan to spend time with the kids, doing things from playing basketball to helping with homework.
She said the group also plans to do more physical work around the facility, including working with a pond in which the children like to swim.
More information about New Horizons and its mission can be found on its website, www.newhorizonsinc.com.