Student Org. Partners with Target to Benefit Local Kids

April 2013

Three organizations. One cause. Farmer School's Business Student Advisory Council (B.S.A.C.), Target Corporation, and nonprofit Hamilton Living Water Ministry joined forces to benefit area kids.

This month B.S.A.C. provided Hamilton Living Water Ministry, which offers a safe haven and educational programming to an average of 120 inner-city kids daily, with a $3,000 service grant from Target Corporation. The boost in funding helped buy new supplies and learning aids.

B.S.A.C. first found out about Living Water from one of their own—senior finance major and B.S.A.C. member, Karmen Lorenzi, who has tutored children at Living Water Ministry since she was a first year student. Miami University's Office of Community Engagement and Service Learning sends approximately 300 students to volunteer at Living Water each year. "We have a great relationship with Miami University," said Cathy Hester, Living Water Ministry Executive Director. "It allows us to provide much needed support to our nonprofit and also for our children. Couldn't do this without them! It's not only rewarding for our children but the college students as well which is what a partnership should be."

Lorenzi's volunteerism prompted B.S.A.C. president and fellow Finance major, Emma Paas to take a closer look at the ministry: "We were instantly touched by the children here and could see the need in the Hamilton area," said Paas. "The executive director was incredibly appreciative. She told us that a dollar is very hard to come by and has to be stretched very thin. She was blown away that we approached them to donate $3,000. Their mission to keep the kids off the street and in a safe environment is one that both our organization and Target Corporation support so we knew this would be a more than deserving place to donate this money."

Target Corporation has increasingly made a habit of hiring interns and employees from Farmer School and B.S.A.C. more particularly. Last year, Target hired five students from Farmer, this year the number has expanded to 15. "As an on-campus Miami recruiter, we know of the great work and student involvement that both the Farmer School of Business and B.S.A.C. support and want to be a part of those efforts," said on-campus Target recruiter Crystal Tomczyk. "Because we've had amazing interns at Target like Emma Paas and Lindsay Daubert (who is now part of our full time team and Emma will be joining us this summer) we had increased visibility to organizations and worked with them to identify how to get involved."

The B.S.A.C. service project began with an evening spent shopping at Target for items from Hamilton Living Water Ministry's wish list including: furnishings for a new Teen Center, board games, a set of walkie talkies for staff members, a microwave oven, popcorn maker, a laptop computer, and many other items.

After their shopping spree, B.S.A.C. members visited the ministry to present the donations and spend time with the kids. The evening ended with a pizza party. "It was so fun to see the huge grins on all the children's faces," said Franklin Popek, B.S.A.C. Vice President of Service and Supply Chain major. "They were all so excited to see what new games and learning devices they were receiving. In the Teen Center, the girls in particular were extremely eager to redecorate the classroom with the items we had gifted them. Joy and happiness were abundant."

Paas agreed: "We had a wonderful experience donating these items. The students pulled up on a bus as we were unloading the toys, TVs, toys, and other merchandise and the excitement in their eyes was unforgettable. When the pizza was delivered, there was a stampede of kids running to the cafeteria."