PIQUA — Students enrolled in Edison State Community College’s business program recently completed service learning projects as part of their business capstone class. Thirty-four students provided a combined total of over 600 service hours to regional not-for-profit organizations.
Students were involved with everything from running audit reports to leadership programs for organizations such as the Ducks Unlimited–Darke County Chapter, Edison State Business Programs, The Future Begins Today, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and West Liberty, Ohio, Miami Valley Veterans Museum, Ohio Benefits Bank, Piqua Youth Soccer, and Troy Senior Center.
“Each student contributes approximately 15-20 hours to the project, allowing them to apply discipline-specific business skills and improve their communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills as they give back to the community,” said Ruth Barney, professor of Marketing and Business Capstone Instructor.
The group of students who joined forces with Troy, Ohio-based The Future Begins Today (TFBT) were able to help with an array of the organization’s day-to-day activities.
“After about of decade of partnership with the Edison State Service Learning Capstone project and instructors, The Future Begins Today was honored to have four students who embraced our mission and offered their service time to its students and programs this spring,” said Natalie Rohlfs, executive director of The Future Begins Today.
Lauren Cloud of Russia assisted with office management as she developed an email campaign and managed databases while Ryan Marshall of Troy provided one-on-one tutoring to local elementary students in need of assistance.
Meanwhile, Jessica Apple of Troy and Eddie Olinger of Dayton traveled with 75 of Troy’s middle school students and nine chaperones to Campbellsville, Kentucky, to attend a three-day, two-night experience at the Tim Horton Camp Kentahten.
“The camp experience is designed to build positive character traits, teamwork and independence amongst students so that they can learn and apply these newly-developed skills back home, in school, and in their communities,” said Rohlfs.
In addition to Troy students benefitting from the experience, both Edison State students returned home with a greater sense of being. “I learned a lot from the experience,” said Olinger. “It was exciting to be a part of something bigger than myself, and to work in a team environment and see your impact both directly and indirectly.”
“The camp really focused on allowing the kids to see and be a leader,” added Apple. “Not someone who takes control, but someone who can step up and lead a team to work together toward a better end goal. I think the focus on being a leader is important to everyday life skills, especially when applied to the business field.”
Both would do it all again if the opportunity presented itself. “Being a part of Camp Kentahten for my service learning project was honestly a life changing experience for me because I was getting to know kids who really just needed someone to listen and understand. My experience at camp is one I won’t forget. This is an opportunity I am hoping to get to experience again,” added Apple.
Apple and Olinger, along with their 32 classmates, will graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Business degree and hands-on experience to help launch their professional careers or continue their education.
Olinger, who is currently employed in a customer service role, hopes to advance his career in a marketing or public relations capacity. Apple plans to transfer to the University of Cincinnati to continue her education in marketing.
“The TFBT board of trustees and I were thrilled to have their involvement and are grateful to instructors Ruth Barney and Sandra Streitenberger for including TFBT in such a meaningful experience for the students, community non-profits, and Edison State,” added Rohlfs.