CTC SIFE Team earns honors at National Expo

The Central Texas College (CTC) Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team earned second runner-up honors of League Seven in the opening round, of the 2012 SIFE National Exposition in Kansas City, MO. The team was recognized for its quality educational programs, success in SIFE and long-term sustainability to improve the quality of life and standard of living for others.

The team also captured third place overall in the “Let’s Can Hunger” challenge. CTC SIFE was cited for successfully developing and executing an integrated marketing campaign to raise awareness about the issue of hunger then translating awareness into action by energizing the community and sustaining increased levels of giving to those in urgent need. The team collected 50,721 pounds of non-perishable food for food banks in Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights.

A total of 157 college and university teams (eight two-year colleges and 144 four-year universities) competed for the SIFE National Championship. CTC’s SIFE team earned $750 and a trophy for being the second runner-up in the opening round and received $4,000 and a trophy for its third place finish in the “Let’s Can Hunger” challenge.

The competing teams were judged on their effectiveness in making a difference in their communities. The judges considered the relevant economic, social and environmental factors and how each SIFE team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living. Each team delivered a written report and a 24-minute oral multi-media presentation to a panel of judges from SIFE donor companies.

The written report and multi- media presentation described the four projects that improved quality of life and standard of living for children, college students and citizens at large: Project Hope, Project Upgrade, Project Building Lives and Project R.I.S.E. The CTC SIFE team worked 6,624 hours outside of the class on these projects during the school year and reached more than 12,000 area residents.

Project HOPE was related to the “Let’s Can Hunger” challenge as it involved collecting food for the Killeen Food Care Center, Cove House and the Harker Heights Food Bank. Members conducted 12 food drives at the Killeen and Copperas Cove Wal-Marts, led food collection competitions at Shoemaker High School and CTC, and created a canned food collection project for fourth- and fifth grade-students at Maxdale Elementary School which tasked students with building 4×4 structures using canned goods and non-perishable food items. Through this project, SIFE also created the Coupon Crystal Club to teach shoppers money-saving techniques by redeeming coupons wisely and led food budgeting workshops. 11,651 people were direct beneficiaries of the project.

Project Upgrade targeted the unemployed, disabled and women entrepreneurs. It established a series of workshops to help residents better market themselves for employment or become college-ready. Topics included resume tips, interviewing skills, dressing for success and enrolling in college or G.E.D. programs. A lending closet was also created to provide job seekers proper clothes for interviews. 79 residents were assisted by SIFE and two new businesses were initiated through the project.

In support of the CTC Green Umbrella Project which featured the construction of a “green” energy-efficient facility, SIFE secured a $57,000 donation from IKEA to furnish the structure through Project Building Lives. The team also provided energy conservation kits and created a DVD manual geared toward new home buyers, low-income families to teach them low-cost and time-saving tips to save money on utilities, the benefits of recycling and overall maintenance of a home. In addition to the 624 people who were helped through the project, SIFE’s efforts led to 22,000 pounds of paper recycled, 500 pounds of cardboard recycled, 1,870 gallons of water saved, 81,000 pounds of CO2 emissions saved and 36 percent savings on electricity bills.

Reaching, inspiring supporting and empowering was the goal of Project R.I.S.E. as team members directed their efforts to help area teens on probation realize their potential, become productive members of their communities and learn the importance of “giving back.” SIFE members served as mentors to teach the youngsters life skills along with entrepreneurial skills including management, record keeping and marketing skills to start their own business. The teens were given a microloan which they used to establish Creative Creations to sell decorative, hand-crafted specialty items such as jewelry boxes, bird houses, key holders, step stools and more. SIFE directed the group during profitable sales events at Killeen Mall and the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce parking lot. The group will hold its next sales event at the local Earth Fest this past April. So far, 30 area teens have turned their lives around through Project R.I.S.E. Some have achieved personal goals while others are no longer on probation.

CTC was represented at the National SIFE Expo by Steban Ramos, president; Charlene Spencer, vice president; Clark Madsen, project executive director; Taryn Ellis, project executive director; Alvin Perry, project manager; Jasmin Ramos, project manager; Cassie Shively, team member and Jeffrey Alvarado, computer technician.

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