By Ashley Smith
Last Wednesday, Enactus, a student entrepreneurship group, donated four laptops to the Beatitude House — an organization that helps to create homes for women with children — through a $1,500 grant.
The Youngstown State University chapter of Enactus stemmed from a national organization of student and business leaders who are committed to using entrepreneurship to achieve a more sustainable world.
The group received the grant from its volunteer efforts through the Women’s Economic Empowerment Project — an Enactus program sponsored by Walmart that aims to empower women through training and workforce development.
Corey Patrick, the president of YSU Enactus and project leader of the Beatitude House Financial Literacy Project, said that the group’s donation began from the Financial Literacy Project.
“It is a five week series where we present to a small group of Beatitude House women about different aspects of finance: budgeting, investing, a checking account and credit,” Patrick said. “Since a lot of the women at the Beatitude House do not even have a high school diploma, let alone a college education, we decided to take our efforts one step further and give these women the tools necessary to further their education and better themselves.”
Donna Walsh, YSU Enactus adviser, said that group wanted to continue to help the Beatitude House after their first experience volunteering with them in 2013.
“When we visited the Beatitude House site, we recognized that the women do not have access to a computer lab. It made sense that access to computers and the Internet would be very important in order for them to complete their GEDs, apply for jobs, or register for college classes,” Walsh said. “During that same time period, the Enactus national organization partnered with the Walmart Foundation to offer Women’s Financial Empowerment grants to university chapters that submitted grant applications.”
The laptops will be used to connect women in the Beatitude House with education, employment and other opportunities that are limited without Internet access. Members of the group expressed their excitement in supporting the women of the Beatitude House.
Nicole Pilolli, a member of YSU Enactus, said that she felt the project was rewarding.
“This was so rewarding to help out in. Teaching those ladies really gave me a sense of pride knowing that even for an hour I was impacting someone’s life with the knowledge that I too have been taught. One thing I loved is the ladies were eager to learn. They paid attention and asked questions, and that made me feel great that my effort was appreciated,” Pilolli said. “Being able to give the donation of the computers was a whirlwind. Never did any of us think when we set out to do this that is could turn into something this big. Having the resources to be able to buy the computers gave us a sense to keep going … those ladies are going to get a lot of use out of them, and they are going to help them so much. I can not wait to go back and teach again.”
Patrick said that the group would continue its efforts to support Beatitude House.
“The exchange on April 1 went very well. Sister Mary Alyce Koval, who is the site director at the Beatitude House in Youngstown, was so excited and more than appreciative for our donation. We hope to continue our efforts and make an even greater donation to the Beatitude House in the coming year,” Patrick said.
Madeline Grimes, a member of YSU Enactus, said that she joined the group from an interest in entrepreneurship.
“I joined Enactus because I was attracted by their motive of expanding entrepreneurship — both personal and of the university — while promoting philanthropy within the Youngstown community. Last semester, I had taken part in teaching personal finance to residents of the Beatitude with several other members of Enactus, and I am very gratified to give back through the grant we received. Under the guidance of our adviser, Dr. Walsh, I am very much looking forward to the future of this student organization and what more we can bring to the Mahoning Valley,” Grimes said.
Gianna Centofanti, the vice president for YSU Enactus, expressed her excitement in reaching out to Beatitude House.
“Because of my interest in entrepreneurship, I started to get involved with Enactus my freshman year, and I am so glad I did. It is truly a group of entrepreneurship in action,” Centofanti said. “Enactus has found a great balance of impacting society both globally and locally. Working with the women of the Beatitude House has demonstrated to me the importance of reaching out to those in your own community. When you work with those around you, it becomes so much more feasible to attain something great.”
Centofanti added that the organization is going to partner with Love Your Melon, a nonprofit foundation with a mission to provide hats to children with cancer.
“Students around campus should be informed of our upcoming project to partner with Love Your Melon. This company has a one-for-one business model, similar to TOMS shoes. For every hat purchased, Love Your Melon will donate a hat to a child with cancer,” Centofanti said. “It is our goal to come together with students across campus to support this cause. Be on the lookout to buy some hats and shirts.”