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SIFE brings help to African orphans

November 12th, 2009

The John Carroll University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter has made a name for itself through past successes in fundraising and national competitions.  This fall, the fundraising team has been working to raise money for their partner, the African Children’s Ministries, which in turn provide funds for orphanages in Zaire.

The African Children’s Ministries has been providing aid to children who have become orphaned due to AIDS/HIV and other conflicts. 

The organization helps provide children with educational and health opportunities that they otherwise might never have. The organization has already established sewing schools, which provide skills for young girls who might have been in danger of turning to prostitution.

In addition to their work with orphans and education of the youth, the African Children’s Ministries has created six sites for widows, which give not only emotional and spiritual care, but also offer entrepreneurial training and seed money to start new businesses.  As it says in their mission statement, the African Children’s Ministries is “in the business of changing lives, one child or family at a time.”

Four JCU students have stepped up to help make it easier for those lives to be changed.  Jenny Samucha, Deirdre McGregor, Eric Shargots and Annemarie Raham, through their involvement in SIFE, have been organizing and running various fundraisers throughout the semester.

SIFE is a global, non-profit organization that gives students from over 14,000 universities a chance to utilize their business skills by developing and contributing to community outreach programs locally and throughout the world.

“My involvement in SIFE has taught me many valuable lessons – how to manage certain situations and projects, and has given me a chance to make friends with some great employers with different companies around the Cleveland area,” said SIFE member Eric Shargots.

Fundraising is only one aspect of the organization that students can get involved in, there is also environmental sustainability, financial literacy and ethics, and success skills.  Projects in these areas have been taking place all semester.

“In choosing our fundraising projects, our options were unlimited,” said Jenny Samucha. “We were given the task of raising $1,000 and how we were to go about doing this is completely up to us.” 

They definitely have hit a wide spectrum of fundraising ideas. Based on the college community they are appealing to, the students decided to do everything from bracelet and T-shirt sales, can collections, restaurant donations and raffles. 

“Anything goes in this project so you have tons of room to think outside the box and be creative,” said Samucha.  It seems as though the group has a good understanding of the demographic they were trying to reach, because all of the events that have already been held have been quite successful.  And with any hope they will be able to bypass the $4,000 goal and give the ACM as much aid as possible.

This is the third year JCU’s SIFE has teamed up with the African Children’s Ministries and the partnership has been fruitful on both ends.

 According to Samucha, “SIFE has helped the foundation raise money and develop a project where used computers were collected and sent to the African children in the orphanages.” 

This year’s series will help supply much-needed funds, especially in this time of economic difficulties. That is why the JCU students are encouraged now more than ever to help with these noteworthy causes.

It can be something as simple as dropping off an empty pop can to buying a cause bracelet, because, as Deirdre McGregor said, “Everyone has a dollar in their pocket that they can spare.”