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Enactus bridges business, service in Pomona

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Mulan Novilla
Staff Writer

On Wednesday, ULV’s Entrepreneurial Action Us (Enactus) Club started its latest project, Pomona Backyard Outreach. Partnering up with the city of Pomona, Pomona Unified School District and the Rotary Club of La Verne, they aim to serve the homeless and at-risk students of high schools in the district.

ULV Enactus will host soft skills workshops at different high schools every Wednesday until November. They also set up donation bins around the University to collect clothes from anyone who wishes to contribute.

“Entrepreneurial Action Us is a club devoted to using creativity and entrepreneurial resources to do better in other places,” Jessika Chani, junior business administration major and secretary of Enactus, said. “Wherever we can help, we will, and we create sustainability through our projects.”

Professor of Management and club adviser Issam Ghazzawi started Enactus two years ago. He said he wanted to have a way for his students to apply their business lessons to real-life situations, while also developing a heart for the community.

“I fell in love with community service and for the greater good of the world,” senior business administration major and Enactus president Melanie Browdy said.

“In Enactus, we help each other grow in an entrepreneurial way that speaks to what we do and how we impact lives, and the sustainability of our projects. You become part of something bigger than yourself.”

Enactus partners up with its sponsor companies such as Walmart and Sam’s Club for projects, and travels to developing countries to help the people there.

However, Ghazzawi decided to shift the focus to a more local level: the city of Pomona.

Jose Perez, vice president of marketing and project manager of Backyard Outreach, came up with the idea to focus on high school students. He graduated from one of the target high schools that Enactus plans to serve, which he said makes the project more personal to him.

“I wanted to give back to my high school and give them the tools and motivation to succeed,” Perez said.

“There’s a high dropout rate and a lot of high risk students, and a lot of my friends didn’t have the opportunity to graduate and succeed. I want to motivate these kids and let them know that if I could do it, they can too,” he said.

The club’s soft skill workshops include job interview and resume tips, which will prepare them for the workforce. They also educate students about higher education, helping them realize that they can also pursue a college career if they want to.

“This is a good opportunity for experiential learning,” Ghazzawi said.

“They (Enactus students) are helping the immediate community and having an impact that they can see and touch, like helping someone with soft skills and helping them get a job. This project helps them with personal and professional development.”

Chain said that the term “homeless” has a different definition for some of the students in Pomona; although most do not live on the streets, they also do not have a stable living condition, jumping from house to house or staying in motels.

Enactus is also planning to work on a community garden and help build another homeless shelter for overflowing tenants.

The club will host its job training workshops until November, but they will still accept clothing donations until Dec. 1.

Enactus’ weekly meetings are held 10 p.m. on Mondays in La Fetra Auditorium.

Mulan Novilla can be reached at mulanelite.novilla@laverne.edu.

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