September 17, 2013 10:00AM
With the help of a grant from the local Pritchett Trust Foundation, Pittsburg State University Enactus students are aiming to better the lives of those in need both here and abroad.
Enactus, a community of student, academic and business leaders, recently received a Pritchett Trust grant in the amount of $10,850, the largest the group has ever received.
“We were absolutely elated to receive that grant,” said Sam Bogle, Enactus president. “We cannot even put into words just how appreciative we are of the support from the Pritchett Trust Foundation. This will definitely help us accomplish many of our goals for the year.”
One of those goals is the creation of a new store in downtown Pittsburg that will sell products produced by the 10,000 Villages organization. Founded in 1946, 10,000 Villages sells handmade gifts, jewelry and other pieces of art that were produced by artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Product sales help pay for food, education, health care and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.
Bogle said the goal for the local store is ultimately to provide job opportunities and experience for the local unemployed.
“One of the things we very much want to achieve through Enactus is helping to employ the unemployed,” Bogle said. “The store will initially be run by students in our group, which will be great experience for them. Over time, though, we’d love to use the store to provide employment opportunities for people in town who need to gain valuable work experience.”
Bogle said the group is still working out the details with the city regarding the store’s location and hours of operation.
Suzanne Hurt, Enactus adviser, said the store is one of several projects the group is taking on this year. She said some of the main points of interest include trades and tourism, business and culture and expanding training opportunities.
Hurt said the group will also work with the KVC Health Systems foster care program to provide mentoring opportunities for area youth who need “positive support in their lives.”
“We’re talking about helping them learn about and develop not only job skills, but life skills,” Hurt said. “We want to be a force of good in their lives and help them in any way we can.”
She said the support from the Pritchett Trust Foundation for these projects was “as inspiring as it was surprising.”
“I’m not sure any of us really expected to receive the full amount we requested,” Hurt said. “So when we did, we were just blown away by the support and generosity. It means a lot to know how much people believe in what we’re trying to accomplish and how much they step up to support our students."