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Washington Adventist University Enactus Project Helps Empower Women


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Local residents, Prince George’s County leadership, Enactus students, and WAU leadership (including Weymouth Spence, president) launch "First Step" on Dec. 7, 2016. 
Photo by Ross Patterson


The Washington Adventist University (WAU) Chapter of Enactus continues its efforts to help those in their community by launching “First Step, A Women Empowerment Program,” on Dec. 7, 2016, at a 9 a.m. meeting held at an apartment complex in Hyattsville, Maryland. The project seeks sustainable work and career opportunities for women and families in the Langley Park area.
“It is important that the university is connected to the community, not only by the taxes or fees we pay, but also by the humanitarian and professional services we provide to our neighbors,” said Weymouth Spence, president of WAU, in a recent article in the Visitor magazine as he addressed the student group’s approach.
The goal of the project is to empower women by providing them with the skills and support needed to find a job and enter the workforce.
Those attending the meeting to launch the empowerment project included Prince George’s County Police Chief Henry (Hank) Stawinski III; State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County; Assistant State’s Attorney Renee Battle-Brooks, Prince George’s County; Comptroller of Maryland Peter Franchot; and Bedford Station Apartment managers Madeline Del Carmen, Cindy Pearre, and Robert Lowther.
Members of WAU’s leadership team also attended, including Spence; provost Cheryl Kisunzu; associate provost and dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences Patrick Williams; chair of the Business and Communications Department and director of Enactus Andrea Baldwin; Communications Professor and Enactus Communications advisor Jarilyn Conner; and professor of Business and Health Care Administration Informatics and First Step Project advisor Jude Edwards.

Chief Hank Stawinski of Prince George’s County (Md.) addresses a group including local residents gathered to launch "First Step, A Women Empowerment Program."
Photo by Ross Patterson

WAU student leaders who attended the launch included Enactus student president Heather Alas, an accounting major; Lila Mejia, a marketing major; Rosemarie Ascencio, a finance and management major; and Clieder Guzman, a religion major.
“Working with ‘First Step’ has helped me realize that I have gained valuable knowledge in my few years in college that I can share with others who have not attained it,” said Alas in an interview this past fall. “In my heart [I know] that I am fulfilling one of the elements of stewardship that God wants us to do—sharing talents to help others get a job is not just a blessing for them, but also for me.”
The Washington Adventist University Enactus team is part of an international non-profit organization that brings student, academic, and business leaders together to develop projects that improve the quality of life for people in need through the application of business strategies. Nationwide, there are approximately 470 Enactus teams with more than 14,500 students, working on more than 1,000 community team projects.
This past year students assisted Nok Kim, a local Laundromat owner. The Enactus team advised Kim to reinvent and rebrand his business. Then they transformed his business into a brightly painted, welcoming establishment. They also started a tutoring program
For more information about the new women’s empowerment project, contact Jude Edwards at (301) 814-0345; or email drjudeedwards@gmail.com.

— Prepared by the NAD Office of Communication

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