The West Texas A&M University Enactus team has received two $1,500 grants through a competitive application process with Enactus Worldwide—a Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Partnership and the Unilever Bright Future Project Partnership.
The team received the Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Partnership grant to support the Patsy’s Place project, where WTAMU Enactus students help develop presentation skills for the women at the transitional home. The Amarillo region has an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent (BLS, 2015). The region has two county jails, a city jail facility in Amarillo, and 16 prison units including the William P. Clements Unit and Nathaniel J. Neal Units. Many of the individuals within the prison system population have limited placement opportunities when they begin to reintegrate into society because of the low unemployment rate. They also lack the hard and soft skills needed within the area’s workforce.
One resource available for women in need of workforce development is Patsy’s Place, a faith-based transitional home. At Patsy’s Place, the women can participate in courses to assist with their re-integration into daily life outside of the prison system. The course offerings range from financial life skills to computer classes.
The WT Enactus team has partnered with Patsy’s Place since 2012. They work with the women in the area of public speaking. As a community service organization focused on making a difference by motivating others to action, the team has each resident practice their abilities to communicate their past and their new futures.
“A major gap in the population of the women within Patsy’s Place is the need for improved presentation and public speaking skills that can directly translate into soft skills needed for the job search process,” Dr. Emily Hammer, assistant professor and co-adviser of the WT Enactus team, said. “In the implementation of our public speaking curriculum, we utilize a specific rubric to evaluate on a pre- and post-assessment measurement to develop the women’s public speaking in a measurable way.”
A large barrier for these women is finding a means to show up for work each day or even go to a job interview. With the help of the Walmart Foundation’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Project Partnership, Patsy’s Place will create a transportation solution using fleet management software through a partnership with Kelly’s Cars. The ability to travel to and from work and job interviews in a safe, dependable vehicle will give the women of Patsy’s Place increased opportunities to earn wages during their transition period.
In addition to the grant, the team also is working with local department stores in Amarillo to participate in a fashion show. The fashion show will be a benefit for Patsy’s Place while demonstrating proper work attire to the women in transition. As a faith-based organization, Patsy’s Place is dependent on grant funding almost entirely. Tickets will be sold to the benefit fashion show, and all proceeds will go directly to Patsy’s Place to support the new Transport to Work Program and other needs.
The WTAMU Enactus team will use the funds from the Unilever Bright Future Project Partnership to create a self-sustaining greenhouse at the Astoria Park Apartment complex.
With Amarillo weather, the residents of Astoria Park are not as readily prepared for the straight line winds, hail and severe drought. Due to the environmental misfit from home countries such as Bhutan, Burma and The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Enactus wants to help provide the families within this apartment complex with a long-term solution toward fighting hunger.
Through partnerships with local retailers such as Panhandle Greenhouse and Home Depot, team members will be able create a growing space for foods such as radishes, kale, leaf lettuce, beets and carrots year round in an environmentally-controlled greenhouse located on the apartment complex property.
Amarillo is one of the leading destinations for international refugees, according to the New York Times. Within the Amarillo area, Refugee Services of Texas assists refugees who are displaced by fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, and membership of a particular social group and/or political opinion. In Texas alone, Refugee Services has relocated 15,000 refugees since its inception. This large population within the Amarillo area could each benefit from the implementation of this self-sustaining environmental solution.
To learn more about WTAMU’s chapter of Enactus or the Patsy Place and Astoria Park projects, contact Dr. Emily Hammer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 806-651-2504.