Grove City College students enrolled in a social entrepreneurship class this fall had the opportunity to learn about the challenges facing local charitable agencies and help be part of the solution.
The College worked with the Grove City Foundation to connect students with Children’s Aid Society of Mercer County, Grove City YMCA, George Junior Republic and the Hope Center for Arts and Technology. The 25 students, divided up into four teams, toured the respective agencies and learned about the work that they do.
Leaders of the organizations then asked the teams to help them in solving a problem that they were encountering based on what they learned about the missions of the different organizations. Coming up with a solution to the problem was the central component of the team’s final project in the class.
“Getting the students off campus to learn about the commitment it takes to run a successful organization was an invaluable experience for them. By having the students then come up with the solution to a real world problem, and explain how that solution would fit into the organization’s structure, it gave them the opportunity to think like an executive director,” Tim Sweet, professor of Entrepreneurship at Grove City College, said.
“Our region is blessed with incredible charitable organizations that work on a daily basis to help improve the lives of those in our community that need it most. It made perfect sense to have the students learn from – and also help – the local leaders that are running these terrific organizations,” Kyle English, executive director of the Community Foundation of Western PA & Eastern OH, said. The Grove City Foundation is one of six affiliates within the larger foundation, which provides more than $5 million worth of grants in the region each year.
Student Jordan Horst ’18, of Aurora, Ohio, appreciated the chance to get out into the community and garner some real-world experience. “Most external school projects are done remotely. Even with communication and access to information, the projects seem like somewhat of a simulation. Actually having the ability to visit the location and meet the people affected by the program made it more authentic,” he said.
The Grove City Foundation provided each organization with a grant of $500 to help them execute the students’ solutions. Students were able to hand out checks for the grants to representatives of the organizations that visited class to hear the solutions presented.
“The Grove City Foundation is always looking for different ways to support the Grove City community. It was great to play a role in providing this experience for the students while at the same time supporting local charitable organizations” English said.