Two organizations founded by Davidson students, Cooking Classes at Ada Jenkins and YouthMAP, received awards of $5,000 and $4,500 at the recent "Ideas of March" competition for projects in community and social outreach. Hosted by the college's Center for Civic Engagement, the Ideas of March annually invites Davidson students to present innovative ideas for social change, and a panel of judges selects winners. This year, six teams participated in the competition.
The competition is completely funded by MSC Industrial Supply Co., which recently opened a co-headquarters in Davidson. MSC's Douglas Jones, Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain Operations, served on the panel of judges this year. He said community outreach is a core value of MSC.
"We're a big believer in giving back to the community where our associates live and reside, while we also encourage our associates to get involved in their local environment," he said.
The other two judges on the panel were senior Bonner Scholar Joe Morrison '14, whose organization PAX Backpacks came in second last year, and Associate Dean of Students and Director of Civic Engagement Stacey Riemer.
Sophomore Haley Rhodes '16 claimed the competition's top prize of $5,000 for her idea of Cooking Classes at the Ada Jenkins Community Center. Rhodes plans to offer food preparation instruction and nutritional education for low-income families who use the food pantry at Ada Jenkins.
Rhodes, who already volunteers at Ada Jenkins as a youth tutor and Spanish translator, talked about her personal experiences there as part of her presentation. She said one of her pupils, a young girl who struggles to pay attention during tutoring lessons, always eats sugary snacks.
Rhodes said her organization would work to help children like this young girl to adopt healthier diets by educating their parents on how to prepare healthy meals. She said her organization would also work to maximize the nutritional value of the current offerings of the Ada Jenkins food pantry.
Sophomores Ali Dove '16, Max Feinstein '16 and Scott Cunningham '16 presented on their organization, YouthMAP (Youth Marketing and Photography). YouthMAP organizes photography lessons at the nearby Barium Springs Home for Children, and offers the young residents there a much-needed outlet for creative expression.
YouthMAP claimed the judges' second prize of $3,000, along with an audience favorite prize of $1,500, for a combined total of $4,500.
Through YouthMAP, Dove said Barium Springs residents and middle schoolers from the Ada Jenkins Center learn photography skills and gain insights in how to market their work to outside audiences. Dove said YouthMAP will use the funding to direct YouthMAP students to serve other local community service organizations that may need photographic services to promote their missions.
YouthMAP will use the majority of its funding to buy new digital cameras capable of producing high-quality photos.
Douglas Jones of MSC explained why Cooking Classes and YouthMAP took home the competition's top prizes. "The judges and I found that both of these organizations had strong ties to the community, and they both clearly demonstrated their need," he said.
Jones also commented on MSC's relationship with Davidson and the Ideas of March competition. "When MSC first came to Davidson, we quickly began a relationship with the college," he said. "We wanted to find the best outlet to support the college and local community at the same time, and funding the Ideas of March was the perfect way to accomplish that goal."