Making a Difference with Community Service
Community service is the connection between Florida DECA, our over 9,000 members, and the communities that we all reside in across Florida. One of the most important outreach options a chapter may be faced with is the opportunity to contribute to charitable organizations that make a difference in the lives of others. By choosing to make a contribution, whether it be volunteering you time, raising money, or holding a item collection drive to donate items to the organization, your chapter is directly impacting the lives of individuals in need. This desire to be a part of something bigger is so deeply imbedded in the principles of DECA that Florida DECA as well as International DECA both hold fundraisers of some sort at their conferences to benefit a charitable organization.
As we start a new DECA year, we encourage all schools to discuss the possibility of spending some of your year organizing a way to make an impact in your community. So how can a chapter start to look for a charity in their area? Every city or town is different and the cause that your chapter choses to donate to will likely vary from that of another chapter. We suggest that each Chapter Officer Team looks to their local communities to identify not only what the needs are, but also to find an attainable and realistic goal to pursue throughout the year. This can be accomplished through different websites as well as making a phone call to your city hall to find out what items (or volunteers) local charities may need. Secondly, your chapter will want to reach out to the charity and find out how much of the item (or volunteers) they can accept. If you plan to collect items from your members, plan out how you will deliver the items to the charity once the drive has concluded. Lastly, be sure to promote your drive or volunteer event. Use social media, your schools phone-home or Closed Circuit Television program to get the word out to students not currently in DECA. Also, have students sign up to works shifts or to bring in items (whichever is needed). Overall, working with a local charity will definitely take some time and effort to develop, though the connections and the experiences your members will gain are priceless. A great questions to always keep in mind is “When this year comes to a close, how will my chapter have made our mark?”