Southern’s Enactus program, part of a worldwide network of students and business leaders tasked with creating sustainable solutions to global problems, has been working with the Athens, Tennessee-based Women at the Well ministry since December. Women at the Well is a Christian, long-term residential program that helps women 18 and older break life-controlling addictions and become productive citizens.
With funds from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club grants, Enactus teams in various countries have committed to working on projects that empower women economically and strengthen a small business. By partnering with Women at the Well, Southern’s Enactus team has combined these two objectives in one project.
“The community is blessed by this ministry because when women join the program, their lives are completely transformed,” said Chelsea Coston, junior accounting major and Enactus president. “And then, when they graduate, they give back either through the same ministry or somewhere else.”
There are four components to the Women at the Well project: marketing, sales, education, and entrepreneurship. For the marketing component, Enactus rebranded the organization’s business cards, brochures, and newsletter, including a new logo. For sales they worked with local boutiques and improved merchandising for Women at the Well’s sale of Christian t-shirts and other items.
Through the education component, Enactus helped Women at the Well add a new section to its 18-month program—one specifically related to professionalism and job skills. As part of this new section, program participants were welcomed to Southern’s campus March 20 for a training session on resume writing, interviewing, professional dress, and more by School of Business and Management professors.
“Our goal is to provide education and job skills training that empowers these women to become self-sustaining,” said Stephanie Sheehan, Enactus director.
Using the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club grant money, the Women at the Well staff members were enrolled in continuing education classes at the Cleveland State Community College.
Finally, through the entrepreneurship component, one current staff member will be enrolled in a Cleveland State class on how to write business plans. Her hope is to write a business plan and eventually open a thrift shop that will employ Women at the Well graduates and sell their products.
“Our ultimate goal is that the students and staff of Women at the Well would work smarter, not harder,” Chelsea said.