FBLA launches new Community Service Project

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FBLA launches new Community Service Project

Nona Penner

On Nov. 11, FBLA held a gathering at Valley Fair for its Unemployment Community Service Project. Members went to Build-a-Bear to purchase gifts for needy families, to be donated to the Quinlan Center. Photo used with permission of Larry Xu.

On Nov. 11, 20 or so FBLA members gathered for an event at Valley Fair Mall socialize while also helping the needy. According to Director of Partnership with Business junior Keshav Santhanam, almost every attendee purchased a small gift of ten dollars or less to be donated to lower-income families.

This activity ties in with FBLA’s recently launched Unemployment Community Service Project, one of many different types of competitions members can participate in for the 2012 State Leadership Conference in Santa Clara in late April. FBLA members interested in participating simply have to sign up to be part of the project team. The year before, Community Service was centered around earthquake preparedness, and prior to that, community beautification.

This year, the focus of the project differed significantly from earlier endeavors.

“We wanted [to select] a topic that was related to business, not just something that anyone could do,” Vice President of Projects senior Laura Liu said.

Director of Community Service junior Nikhil Mallipeddi believes the focus on unemployment is both relevant and also shows a clear impact by seeing how many people get more jobs.

Each project spans the course of several months, during which time the team working on the project partakes in activities related to its focus. Prior to the state leadership conference, Mallipeddi and two other team members will draft up a 30 page document detailing the accomplishments of the project and its effects within the community to be presented in a seven minute speech. The top two teams from States will go on to compete at the National Leadership Conference during the summer.

The project will take members around Silicon Valley for their future volunteering activities, but they have also turned to a resource for volunteering direction at home. The Rotary Job Search Support Group, which meets every Tuesday in the cafeteria, helps candidates with their resumes, interviews and other strategies in job hunting. The team plans to take part in one of the support group’s job fairs and receives emails from them about unemployed areas.

“It’s important that students in high school look ahead and see in society how the system works,” support group leader Jim Gibson said.

On Dec. 17, the team will also be volunteering with the Salvation Army at a homeless shelter to have a more hands-on experience. Until next year, the team will be keeping track of community and member involvement in their activities.