The Integrated Management Experience (IME) class at the University of Lethbridge donated $1,510.55 to YWCA Lethbridge’s Harbour House women’s shelter following the successful completion of its annual fundraising initiative.
The chosen project, that encompassed two management modules over the course of two semesters, saw the group organize, market and then execute a charity bowling event. YWCA Lethbridge CEO Jennifer Lepko says the students have made a considerable contribution to the organization.
“It has been an amazing experience,” she says. “The students put their heart and soul into it and are really giving back to the community. I don’t know if they really understand the impact they make.”
Lepko says that while the money raised is crucial, the enhanced profile of the YWCA and Harbour House through the project is as important as anything. The YWCA Lethbridge and District serves more than 6,000 men, women and children every year.
“We were able to share the YWCA with more people, which is very important for us because people need to know what we do,” says Lepko. “These funds will go directly to Harbour House. We have a 24-bed facility but we could use way more. We unfortunately have the fourth-highest turn-away rate in the province. We don’t have enough physical space (beds) to meet the needs of our community. Especially right now, in the economic crisis we are experiencing, we’re turning away more than 2,000 people per year.”
Davis Weber, a third-year general management student from Athabasca, says the IME project gave him insight about the YWCA and its place in the community, and allowed him to apply his classroom skills.
“As students we sit here and do a whole bunch of things academically and then being able to apply that and organize an event to go forward and help a non-profit is really cool,” he says. “This was a real situation where there is real pressure and a real event to put on so it was a great learning experience.”
The southern Alberta community and its support of non-profit enterprises impressed Alex Glydon, a third-year accounting major from Strathmore.
“The biggest thing I learned was how generous people are,” he says. “It’s a rough time out there right now and we got a lot donated in terms of silent auction and prizes. It was great to see that.”
IME now turns its focus to next year’s class project, which will benefit Special Olympics.
“It’s such a valuable program in the sense that we have the opportunity to extend our reach into the Lethbridge community, and the skillsets IME students acquire can be leveraged when they enter the workforce,” says IME Director and Faculty of Management professor Mike Madore. “They obtain practical project management skills in advance of going out into the workplace. Students must work in a team environment, which is really important as they will work in teams once they enter the workforce.”