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Monday, May 30,2011

Project spurs student involvement

By Brenda Evans
Photo Credits: Photo by Dustin Franz
Photo Caption: Ohio University student Skyler McCully shovels gravel into a wheel borrow on April 2, 2011. McCully is part of the Ohio University Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The group is currently building a house in Jacksonville.
Project C, a student-run effort to inspire community involvement, is set to launch today.
The project will aim to gradually get people active in the Athens community.

Led by Ohio University students Annette Drapac, Tony Guglielmi and Kyle Ackley, the project was created by student volunteers and has been run by them.

The biggest incentive for the creators is that this is work that the staff wants to do, explained Guglielmi.

"We want a project with a cause. We want to give back to the community, and that's the greatest part of it," he said.

Project C is run through a website that promotes the idea of clicking on a cause to create real change within a community.

The public can participate through monetary donations, voting for a cause, or just taking time out to view the stories being told.

"We're not so worried about the amount of money that we have," said Guglielmi. "It's more about showing a model of how we can give back the community through education."

Community members will be able to visit the site to hear the stories of four community organizations, starting the day of the launch.

According to Guglielmi, these stories will be told through a combination of short documentaries, series of portraits and informational graphics.

After learning about each organization's platform and the issues it addresses, the viewer will be asked to vote for the cause that he or she would like to see the money donated to.

The entirety of the donations funding the initiative will go to the organizations, said Guglielmi.

"Whatever amount of votes, percentage wise, goes to one of the four is the amount of money that they will get out of the pot," he said.

Project C chose to work with four organizations that can best address some of the most urgent problems facing Appalachian Ohio, said Guglielmi.

The organizations chosen for this year's project are Community Food Initiatives, the Jethro Project, the OU chapter of Habitat for Humanity and the Good Works homeless shelter in Athens.

Community Food Initiatives (CFI) is a grassroots organization helping low-income families become more self-sufficient and have greater access to healthy foods.

Executive director of CFI Rhonda Clark said she's looking forward to the partnership.

"Working together increases CFI's exposure in the community, educates OU students on what CFI does for local food security and health, and shows local residents how they can become involved," Clark said. "It's always good to work with youth, too. Their ability to maneuver and exploit social media for the benefit of the community helps draw in our next generation of public-service leaders."

The after-school Jethro Project works with at-risk youth in the Athens area and provides them with meals, tutors and mentors putting an emphasis on the importance of education.

The OU student chapter of Habitat for Humanity is a branch of Habitat for Humanity International. The group aims to eliminate substandard housing through the building of local "habitat" houses.

The final organization involved in this year's project is Good Works. Good Works is a Christian organization that gives help to the homeless, poor and those struggling with recovery.

Project C's plans for next year are to showcase a whole new set of organizations in Athens and get even greater involvement.

According to Guglielmi, Project C has refrained from registering as a student organization in hopes that it will become a nationwide movement.


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