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SIFE Gives Back

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After interning last summer with Sam’s Club, Arkansas Tech student Lindsey Falkenstein found a passion—to work to educate and empower women as future leaders.

“Last summer I interned at Sam’s Club, and I had the opportunity to see all of the wonderful work they do to advance women in the work force.  That experience resonated with me as something I want to advocate for and work to improve,” says Falkenstein.

She got that opportunity this year through the Students in Free Enterprise organization.  The group applied for a project partnership grant through Wal-Mart, and they received $1500 to apply toward a project designed to empower women.

“This was a grant that really stuck out to me.  I saw great opportunities for SIFE to work to eliminate discrepancies that women face in the workforce.  When this grant became available, I really wanted our SIFE chapter to commit to this effort,” explains Falkenstein.

The SIFE Chapter reached out to the Battered Women’s Shelter in Russellville as a potential recipient of the grant funds.

“The shelter has been great to work with.  They were excited about the opportunity to be able to provide professional development opportunities for the women staying there,” says Falkenstein. “From the moment we began visiting with them, they have been open to working with us and figuring out the best ways we can assist in meeting the needs they have.”

As part of the project, SIFE set up a career workstation for the shelter.  The station included a computer and printer for women to research and prepare their career information.  Additionally, the SIFE team created several binders for the shelter.  The binders contained everything from resume and cover letter tips to a photo gallery of business attire to wear for interviews.

Falkenstein says the goal of the career workstation is to “help a woman staying at the shelter get started in the process of preparing for a career.”

As part of the project, SIFE will also offer a finance seminar for the community.  The seminar will cover several topics including establishing credit, creating a budget and investment basics.

Falkenstein says the project began as a personal interest area, but she believes it is something that will benefit the entire SIFE chapter and the community.

She adds, “We started this project because it was something I was passionate about.  However, I think the entire SIFE chapter has grown from this because they understand the importance of working to prepare potential leaders in the community.  As for the community, I would like to think this effort will help women who have been through so much already find the strength and information they need in order to be successful in the future.”