Enactus Memorial Atlantic champions
By helping people achieve success and sustainability in food, finance and employment, Enactus Memorial is finding its own success.
The group — which won the Enactus World Cup last year — left Halifax the other weekend as Atlantic champions in three competitions of the Enactus Canada regional tournament.
The chapter will compete against other regional champions in the Capital One Financial Education Challenge, the Scotiabank Ecoliving Green Challenge and the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge at the national Enactus tournament in Vancouver in May.
Here’s a look at the work that made them champions:
1. Growing food sustainability with Project Sucseed
The one with the widest reach is Project Sucseed, which helps people in communities from Nunavut and Labrador — where fresh, affordable food is hard to come by — grow produce yearround.
“Sucseed is a self-sustaining social enterprise where we employ at-risk youth here in St. John’s, Newfoundland to build environmentally friendly hydroponic systems, which are then used in northern communities to eliminate food insecurity,” explains Emily Bland of Enactus Memorial.
A year and a half since it was established, the project now has co-operatives in 13 northern communities from Rigolet, Labrador to Arviat, Nunavut.
“The difference that we’ve seen in a lot of the communities that we’re working in is quite incredible,” Bland said.
“It’s just this whole movement of seeing Canadians stand up and want to be a part of a program that (tackles) an issue that has plagued us for so long.
“We’re growing food in outer space now, but somehow Northern Canada is getting left out and people aren’t focusing on it. But we’ve seen so much support from people in the community here in St. John’s, but also in communities across Canada that want to be part of the solution. They want to be a part of ensuring that Northern Canadians have consistent access to fresh, affordable food.”
Bland said the project has grown from 14 systems a year ago to 452 now, and the project is about to experience another significant growth spurt.
“We want these systems across Northern Canada. So for right now, our prime focus is Nunavut and Labrador. We want to be, by the year end, in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, and have even more systems up there operating.
“In addition to that, we’re starting to look international now so we’ve been reached out to by five different organizations globally from India, china, Russia to Australia of people wanting to replicate the program that we’re doing. Soon, Sucseed will be going international, which is quite exciting because it’s only been around for a year and a half.”
2. Building retail skills with Your Turn Boutique
Partnering with Choices for Youth, Enactus Memorial recently opened a used clothing store in downtown St. John’s with a goal of preparing at-risk youth for work in the retail industry.
“We employ at-risk youth to go through a 10-week training program on basic retail skills, and hope that once they finish this program they’ll have a base to be able to get some type of retail job,” Bland said.
Like Project Sucseed, the newly launched boutique has gained a lot of support from the community.
“It’s really exciting to see the community get on board and to come in and speak to the youth and to help them out, but the youth are so excited about it and they want to get involved and they want to transition to full time work so it’s exciting to see them be just as excited about the project as we are,” Bland said.
3. Promoting financial to at-risk youth
Enactus Memorial is working with Scotiabank and Choices for Youth to develop a financial literacy program aimed toward at-risk youth.
“It will be a 14-module program where at-risk youth get the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in financial literacy — everything from being aware of credit to how to set up bank accounts to basic savings and basic banking,” said Bland.
“Once these youth go through the program and they complete the required modules we actually throw kind of a graduation day. Many of these youths never had the opportunity to graduate high school, so we do an Enactus Memorial certificate of financial literacy so they walk across the stage, they get to dress up, do the whole supper kind of thing and give them kind of a grad experience.” literacy
Emily Bland of Enactus Memorial poses with one of the first hydroponic systems created for Project Sucseed.