“You’ve probably walked past us 100 times and may or may not have known it,” said the Director of Philanthropy at Casa Teresa, as she accepted a student-presented donation on behalf of her organization. “Now you know where we are, right here in your community. So you’ll keep us in your thoughts, you’ll keep us in your prayers and we’ll be able to keep going.”

The donations were awarded as part of a class project by students enrolled in IES 103, “The Philosophy of Helping.” “The Panther Experiential Philanthropy Program is a way to get students engaged with the local community around them,” said Alisa Driscoll, who works in Community Relations and designed the project for Atallah College last year. “The students selected the nonprofits they wanted to work with. They went out and did a site visit, and then wrote a grant application.” The class then voted to decide which of the proposed organizations would receive a donation.

Four local organizations were awarded donations totaling $3,000:

Orangewood Children and Family Center, which serves children in foster care, to refurbish an art room.

Higher Ground Youth & Family Services, for on-site improvements or to fund a new project combating human trafficking.

Casa Teresa, a crisis pregnancy center, to help sponsor mothers in need.

Mary’s Kitchen, a volunteer organization that provides food and services to the homeless, to purchase bicycles for their clients’ use.

Representatives on hand to receive the checks expressed their great appreciation for the project, and for the awareness it brings of the work they do in the community. “This means so much to us,” said Joe Baldo, founder of Higher Ground.  “Yes, the money’s great, but just to be recognized and say, ‘that’s really good work that you do’.”