OMIS students raise funds for needy schoolchildren

By Satta Kendor

Sixteen needy students at Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School, 3225 Sangamon Road, will receive gifts for the holidays thanks to NIU students.

A group of operations management and information systems seniors formed the Adopt a Child Foundation as a part of OMIS 352, a project management course taught by OMIS instructor Brian Bender. The foundation partnered with the elementary school’s Mitten Program and raised $600 to help children in need, said Nicholas Cepeda, Adopt a Child Foundation project manager.

The Mitten Program, founded in December 2010, identifies needy children during the holiday season and creates a process that allows them to receive one outfit and one toy, said Stephanie Gooden, president of the Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. Once the children are identified, a mitten with each child’s name and relevant information is placed on a wall where teachers, staff and community members can select a student to help.

There were 90 mittens on the wall this year and only 10 are left, Gooden said.

“We definitely have a need here at our school. … It kind of connects NIU’s university program with our elementary school,” Gooden said.

The Adopt a Child Foundation was created this semester when students in the project management course were instructed to develop a project that could teach them business management principles and be for a cause they care about, Cepeda said.

“We had to do a project like a real world business,” Cepeda said. “I have children of my own, and seeing them going without, I couldn’t imagine that.”

The foundation hopes to continue the project once the class is over, Cepeda said.

Growing up on Chicago’s South Side and being apart of programs like the Adopt a Child Foundation, it’s a good and weird feeling to have the tables turned, said Julia Selvie, Adopt a Child Foundation member.

Contact Cepeda at [email protected] or Selvie at [email protected] for more information.