Takoma Park, Maryland, United States | Emeraude Victorin

he Washington Adventist University (WAU) Enactus Team received a 3rd place award in the Opening Round of the 2019 Enactus National Exposition held in Kansas City, Missouri held May 5-7, 2019.  The competition featured 86 universities who for three days presented their entrepreneurial-based projects aimed at empowering their communities.

Led by Andrea Baldwin, Ph.D., the WAU team presented its annual report on two year-long projects.  The first focused on consultancy services and business planning for the formation of a new Healthy Foods and Wellness Center to be located in Damascus, Maryland. The second project focused on the first international undertaking in Chirilagua, La Estrechura, in El Salvador.

“Our goal with WAU’s Enactus team is to harness the potentials our students bring and contribute to their professional development as agents of social entrepreneurship,” expressed Baldwin. “Each year our WAU Enactus chapter takes interested students and engages them in a transformative process for self and community empowerment."

Working on an idea initially submitted by Dr. John Wilbur and Pastor Debbie Eisele of the Potomac Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Baldwin and her team conducted several meetings with Wilbur and Eisele; together they formulated the major goals for a restaurant that would offer affordable, healthful meals, and a wellness program. Their target audience will be those suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Additional services offered by this establishment may include exercise programs, food subscriptions, and cooking classes.

The El Salvadoran project developed into four sub-projects dealing with diabetes management, high blood pressure management, water sanitation management, and time management for high school juniors and seniors. These projects will be continuing in the upcoming year to expand WAU’s involvement and service orientation for community transformation.

WAU’s Enactus chapter has been involved in our local community for many years. Previous projects included assisting women-owned businesses in the Long Branch area of Takoma Park with new marketing initiatives; and First Step, a Women Empowerment Project helping them acquire the skills and support needed to land a job and enter the workforce.

In 2016 the group was recognized for their Flower Facelift project which helped to improve the operations of small businesses through marketing and renovations. Rainbow Coin Laundry, a small business within a mile of the university received a facelift with students painting, cleaning, and rebranding the company. Enactus members also developed an after-school tutoring program on site for the children of customers, providing them with a safe environment to do their homework.

In 2017-18, the team launched an initiative in Langley Park with the aid of the deputy Attorney for Prince George’s County to assist women who were at risk of becoming involved in human trafficking or who were trying to move on from this lifestyle. This effort led to the publication of their story Traffic Stop in a newly released book entitled Blessed are They by Versacare, Pacific Press Publishing Association in March 2019.

"The work will continue in 2019-2020 with our next trip to El Salvador and the build out of this new burgeoning concept in health and wellness,” said Baldwin.