Graduate Students Volunteer at Community ExpoNov. 11, 2005
In early November, Baylor's Graduate Business Association (GBA) joined 19 other sponsors and exhibitors to volunteer for a Waco community disaster education program in which more than 1,500 elementary school children learned about family disaster preparedness, fire safety, first aid, and even how to call 9-1-1. In addition, more than 50 teachers enrolled in the Masters of Disaster Teacher/Trainer Workshops by the American Red Cross and Allstate.
Approximately 10 members of the GBA volunteered as guides for the children as they moved from the main exhibit area through the six learning stations where the children spent time with fire fighters, medics, law enforcement officials and people who volunteer in disasters.
"The mission of the expo was to educate both children and parents about having a disaster plan," explained Jamie Scott, MAcc candidate who organized the GBA volunteers. "The expo provided a way for the graduate students to get involved in the community while participating in the GBA."
The GBA members presented the children with certificates upon completion.
"The children were very interested in the different presentations and asked challenging questions," said George Marketakis, MBA candidate and president of the GBA. "It was a great opportunity for the children to learn what to do in case of disaster."
The expo was organized by the Waco chapter of Knight-Star Enterprises with the assistance of a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Knight-Star Enterprises is a homeland security consulting and training firm that helps leaders plan, prepare and prevail in the face of disasters.
"It was not only educational for the children, but the information was educational for me and something everyone should think about," said Christin Loudermilk, MBA candidate and Waco resident. "While I watched the different plans, I thought about how businesses need to have action plans and ways to communicate those plans to their employees. It will definitely be something that I will think about in the future."
The Disaster Expo for area children and teachers was just one of several related initiatives. Even before Hurricane Katrina hit, a team of Baylor MBA students volunteered to work with the not-for-profit Knightstar Institute to explore disaster prevention issues. MBA students Tim Stewart, Bobby Brock, Kevin Peck, and Aimee Clements continue to investigate the area of motivation and follow-through relating to the need for having a viable disaster plan. They are developing an instrument to survey an area school district in January, and will analyze the responses in order to make recommendations to Knightstar in March.