An Investment In Tomorrow's Business Leaders
The Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council (FSMSDC) has a commitment to making a difference in the community. FSMSDC registered the phrase Doing Well While Doing Good®. Each year, the organization recognizes businesses that are impacting the overall community by supporting philanthropic initiatives. Also, for more than 20 years, the organization has had a commitment to the next generation with a focus on youth internships and STEM training for young people. Each year, more than 100 students participate in the organization’s youth entrepreneurship training as part of the Annual Business Expo. Students from seventh to 12th grades and college students participate in leadership training and hackathons, and interact with successful business owners. In addition, FSMSDC has participated in career days and career shadowing programs. The organization has an internship program in which college students from Miami Dade College and Florida Memorial University intern during the last year of their business program to learn the fundamentals of work.
The FSMSDC has provided more than three dozen scholarships to young people to further their college educations, and the staff mentors young adults. Also, the organization has had a nine-year partnership with the Little Haiti Optimist Club (LHOC). LHOC is a nonprofit organization established in 2010 by a group of business, community and civic leaders to provide programs to the youth of Little Haiti. The mission of the Little Haiti Optimist Club is to make a difference in the lives of youth by providing education, mentorship, athletics, arts and cultural programming. FSMSDC was the main partner in the Sun Life Rising Star Grant. With the grant, LHOC prepared 40 Miami Edison Sr. High School seniors for college through its Road Map to Success program. With the help of the program, 95% of the students applied to and were accepted to college and 75% of the students were awarded college scholarships.
In addition, FSMSDC supports LHOC’s Tech and Community Center, after-school program and summer camps. LHOC partnered with the FSMSDC for the STEM Genius® summer camp at Soar Park for 45 students ages 5-15 in grades kindergarten through eighth. The students participated in hands-on educational activities that taught them how to use a computer to create prosthetic limbs and program robots. Also, they took part in activities in engineering design that prepared them for building, as part of a team, a six-foot Ferris wheel, as well as simulated a rocket launch and flew drones. They also learned about careers in STEM. The Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead summer camp at Soar Park for 54 students ages 5-15 in grades kindergarten through eighth . The students enjoyed a summer filled with learning about science, technology, arts, engineering and mathematics. The campers took field trips and were introduced, in a fun and interactive environment, to coding, graphic arts, business/social entrepreneurship and much more. The students took part in activities in engineering design, such as building, as part of a team, a six-foot roller coaster and solar robots; they also created a sustainable future city. Campers participated in hands-on educational activities that taught them how to use a computer to create apps, coding and graphic arts. In addition, they planned, designed, maintained and sustained their own community garden. The community gardening project included a social and entrepreneurial component; the students were able to give some of the items planted to the community and to their families, resulting in reducing food budgets and encouraging healthier choices.
Lastly, each year the FSMSDC participates in LHOC’s back-to-school book bag and book giveaway, holiday toy drive and turkey giveaway.