Since 2008, each year, thanks to the generosity of Denison alumnus David Kuhns ’68, Denison students award a grant of $10,000 to a local organization; the award is accompanied by 200 student volunteer hours.
The project has a two-fold purpose: to provide capacity-building help to selected nonprofits in Licking County, and to educate students in the work of nonprofits, through evaluating, selecting and volunteering for a specific organization each year.
Denison Venture Philanthropy (DVP) is the student organization formed around this endeavor. In 2018, DVP partnered with the Career and Technology Center of Licking County (C-Tec) to provide education and professional advancement skills for refugees in Licking County.
C-Tec’s mission is: “To promote workforce development by offering leading-edge educational programs that provide all learners academic and technical skills needed for career opportunities and continuous learning.”
The $10,000 grant provided textbooks and other education materials. C-Tec has both high school programs as well as adult programs at their facility. DVP primarily worked in the Adult Education Center with refugees from East Asia who are learning English as a second language, as well as adults earning their GED.
The students worked one-on-one with the adults at C-Tec, helping them primarily with English language exercises. The students were able to help these adults build confidence in communication skills, giving them skills to better integrate into the workforce.
The president of DVP, Wyatt Ashby, shares her experience with a student at C-Tec. “A few weeks ago, I worked with a 20-year-old student. Since we are about the same age, it was really easy to relate to her and I ended up learning a lot about her life and experiences. She is working to get her GED and has a young son at home. She is really intelligent but has been struggling to keep up with studying because of her son and a full-time job. I really enjoyed working with her and hopefully get to help her more in the future!”