it comes to community service, it is often all too easy to believe that
one’s impact is minuscule at best. However, when three local teenagers
are on a mission to impact their community as well as their community’s
loved ones, there is no such thing as small.
Fostered out of a school-sponsored DECA
competition, their project defies both international as well as local
boundaries. But it will require more than just a local DECA chapter to
make such a large impact.
Indeed, with this altruistic and far-reaching
project, it’s going to take more than just a village - it’s going to
take the whole island.
DECA is both a nationwide and international
non-profit organization designed to prepare high school and
college-aged kids for the professional business world. Whether in the
marketing, finance, hospitality, or management field, students learn
how to interact with others in a professional setting, as well as many
other valuable skills such as public speaking and business strategy.
Not only do students have the opportunity to test their skills in the
organization’s annual competitions, but they also glean information
about the world’s ever-changing markets. Since its creation in 1946,
DECA has helped launch over 200,000 students into the professional
world and has provided academic scholarships to many others.
Under the supervision of Suzanne Jennette, the
team at Cape Hatteras Secondary school consistently competes at both
the regional and state levels each year. This year, however, three
students intend to take their project all the way to the national
Maya Damitio, Morgan Fairbanks, and Savannah
Scarborough have all participated in their school’s DECA club since
their freshmen year. Since then, they have learned a lot about
marketing and strategy, and are excited to have the opportunity to
apply it to their chapter’s community service project this year.
For their project, the girls have partnered with
an organization known as the Blue Star Mothers of America, a group
which sends care packages to U.S. soldiers fighting overseas. The
organization consists of mothers with children fighting in the
military, guard, or reserves - or who are veterans – and the
organization has chapters located all around the country. Because it is
a noble, yet largely unknown cause, Maya, Morgan, and Savannah saw the
opportunity to help these mothers expand their efforts.
While the Outer Banks chapter of this
organization was able to send out seventy care packages last year to
soldiers fighting across the globe, the girls hope to send out a
hundred or more this year with the help of the entire Hatteras Island
community. They also hope to reach out to at least fifteen new soldiers
who did not receive packages last year.
The group has been working tirelessly to meet the
goals of their project which began on May 23, 2017. They are currently
working with elementary school students to write encouraging letters
for recipients of the care packages. They have also organized
fundraisers, collected donations at sports games, and promoted their
efforts on multiple social media platforms.
Each care package costs $19 to ship, and will
include necessary items such as toiletries, as well as items for
soldiers to enjoy and remind them of home such as beef jerky, cereal,
word puzzles, and stationary. “We just really want to give them a
morale boost,” Morgan said.
Though the team will be competing at the state
level in March of 2018, they plan to continue their project well past
its expiration date in order to maximize the success of the project.
“We really want to get everyone in the community involved,” Damitio
There are several different ways for the
community to get involved in the project. While the team will accept
any donation amount, just $35 covers both the cost of items in the care
package as well as shipping cost. This also gives the donor the
opportunity to include a personalized message to a soldier of your
choice. The girls will also accept specific donated items.
Business sponsors who give $100 or more will
receive a certificate from the team, and businesses who give $250 or
more will get their logo positioned on the back of a DECA t-shirt that
the team is creating. T-shirts are being sold at $20 apiece.
Lastly, but certainly not least important, the
girls need more names of soldiers. If you know the names of any
soldiers who are in need, even if you cannot donate, please contact the
For more information on giving your support, visit the team’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SupportForOurSoldiers/, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/supportforoursoldiers/ or donate by clicking the donate now button below.
If you have any questions, you can also e-mail them at [email protected].
Expanded list of supplies for care packages:
Powder drink mixes
Hard candies (no chocolate)
Zip lock bags
*Everything must be in miniature sizes. No glass, no chocolate, and no alcohol of any kind allowed.