November 3, 2017

Calling All Members of the Community - Uncle Sam Wants You


When 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 level.

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 said.

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 girls.

For more information on giving your support, visit the team’s Facebook page:, Instagram: 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:

Beef jerky
Powder drink mixes
Hot chocolate
Granola/protein bars
Trail mix
Fruit snacks
Hard candies (no chocolate)
Baby wipes
Cough drops
Non-scented deodorant
Bug spray
Zip lock bags
Word games/puzzles
Miniature games

*Everything must be in miniature sizes. No glass, no chocolate, and no alcohol of any kind allowed.

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