May 6, 2019
By Chennelle Channer
Victoria Wong, a junior majoring in accounting with concentrations in marketing and management information systems and minoring in global studies, currently serves as the president of the School of Management's PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) Scholars program. The program's mission is to develop future business leaders through four pillars: academic excellence, community service, unique networking opportunities and professionalism. Every year the Scholars work with a local organization to plan, fundraise for and execute a large-scale community service project.
For this year's project, the PwC Scholars partnered with Kali's Klubhouse, an organization that uses equine therapy to address the mental health and physical well-being of children with disabilities and their families, at-risk youth, veterans and the elderly. Kali's Klubhouse runs various programs, one of which is a summer program called 7 Keys to Success, which guides youth at risk in making career choices and remaining committed to their education. The group previously met in a small 13'x13' classroom called the Klubhouse. With enrollment increasing, they were quickly outgrowing the space. Grant funding covered construction costs for a new kitchen, bathroom and classroom to be built during the summer of 2018, but there was still work to be done, so the PwC Scholars played a big part in making the space ready for the children and families served by Kali's Klubhouse.
The students installed a gazebo where therapy sessions will be held for parents to provide respite and relieve stress from some of the challenges of caring for children with special needs. They also spent time renovating the new and existing facilities, installing kitchen cabinets and a library nook. They also transformed clientele files into an online database to increase the efficiency of operations and to improve communication with clients, employees and volunteers. Finally, they developed a career guide for the youth in the 7 Keys to Success program.
"My favorite part of the project was hearing about how much the kids in the program were already able to enjoy the spaces," says Wong. "A week after the project ended, my team and I went back to Kali's Klubhouse to meet with Linda Fargnoli (the executive director of Kali's Klubhouse), and she spoke about how some of the [children they serve] were finally able to have access to books again since in the past they were kicked out of the public libraries due to bad behavior. Due to our addition of the book nook, they are able to have access again. Some already have taken books home!"
Photos: Banner - The PwC Scholars completed their annual community service project at Kali's Klubhouse, an equine therapy farm in Apalachin, N.Y. Top - Scholars installed a gazebo to serve as a sanctuary for parents of children with special needs. Bottom - Victoria Wong works on renovating one of the facilities at Kali's Klubhouse.