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CareerTech students help babies in crisis

Edmond Memorial's DECA students collect diapers and baby items for Infant Crisis Services.
CareerTech students help babies in crisis

DECA member Emma Perkins

“Mother knows best” is an adage that made its way into pop culture at least as early as the 1920s, with an Edna Ferber novel that was later turned into a popular film. We’ve all heard the saying, and although it’s true that mothers frequently do know best, sometimes they need a little help.

Infant Crisis Services is an Oklahoma City-based organization that provides life-sustaining formula, food and diapers to an average of 1,500 babies and toddlers every month. The organization helps mothers and families provide for their children in times of crisis, and is supported entirely by private funding and volunteerism.

A group of Oklahoma CareerTech students is helping the organization accomplish its mission. Kim Walters teaches marketing education at Edmond Memorial High School and is the adviser for the school’s DECA chapter. DECA is the CareerTech student organization associated with marketing education and entrepreneurship.

Each year, Edmond Memorial’s DECA students collect baby food, formula, diapers and other baby items for Infant Crisis Services as part of a team-based community service project. The project has benefits that go beyond just taking care of the babies, according to DECA member Mackenzie Golden.

The group took a normal project and “amped it up a bit,” Golden said. First, students researched the organization, learning about the nonprofit and its needs. In years past, those needs have varied, sometimes focusing on formula or other baby items. This year, the greatest need was diapers.

After doing their research, the DECA members created themed baskets of baby items.

“We’re not just bringing in diapers,” said Golden. “With DECA it’s all about marketing and showing stuff differently.”

DECA member Emma Perkins said the chapter’s main goal was to collect as many baby items as possible, but the teams also competed against other to see who could create the best display. They learned about packaging, marketing, entrepreneurship, communication skills and, of course, teamwork.

“Teamwork is vital to any profession these students are going to enter,” Walters said. “I make them do everything as a team.”

The students are learning about community involvement and volunteerism, but they’re also building up their resumes. Golden volunteers at the center, and she has seen the results of her efforts.

“It’s a good feeling to come here and see families picking out baby stuff,” she said.

The diaper project is all about helping Walters’ students see the connection between what they learn in the classroom and what happens in the real world.

“We’ve got to make sure that these students are ready, willing and able to function in the world,” she said.

DECA is one of seven student organizations affiliated with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, which provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 395 comprehensive school districts, 15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.


Related information:

Infant Crisis Services, Inc.



- communications and marketing coordinator


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