Classmates make an impact before they reach the classroom
When Fanar Sefa and Jim Andrews met last February at EMBA
Preview Weekend, neither of them could have anticipated what would happen next.
Over lunch in the Anderson Family Commons, while sitting on either side of Beth
O’Sullivan, senior lecturer in communication at the Jones School, the two began
a conversation about their respective volunteer activities. Sefa, maintenance group
leader for Dow Chemical Company, volunteers on the board of directors for Kids
Unlimited Foundation (KUF). Andrews, HR director
at G & H Towing Company, serves as president and CEO for the Cavalla
Historical Foundation (CHF).
After relating KUF’s mission to provide family-oriented
activities that allow cancer-stricken children to experience outings where
their illness can be forgotten for a while, Sefa added that Kids Unlimited was
the only group of its kind in Houston.
Andrews made the immediate connection. “I may have the
perfect opportunity for you.” He explained that CHF operates the American
Undersea Warfare Center (AUWC) located at Seawolf Park in Galveston. The park hosts
public displays and touring aboard the USS Cavalla (Gato Class Hunter/Killer
Submarine) and the USS Stewart (Edsall Class Destroyer Escort) museum ships.
One of the most popular activities supported by AUWC are
immersion sleepovers where small groups of children are permitted to sleep over
in the actual bunks of the vessels and be a part of fun, educational and
exciting set of hands-on activities celebrating American undersea naval
“Everything fell together perfectly. Like two matching
puzzle pieces,” Andrews said.
The two prospective EMBA students quickly sketched out a
fundraising campaign for groups from Kids Unlimited to join in specially-developed
immersion events aboard the USS CAVALLA and USS STEWART, and then pitched the
plan to both their boards. As they had
hoped, the initiative was resoundingly approved by both CHF and KUF.
In August, a few short days after Andrews and Sefa started
Immersion as members of the EMBA Class of 2016, the first Kids Unlimited event
took place at Seawolf Park. “This collaboration helps both CHF and Kids
Unlimited to further our missions, but more importantly, through donor support,
it provides a great experience at no cost to the children or families who
participate,” Sefa said.
“We knew completing a Rice MBA would spark networking opportunities,”
Andrews added. “We had no idea it would happen
even before we started the program.”
For more information, please visit the organization websites:
www.kidsunlimited.org and www.cavalla.org.