Union Mission and Jenkins High Announce Unity through Ingenuity, Harnessing Community to Combat Homelessness

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Union Mission of Savannah and the Jenkins High School of Engineering announce their first-ever program collaboration, Unity through Ingenuity . The semester-long program will apply schematics to streamline the Union Mission Clothing Closet. The Closet is a warehouse space for processing and distributing donated items to support the homeless community. The design was developed by the graduating class throughout the semester and will be implemented and installed throughout the month of May.

This collaboration between advancing engineering students and community organizations was initiated by the Business Education Advisory Council for Jenkins earlier this year. Led by STEM Coordinator, Grace Herrington, the Council decided to modify the format of their senior-level capstone class to a community-focused project addressing real world challenges. Tom Maty, a teacher of the EDD class, has guided this project to help teach students the engineering design process while demonstrating why giving back is so important.

Brian Sapp, Project Manager at Tharpe Engineering Group, has served on the Business Education Advisory Council for three years and has mentored the engineering students through Jenkins School of Engineering. Serving as a liaison for this collaboration, Sapp went into the project determined to expose the future engineers to community issues while encouraging creative and constructive solutions to problems of substance.

Programs such as this will prepare students to be future contributors to their community. The group hopes this pilot project is the start and an example to a long-term model of giving back.

“The Jenkins School of Engineering students are prepared and enthusiastic to utilize their pre-professional skills. These students have the capability to be an incredible re- source for nonprofit organizations which may not have the support or simply the time to tackle their ongoing challenges,” remarked Sapp on the importance of the partnership with Union Mission.

Maggie Lynn, Community Outreach Coordinator for Union Mission, has been working with the group throughout its development and acted as the student’s “client” for the project. “The students took this project very seriously. Being able to have them apply their education at such a young age to a real-world scenario where they can see the benefits to their community is priceless. We look forward to many more future collaborations and allowing the program to grow.”

Students designed an organization system to be used at the entry of the Union Mission donation warehouse, located near Grace House on Fahm Street. They will build a shelving system that will process received donations for the homeless community. Additionally, students designed a database software to track inventory within the donation warehouse and to better manage the contents for serving their clients.

Throughout the month of May, the students will build and deploy their system into the warehouse with completion and use set before the end of the month.