The Business of Charity
The UCF College of Business Administration graduate helps to improve his community by mentoring at-risk youth and volunteering to raise money for cancer charities.
“The opportunities I received [at UCF] laid the foundation for me to become a social change leader in my community and an innovative contributor to my field of study. I was empowered to serve and was provided with the development to become a respected leader.”– Dwayne Houston
Dwayne Houston has achieved a lot during his college career at UCF, including scholarship awards and positions of leadership, but it’s the volunteer experiences that have made the greatest impact on his future.
“To me service is important because it’s the foundation of my life,” he says. “As a young minority who’s been able to achieve success, I feel like it’s my duty to give back to my community and help others on the same track.”
Though his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Houston mentors at-risk Orlando youth through the Young Men of Distinction program, offering advice, teaching life skills and just being there to talk in times of need.
“The majority of these young fellows have big aspirations to go to college or to start their own business, or to become doctors and lawyers, but they don’t have the foundation to know how to get there,” he says. “I’m able to give them direct guidance, share some of my experiences, and help them out in tangible ways.”
Houston’s true volunteer passion, however, is working to benefit cancer charities, such as Children’s Miracle Network. It’s a mission that hits close to his heart because his father was diagnosed with cancer when Houston was in high school.
“That was a turning point in my life because I learned that life can be taken from you in an instant,” he says.
By using his natural salesmanship and the marketing skills he learned at UCF, Houston has helped to raise thousands of dollars to fund treatment for children, including a 5-year-old cancer patient who left a lasting impression on him during a charity kickball game.
“J.P. was the Miracle Child who came to throw out the first pitch and he was just so happy,” Houston remembers. “We were able to take a picture together and that picture sits by my bed to this day. To be so young and fighting the battles that he was fighting, and still have that type of joy. It touched my heart.”
“UCF equipped me with the tools to successfully transcend past the barriers of society to serve my community, while achieving professional success. My experience here served as a cornerstone in my life, handcrafting within my heart, a spirit of excellence.”
- Wesley Chapel, Florida
- Earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the UCF College of Business Administration
- Served as vice chair for the President’s Leadership Council
- Served as a student executive director for the LEAD Scholars Academy
- Won the Bill & Ksenia Merck Endowed Scholarship, and the J.C. Aspley Foundation Scholarship
- Inducted into 2015 Order of Pegasus, UCF’s highest student honor
- Will join Procter & Gamble as a marketing professional after graduation