Recently, students took part in the annual Cornerstone Social Entrepreneurship Competition, one of the largest social entrepreneurship service learning initiatives in the world, which helps to highlight outstanding groups who have had a significant impact through their hard work and dedication to community and service organizations. The students are nominated and then evaluated by the Cornerstone Competition Nominating Committee, with the top teams advancing to the Cornerstone Competition Semi-finals.

The first place team from the Summer 2013 semester was “Team Helping Hand Association,” which was able to raise $2,765 in cash and cash value donations in eight weeks for the Christian Service Center. Team members included Rui Cui, Julian Hidalgo, Michael Mallek, James Nicholas, Rafael Prado, Mike Safi and Wanhong Zhao.

“This course has taught us so much by forcing us to become leaders and to work as a team respectfully and diligently. [It] needs to be taken seriously for any UCF business student who wants to succeed in their future. We are blessed to have been given first place for the Cornerstone Social Entrepreneurship Competition,” said team member James Nicholas.

About Jim and Debbie Balaschak:

The Balaschaks are very community-oriented people who have volunteered their time, talent and treasure to many organizations throughout the community. Their commitment to community and to UCF is demonstrated by their support of the Cornerstone program and the competition. They wish to encourage students to learn the value of volunteering and hope that the experiences gained in the Cornerstone program will continue after graduation. It is thanks to the Balaschaks’ generous financial support that UCF is able to recognize the outstanding students’ activities.