Healthy eating, assault awareness, mentoring among service projects backed by Ford Motor Co.

Since 2011, the Ford Motor Company Fund has been providing financial support to assist students in creating service learning projects through the Ford Community Corps Partnerships (FCCP).
Students are encouraged to propose their creative project ideas to a committee of six members from the Institute for Leadership and Service at UDM. Once approved, students begin training and receiving funding in order to put their projects into motion.
“It ties in perfectly with the mission of our school,” Fr. Tim Hipskind, director of service learning, said. “We have so many resources here at UDM. This allows students to use those resources as well as what they are learning in the classroom, and transfer that into helping better the community.”
This year’s projects include mentoring students to transition into college, spreading awareness of sexual assault, teaching children healthy eating habits, educating foster teens about their legal rights, and many others.
 “This partnership is perfect for our school,” Miranda Dufresne, the FCCP coordinator, said. “Not only does it allow students and faculty to give back, but it also sparks new and creative ways as well.”
Dufresne said that attaching the name Ford to this program gives credibility to the students’ projects.
Not all student leaders rely solely on the funding provided by Ford to make their projects a reality.  
Many also team up with local nonprofit organizations and reach out to local businesses for additional support and sponsorship.
Marianne Grima is the student leader of DPAC, a project that aims to spread awareness and prevention of sexual assault.  She said that anyone she can team up with is another opportunity to get the message out to the community.
 “We’ve gotten great support from local businesses,” Grima said. “It shows us that the community is taking notice of the great work UDM students are doing and hopefully taking advantage of it as well.”
Ford’s commitment to the community is evident. 
“Being a successful business isn’t all about making money,” Hipskind said. “Ford really cares about their community as well, and they show it by empowering these young people to make a difference.”