By Deanna C. White
What better place to encourage people to make dreams a reality than at the very doorstep of Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. That's where BAP will host its 2013 Annual Meeting.
Founded in 1919, BAP is the international honor organization for financial information students and professionals. Each year, the annual meeting draws members from the honor organization's more than 300 chapters in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The meeting is a critical growth opportunity for members, Jan Taylor Morris, president-elect of BAP said, because it's structured to build relationships between peers and professionals; recognize and reward scholastic success; and instill commitment to lifelong professional development, ethical behavior, and service.
But the annual meeting is also structured to build something that will extend far beyond mere professional circles, Morris said. It's meant to open students' eyes to the great reward of giving back to others.
According to Morris, this year's meeting will host two events that "reinforce Beta Alpha Psi's commitment to giving back to the community" – the BAP International Day of Literacy, the organization's newly designed annual community opportunity, and Project Run With It (PRWI) , a real-world consulting project that allows students to assist local nonprofits. Students will participate in either the BAP International Day of Literacy, sponsored by KPMG, or PRWI, sponsored by Moss Adams.
"These two events reinforce Beta Alpha Psi's commitment to giving back to the community," Morris said. "They allow students to provide assistance to local schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other nonprofit organizations in the greater Anaheim community."
According to BAP, PRWI "furthers the community service component of BAP and provides members and candidates with an opportunity to engage in a real-world consulting project."
Working in teams, up to seventy-two students will develop a formal presentation outlining their solution to some very real-world business issues presented by Orange County–area nonprofits in their request for proposal for consulting services. Prior to the annual meeting, the nonprofits will provide background information on their issue. They will also be on-site at the meeting to field questions from students participating in the competition.
This year's case studies include a vocational program and a social enterprise program case study for A Place Called Home, a nonprofit that provides educational programs, counseling, and mentorship for underserved youth in South Central Los Angeles, as well as a program expansion case study for Inner-City Arts, a nonprofit that uses arts education to positively affect the lives of underserved children and youth.
The BAP International Day of Literacy will invite BAP members to distribute books at local Orange County elementary schools and teach children about the importance of literacy. Sponsored by KPMG LLP and the KPMG Foundation, the event will run in collaboration with the Orange County United Way and the nonprofit organization First Book.
According to Morris, approximately 1,000 BAP members from around the world will participate on Thursday, August 8. Previous community service events have included park cleanups and Project Homeless Connect events, but this year is the first year "each BAP volunteer will directly make a difference in the life of a child," Morris said.
On BAP International Literacy Day, volunteers will visit three elementary schools and six Boys & Girls Clubs in the Orange County region. Volunteers will hold literacy fairs at eight of the locations, tapping into the event's international theme by organizing activities around the seven continents. For example, children will learn about the animals of South America. At the end of the day, each child will receive a book to take home.
Volunteers will also visit a Boys & Girls Club preschool to read to children and distribute books, clean up the playground, and paint a fifty-four-foot mural at the school.
BAP member Matt Anderson, a graduate of Sam Houston State University, in Huntsville, Texas, said participating in the annual meeting community service events – such as the 2011 Project Homeless Connect event where he guided low-to-no-income participants through a convention center full of various assistance programs – definitely made a lasting impression on him.
"The two couples I had the pleasure of assisting that day opened my eyes to the importance of the project and just what it meant to them to have access to the services being offered," Anderson said. "The rewarding feeling that I got from being able to play a part in those people's lives is enough to encourage me to help with this year's annual meeting."
The 2013 BAP Annual Meeting will also include the Best Practices Competition and a trip to Disneyworld Park. For more information on the meeting, visit the BAP website