With a goal to encourage local elementary students to dream big and enjoy school, Lipscomb University’s Starts with Soap student chapter is raising money to make a difference.
On Friday, September 29, Lipscomb’s Starts with Soap presented a $1,000 check to Whitsitt Elementary School to help purchase iPad cases and other learning supplies for its nearly 400 students. Nearly 130 representatives from Lipscomb, Whitsitt and Metro Nashville Public Schools attended the special ceremony at the elementary school in Nashville.
Founded in 2016 by Caleb Reagor, a senior molecular biology and applied mathematics major in Lipscomb’s Honors College, Lipscomb’s student chapter is a branch of the Starts with Soap nonprofit organization that seeks to help meet the basic public health needs of students in underprivileged schools.
“Lipscomb’s has had a long partnership with Whitsitt that has also involved student mentoring and working to develop personal relationships with their students,” said Reagor, said of the elementary school that 95 of its student body qualifies for free and reduced lunch.
“It’s been a real blessing that the Lipscomb community has rallied around Starts With Soap the way it has. Not only is it exciting to see this organizational success, but it’s exciting that our success on campus has allowed us to make a real difference in the lives of students who may be struggling with their academic careers.”
Since 2016, Lipscomb’s Starts with Soap chapter has raised nearly $2,000 for Whitsitt Elementary through various charity events including student donations, a charity concert, two cookie bake sales and a GoFundMe campaign.
“Starts With Soap is a student organization that has set the bar in student activism over the last year on our campus,” said Josh Roberts, dean of student development. “Under Caleb's leadership, Starts With Soap has inspired students on our campus to take a keen interest in local schools and in what we can do to better equip and support young students for success.”
Reagor says with goals of increasing student achievement and showing them that they do not have to be victims of circumstance, Starts With Soap’s 50 local members are doing their utmost to help these children reach their fullest potential in academics and throughout the rest of their lives.
“In the future, we hope to shift our focus from fundraising to mentorship. A lot of underprivileged students suffer from what I call a ‘deficit in belief,’ and moving forward we want to erase that deficit,” said Reagor.
Lipscomb’s Honors College has been a huge supporter of the Starts With Soap chapter on campus, and Reagor says he has teamed up with the Honors Service Committee to offer Honors College freshmen the opportunity to earn their required service credits through membership in the club. Paul Prill, director of Lipscomb’s Honors College, is the SWS chapter adviser and many honors college students are members.
Want to learn more about Starts With Soap? Visit http://startswithsoap.org.