Kelsey Bishop, Community Editor

Four Miami University sophomores got a jumpstart to networking with professionals from a Big Four auditor, Deloitte LLP, while volunteering at childcare centers and providing guidance to high school students in low-income areas during spring break (March 6 to 12) in Atlanta, Ga.

Deloitte partnered with United Way three years ago to form the alternative spring break program called Maximum Impact. The program allows college students to work side-by-side with Deloitte professionals, share their time and skills with communities in need, and introduce themselves as potential employees, said Diane Borhani, director of U.S. Campus Recruiting for Deloitte LLP.

“We wanted to find a way to really show students what we’re all about,” Borhani said. “Through this program, we can give students an introduction to our organization to see if this is a place that might be of interest to them.”

Borhani said 54 students from nearly 30 colleges and universities participated in Maximum Impact in Atlanta. The students were split into smaller groups and sent to various sites to help out with education-related community service activities.

Sophomore Chad Snider said his group of students went to an early childhood development center where they worked with children who were six months to six years old.

“We also painted tricycle trails and worked at the Big Brothers Big Sisters group,” Snider said.

Snider’s group also interacted with high school students and answered any questions they had about college.

“I learned that early childhood education and literacy skills when the kids are that young are so important because it will pretty much measure their success for the rest of their lives,” Snider said.

Snider found out about the program through the Accountancy Department at Miami. He said he saw the program as an opportunity to do community service and to start networking.

Borhani said all of the projects for the program were focused on education-related activities. Groups of students helped to improve childcare centers, renovate playgrounds for low-income youth and direct high school students on college exploration.

Sophomore Rebekah Linton’s group of students worked at a daycare center where they read to children and helped to paint murals.

“One of the biggest things for me was that we were doing community service but we were still working with business people,” Linton said.

Borhani said another group of Maximum Impact students helped some high school seniors with their senior class project and worked with underclassmen at after-school programs.

“From all the students that have participated to date, I have seen that they get a tremendous sense of accomplishment that they use their time giving back to the community,” Borhani said. “Their eyes are opened, and they become very energized and motivated to help others who are less fortunate.”

According to Borhani, Deloitte wants to see if the participants have what it takes to be a future employee.

“It (the program) gives them (the students) a chance to introduce themselves as a potential employee while they’re doing work to benefit these communities in need,” Borhani said.

Borhani actively recruits students at many universities to participate in Deloitte’s programs. When considering applicants, Deloitte looks at the student’s leadership experience, credentials and past community service experience.

“With the job market the way it is, as early as you can start getting in contact with employers and getting your foot in the door is extremely helpful,” Snider said. “I think I’m ahead in a lot of ways in terms of being recruited.”

Borhani said Deloitte is planning to continue the alternative spring break program next year.