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Fall in Love

Let's talk about love at first sight. Four years ago I attended a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) exposition and promptly fell in love-with SIFE. Unlike most "instant" loves, this one took.

For those who don't know (which unfortunately is too many of you), SIFE is a nonprofit organization that partners with businesses and universities to spread the word about free enterprise. And students are judged on how well they've taught others about it at an annually held national competition.

But they actually do much more. Meet SIFE students, and you can't help but fall in love with their passion, their devotion and their unflagging desire to "change the world, one revolution at a time," according to Springfield, Missouri's Drury University SIFE team, this year's RadioShack USA national champions in the four-year university category.

For instance, the Drury champs started YEA! (the Young Entrepreneurs Association) to help an elementary school teacher prepare her students for competing in the global economy. YEA! extends to more than 6,000 students worldwide. And at Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey, SIFE teaches local kids about product design, marketing and business ethics by using M&Ms.

RadioShack USA's national champions in the two-year college category, the team from Butte College in Oroville, California (along with the SIFE team from California State University, Chico), runs Youth Entrepreneurship Camps where participants learn about technology, ethics and ways to improve their organizational and communication skills.

This year, many SIFE students started practicing what they had been preaching by launching or expanding their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Drury started Smal-Mart, a campus convenience store. The team from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, operates their own soon-to-be-syndicated Radio Free Enterprise, a tour business, two gift shops and an online store. And California State, Chico, formed Cal-High SIFE, which teaches SIFE principles to high school students from across the state. Chico hosted a high school SIFE competition this spring where, as a judge, I was moved to tears as the teens explained how Cal-High SIFE had changed their perspectives, their goals and their lives.

It's time you fell in love at first sight. Experience that joy by helping SIFE. They need your time, experience and money. Please call SIFE at (800) 677-SIFE or log on to www.sife.org, and you'll be reminded how much more blessed it is to give than to receive.

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This article was originally published in the August 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Fall in Love.

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