SOA has been a proud supporter of the Heart of Missouri United Way (HMUW) since 2000 and has been a United Way Pacesetter since 2005. A high percentage of our staff are annual supporters. We believe the United Way has amazing potential to support a multitude of needs in our community – so not only does SOA support them financically, our staff have volunteered in various campaign roles over the past several years. We also assisted HMUW design services at no cost when they relocated their offices to Ash Street.
The Central Missouri Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) sponsors this fun and beneficial event that simultaneously showcases the ingenuity of the design community, while benefiting the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. SOA has enjoyed participating in this annual event for 17 years, building unique, theme-based designs out of cans and other non-perishable food items which are then all donated to The Food Bank. Thanks to CSI for offering us the opportunity to build camaraderie within our own team as well as help those in need.
A couple of times each year, SOA staff members join professors and students of the University of Missouri’s School of Architectural Studies to participate in project critiques, offering real-world perspective in assessing their academic-based projects. Additionally, our staff participate in mock interviews to help students hone their interview skills and provide constructive feedback on their portfolios, resumes and business cards to prepare them for entering the workforce.
The City of Columbia’s Career Awareness Related Experience (C.A.R.E.) program’s goal is for Columbia’s youth is to help ensure that they are ready to enter the workforce and become productive, self-sufficient citizens. In 2015, SOA participated in the CARE program and we were fortunate to have Quinton Jackson join our team for the summer. He assisted SOA with the reduction of hard copy/paper files and other miscellaneous office support tasks. Staff shared how we use computers to design projects and took Quinton to construction sites to see the more technical side of what architects do. Additionally, we invited him to sit in on client meetings to see the relational side of design.
Additionally, SOA has financially supported various not for profit organizations over the years, including the Center for Urban Agriculture, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, Meals on Wheels, Rainbow House, Aleppo Grotto, Pascale’s Pals, Williams Syndrome Foundation, American Cancer Society – Relay for Life, Boone Hospital Foundation, Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Missouri, Columbia Public Schools, Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish School, Hallsville High School, Harrisburg High School, Columbia College and Central Methodist University.
In lieu of gift giving among staff, since 1995, SOA pools our resources to sponsor a family for Christmas through the Voluntary Action Center (VAC). SOA enjoys our group shopping spree where, in addition to toys and games, we go to great lengths to see that the clothing, nutrition and household needs of our adopted family are met. For many in our firm, this tradition is a very humbling and meaningful Christmas ritual. Thanks to VAC for providing this opportunity for SOA to share in the spirit of Christmas.