Littlest Merchants Now Taking Cash
Ninety fifth-graders at Waialae Elementary Public Charter School started their year by making everything from smoothies to Christmas ornaments to home movies, and sold it all to their families and friends. Then they donated all of their profits — more than $2,100 — to Make-A-Wish Hawaii.
It’s a new development for the school’s Market Day project, said teacher Brennan Young. “What the kids do from the start is that they form businesses,” he explained. Each business group then presents its plans to a panel of school staff, conducts market research, makes merchandise (all within a $20 budget) and sells it.
The students typically use fake “Society Dollars” to fund their mini-economy, Young explained, but this time they kicked it up a notch. “We wanted to have the kids do something a little more socially responsible, in terms of thinking about ways we can help our community.”
So they used real money. Thus, Market Day Dec. 11 had the budding entrepreneurs selling all their merchandise for legitimate U.S. dollars. Products had to abide by federal nutrition guidelines — which eliminated easy-sellers like Spam musubi, noted Young. Instead, they offered sugar-free lemonade, T-shirt bags, lanyards, resin magnets and more.
The students presented and voted on a list of charities that could receive their cash profits, and Make-A-Wish Hawaii won out. The agency also worked with the students through their Kids for Wish Kids program, which gives keiki a chance to develop and coordinate their own fundraisers for the organization.
“The funds will go to granting wishes,” said Make-A-Wish Hawaii media specialist Jenna Wawrzyniec. “Right now, we have about 90 local kids who are awaiting their wishes and whose wishes we’re actively planning, looking into 2015 so far.”
(The organization also is hosting two Dishes for Wishes fundraisers in April with Eggs ‘n Things and Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Ala Moana Center. Visit Make-A-Wish Hawaii’s website for more details.)
The December program was such a success that Young believes the school will continue to use real money in Market Day (the next one is in May). “We were really happy, really surprised with how good it turned out.”
For more information on Make-A-Wish Hawaii, visit hawaii.wish.org.