Want students to work hard? Give them a purpose!
Buckley’s fifth grade social entrepreneurs found that purpose with a project that was designed to inspire them to empathize with an issue in need of attention—locally, nationally, or globally. The students learned about social enterprises and NGOs, micro-financing, and marketing; with this background, they created their own simulated social enterprise for their causes.
By taking informed action for something they care about, the students desire to learn was fueled. It developed leadership skills to effect real change, and provided the confidence to take action in a determined way. While their social enterprises mimicked real enterprises, their actions did not. Under the guidance of humanities teachers, Mrs. Patricia Russac and Ms. Natasha Chadha, students researched actual individuals, groups, and organizations related to their causes using the resources on the website the humanities teachers built specifically for the project. (http://socialentrepreneurs.strikingly.com/
) The students relied on a wide selection of literature that emphasized the power of personal initiative to bring about change, and more importantly, to give back to others.
“The students transferred their understanding of what it meant to be a social entrepreneur inside the classroom to help others outside the classroom,” Ms. Russac said. “Now that's a true, life lesson.”
The students presented their ideas to the school community at the “Social Entrepreneur Expo” using interactive displays and technology to convey their knowledge about the issues faced by people and the environment. To support their causes, they designed, printed and packaged their own notecards to raise funds. The revenue generated from the sales and donations was used to make microloans across the globe through Kiva.org. Through their efforts, these fifth grade social entrepreneurs made over 66 loans in 25 different countries; this included 11 different sectors from agriculture to education as well as over 30 different types of activities. To date, Buckley students have lent over $5500.00.
Once these young social entrepreneurs realized that they could make a difference in raising awareness and funds to help actual people, they never looked back. They were empowered to be change-makers in every sense of the term. Most of all, they understood that kids can make a difference, and they don’t have to wait for adults to do it.
“This project was the perfect way to help students develop a deep understanding and passion for those around us in need,” Ms. Chadha said.
Congratulations to all of Buckley’s fifth graders!CLICK HERE
to see photos from the Expo—and leading up to the Expo!