A group of middle school students raised money for nonprofits with their own business, as part of their school’s service learning program.

Soft SkillsAt Aspen Middle School in Colorado, students raised nearly $6,000 for non profit organizations, building businesses and selling services.

“(The students) were incredibly enthusiastic about their projects,” said sixth-grade teacher Kristen Zodrow . “It was a bit like wildfire when we introduced it.”  For six weeks, students washed cars, made bracelets out of Paracord, baked brownies, made lemonade, dyed t-shirts, and sold Popsicles, to raise money for their favorite charities.

Back in April, Zodrow and fellow teacher Matt Fields told their students to brainstorm business ideas and organizations that supported charities they felt passionately about. Students selected a variety of organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the Haiti Foundation of Hope. Some of their classmates had personal connections to those organizations. They then worked with teachers to build a kid friendly business plan.

“I thought it was really nice that lot of the groups had or made personal connections to the charities they benefited,” Zodrow said.

They planned budgets, income and expenses, watched the documentary “The Start-Up Kids” and created signs and websites. They learned about teamwork, profit and loss, and other invaluable lessons.

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