Every year, high school teacher Jeff Montooth asks his government and economics students to develop a business plan addressing an environmental issue in our world.
In the midst of the novel coronavirus and the resulting fear and uncertainty, he changed the guidelines to include charity-based businesses that would benefit COVID-19 initiatives. That’s when four of his first-year students took the idea and ran with it!
Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza, and Erin Rogers are 15-year-old students at Long Beach Polytechnic High in California. Together, they came up with a plan to create coloring books that would teach young kids about the novel coronavirus.
“Out of our 80 teams, there’s probably 10 groups that are really amazing and a couple that blow you away every year,” their teacher told The Washington Post. “This was one of those groups.”
With encouragement from their families and teachers, the teens took their business plan to the next level when school came to a close. They established a company called Be The Change Coloring Co. with the hope of selling 25 books. Instead, their sales skyrocketed! They wound up raising more than $1,000 in their first month alone!
Lauryn said figuring out what to do for their project was simple once they focused on education.
“We knew we wanted to do something for kids,” she explained. “We also knew we wanted to give back to the community. We considered doing a mask-decorating kit, but we decided on a coloring book because we wanted the kids to learn something. COVID is really confusing, even for us, and the coloring book is a way to keep them entertained and help them learn.”
The 28-page book features kid-friendly characters like Al E. Gator, Sam the Snail, and Wally the Narwhal. The adorable cartoons help children understand the need for wearing masks (there’s one included in every book), social distancing, staying home, and washing their hands. They also share fun activities like puzzle games in addition to the coloring pages.
The books are only $5, and 40 percent of the proceeds go directly to charity. People who buy them have the option of donating to coronavirus relief or a charity of their choice!
Now that the teens’ first book was such a big hit, they are getting back to work! They’re already designing their next coloring book.
“Stand Up For Your-shell-ves” features Sam the Snail and encourages kids to develop a better understanding of racism and discrimination.
As if that wasn’t wonderful enough, the four friends said working on their projects has strengthened their own relationship! Each of them has a key role in creating and developing their books, and they’re loving the feedback they’re receiving from kids and their parents.
Not to mention, having virtual meetings has given them a much-needed social outlet during quarantine!
What a terrific idea! These students have definitely earned an A+ in our books!
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