I first heard about TREP$, an entrepreneurship education program created by Hayley Romano and Pamela deWaal, when my oldest daughter was in second grade.
Flyers were hung at my girl’s school advertising the Trep$ Marketplace, an event put on by parents and students from secondary school in town. Friends I knew were going so I braved the cold weather and dragged my then 4, 6, and 8 year old to the high school gymnasium to see what it was all about. The place was packed with families from our community walking up and down aisles of tables, manned by kids selling goods they had created and services they were providing.
I gave each of my children $10 to spend. There was so much to choose from, duck tape wallets, hair clips, marshmallow shooters, stuffed animals, and jewelry. They took their time looking for the perfect thing to purchase.
I was excited to be there with my kids because the event represented more than just an opportunity to spend money but the notion that little kids could do big things.
They could have a creative idea, a talent, or a passion and put it to use to produce money.
In the weeks leading up to event, the children (grade 4-6), met once a week after school to learn about Product Development, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, and Handling Money. They brainstormed ideas, created a business plan, and advertised their products and services.
While I was at the event I found myself looking forward to the day my kids would be participating in the program.
For my oldest daughter, that was last year. Already armed with experience of calculating cost and profit from selling lemonade, she was up for the challenge. She designed and created lanyards to hold various size water bottles. (Which are great, by the way, to have when you are at a park or the zoo and don’t feel like carrying your drink.)
It was a lot of work, but worth it!
Together, we went on-line and sourced the materials- cord, cord locks and ribbons…we even designed a custom ribbon with our school logo. The whole family pitched in to create the product. Once my big girl’s prototype was created we took pictures and made an advertisement that would be hung in school. My daughter had even more fun at the Marketplace as a vendor than she did as a consumer.
Entrepreneurship is not just about making money, it’s also about being creative, following a dream, taking calculated risks, working hard, and contributing to your community.
I love being an active part in my what my children learn about money because it will help them avoid the mistakes I made.
With the support of the school administrators, two wonderful class facilitators, and parent volunteers, I am thrilled to be chairing this year’s Trep$ program. I look forward to seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces at the Marketplace as they enjoy the fruit of their hard work. I know the lessons they’ve learned will stay with them and potentially guide them to make smart choices about money and career in the future.