Fifth-graders make, sell bracelets to raise over $600 for charities

Twenty-four fifth-graders at the Albert Einstein Academy in Huntington Beach showed they have a mind for philanthropy by raising almost $650 for three local charities.

As part of their BizWorld project, the students in Julie Rierson's class spent four weeks creating friendship bracelets and selling them to other students at the independent, tuition-free charter school. The class donated the earnings to the Hoag Hospital Foundation of Newport Beach, the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach and the Huntington-based Colette's Children's Home.

The students invited representatives of each organization to class Friday morning to receive the donations.

"I think this project gave [the children] a really good understanding of finances and business management," Rierson said.

The students split into four groups of six. Each student had a role as a vice president of finance, manufacturing, marketing, sales or design or as the chief executive of the business.

The teams created names for their companies, designs for their bracelets, spending plans and pitches to deliver to a panel of potential investors made up of parent volunteers. "Funding" the students received – paper similar to Monopoly money – was good for embroidery string and beads provided by parent volunteers to make the bracelets.

After selling their bracelets around school, each group chose a beneficiary for the proceeds.

On Friday, the teams presented Carley Prendergast of the Hoag Hospital Foundation, Colette O'Connell of Colette's Children's Home and Kelly Beavers of the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center with certificates stating the amounts of their donations. Two teams – Craz-e-Bands and Blazin' Bracelets – chose the wildlife center.

Bracelets for Friends gave $115 to Prendergast, a member of the major-gifts team at the foundation. She said the money will go toward wigs and scarves for patients in the Hoag Family Cancer Institute.

Friend Loops gave $198.42 to O'Connell, a grant writer for the children's home. "What they've given will help provide food, shelter and child care for women and their kids," O'Connell said. "It's amazing that [the students] are doing something to help people right in their community. They are directly improving society."

Craz-e-Bands and Blazin' Bracelets presented a certificate of $326.05 to Beavers, wildlife technician for the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center. Beavers said the center will use the donation to fund surgeries, food and medication for sick and injured animals in its care, including pelicans, opossums, squirrels and raccoons.

"I was so honored that the students chose us to donate to," Beavers said. "They've learned so much about what it means to help their community at such a young age."

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