I am proud. I am proud for so many reasons.
I am proud of how the community of upper school boys year after year continue to support our on-site entrepreneurs by piling into the garage on sale days, dollars in hand, to purchase items in the name of micro lending. It was an exciting first few days of sales in the garage, it was the kind of energy and noise that sometimes makes yourself say, "why do I do this to myself?" However, in the end I knew exactly why. Sales alone we have made $237. Total loans were $332.50- at 71% we are not doing too bad:) Look at that math!
I am proud of the 6B trust group. Out of the 3 companies coming out of 6B, one of the businesses is really struggling and was unable to pay back their loan this month. Using the comparison to the One Hen simulation we role played earlier this year, we had to have a community meeting to deal with this issue. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to discuss similar issues in the real world and have the boys walk in the shoes of others.
I posed the question, "How does it feel to not be able to pay your loan at this time?" to the members of Gako. The boy's responses ranged from "stressed", to "kind of funny", to "happy to be selling with my friends so I don't really mind". I understand this range of emotions from my 6th graders, the reality is we are selling items to lend to others and their lives, houses, bills and medical care is not dependent on success. With that though I pressed them a little more. "How would it feel if I told you that your grade was dependent on it?" A moment of panic set through the classroom. The response was that they would be more diligent, committed and would likely do more. The other boys in the class suggested that they would feel nervous, stressed out and a little guilty for depending on the other members of the trust group to pay their loan back. I was accomplishing what I intended, getting them to see things from a different angle. I moved further and allowed them to recognize and acknowledge that the borrowers on Kiva feel the way they do. However, it's not their grades, it's likely the opportunity to live a more dignified life. They started to get it.
As a response, the boys came up with a solution to the $7 that Gako needed. Fanimals contributed $5 as a loan and CMCX Sports contributed $2 as a loan. Serious conversation using the mentality I was brought up on that "Fair is not always equal and equal is not always fair" found it's way in. The boys conversed about how much money they had left in their bank accounts, how much they needed to purchase more supplies and what pay back in February would look like. In the end they felt that this was a fair response at the moment. It also led to further conversation about Gako's commitment to success moving forward. With only $0.11 in the bank account they feel like they have their hands tied behind their backs. We need more advertising, but we can't afford it. They are beginning to feel that it takes money to make money.
I am proud of 6A's group, Sports Balls. Without being asked, without even speaking to Gako and the members of 6B, this group donated a set of advertisements to Gako to help them.
Overall I am proud.
The boys at the moment are:
- Feeling good and ready to get new product
- Excited to sell and make real money
- Anxious to make loans
- Relieved that they found success
- Hopeful that the lower school will be equally as enthusiastic
- Worried that new product won't be as successful
And so we move on. It's going to be a big week of PERCENTS. The math will be worked through project materials and the organization of KIVA. I can't wait. Using this non profit continues to be a powerful means to use statistics and numbers to develop empathy. It's really just getting started for this bunch and I can't wait to see where they go with it:)