Several community partners work with Henry faculty and staff to enhance student learning and experience in the real world. At my request, WW staff submitted the following about its popular Marketplace project:
You may have seen them in their colorful aprons, set up at their table outside Weavers Way: a small group of ambitious 8th graders from Henry School, selling food to a long line of eager and hungry after-schoolers. They move like lightning, taking money, making change, distributing snacks. There's a limited window of merchandising opportunity once the school buses pull up - and they have a larger agenda: The sales help people all over the world.
The Marketplace program came about four years ago, in part as a way to create opportunties for positive interaction between the Co-op and Henry School students. Instead of insisting that students' families become Co-op members so they could buy snacks after school, school administrators and the Weavers Way Diversity Committee decided to let them sell to each other instead, and invest their profits in charities.
The program is coordinated by Weavers Way staffers Stephanie Johnson, General Manager Glenn Bergman, Sarah James, Marjorie Felton and Henry Upper School Faculty Coordinator Wendy Willard. After approval from Willard, students choose the food they want to sell, decide on the mark-up, inventory the goods and handle their own accounting. Students package items like cheese breadsticks, cakes and pickles themselves, and sell them with prepackaged goods like chocolate milk.
After each sale, the students select a beneficiary from a list of causes that include the Red Cross, the Cancer Society, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the African Children's Fund, AIDS, Philabundance and the HEIFER project. A portion of profits recently went to beautification of their school: potted plants at the entrance.
"Last year was the hardest," says Stephanie Johnson. "The weather was bad, too cold and icy, and the trucks didn't always get here." Nevertheless, the students managed to break new ground, sponsoring a Mother's Day sale for the first time, which grossed $600, leaving $300 for donations.
The Marketplace program has become one of the most talked-about extracurricular activities at Henry School. "We might have 20 to 30 kids sign up at the beginning of the school year," says Johnson. "The ones who really want to do community service and learn business stick with it. They even re-sign up each year. Some kids' sisters and brothers get involved - second, third and fourth graders. We make them honorary members, sign them out early from class and they work with us. It's good to start 'em young."