Written by T Rex Mom...
First let me say, I'm on the PTO and fairly involved. I've been frustrated that the 6th grade at our school has been having these fundraising events because parents tend to think when they participate in these events it benefits the school. Actually, the PTO does donations only and has been trying to avoid fundraising events like selling wrapping paper or selling cookie dough. Instead, we do what's called "Direct Give". Last year it was a big success but this year it has not been. I think this is due to families thinking that by giving money for popcorn or ice cream at these fundraising events it's for the PTO when actually it is specifically for the 6th grade's end of year project. There's your back story. I think T overheard me sharing this frustration with a friend.
Fast forward a couple weeks. T is just out of the shower and wrapped in his hooded towel when he tells me, "Mom, I had another meeting with the school counselor and principal." Me - I sit down and take a deep breath and say, "Why?" T replies, "Well, I have an idea of how to raise some money for the sixth grade. I wanted to sell my origami puppets and donate all the money to the sixth graders. However, the principal says I need an inventory if I want to sell them Friday during popcorn sales. Mom, what's an inventory?"
We have a discussion about what inventory is and how he can make sufficient inventory for selling. Then I ask him to please come to me before going directly to the principal. When I asked why he didn't come to me earlier he said, "Because we don't talk about our good deeds if we want the blessings." (LOVE this kid!) We have a new principal this year and I'm still getting to know her. However, I know she is super busy and don't want my little guy bugging her. The next day I email her and we have good correspondence. She offers some suggestions on helping him achieve success. I was worried about his tender heart getting broken if the kids didn't like his creations. I even reached out to his present and past teachers. We all agreed that he had to put himself out there and he would either fly or fall but they kept reassuring me things would probably be fine. The principal wanted one final meeting on the morning of his sale where he was supposed to "pitch his idea with appropriate prices" and she would determine if he could proceed. However, I had emailed the principal the night before with the finished product and she approved it but we both decided he needed to go through with that morning meeting. Thus, I went with him early that Friday morning and we had our meeting.
The principal was wonderful. She is kind of intimidating. She's like 6 feet tall and I'm about a foot shorter than that, but she was awesome with T. She came from one of the area's gifted schools so she's used to some unusual ideas coming from kids, I think. He "pitched" his idea and she gave the green light. Since I had to work and his dad was home with a sick toddler, she would pull him early from class and have him set up next to the sixth graders selling popcorn. He specifically said he wanted to have a sixth grader help him because he "just learned to count with nickles, dimes, and quarters in 2nd grade."
Another charming thing he did that day to prepare for his sales - he wore his school shirt and put on his "special occasion glasses". I made note of that when he was getting ready that morning.
I contacted his present and past teachers and asked them to stop by, which they of course said they would. (He is so fortunate to have had 3 teachers who all say he is a favorite student.) All that day I was on pins and needles hoping he would be happy after it was all over. One of my close friends went down and ordered a couple of his puppets and she sent me a photo with the caption, "He's beaming".
His dad picked him up just after everything was done and he said the exact same thing. While I was at work the principal emailed and said it was a total success and he sold out.
So he charged $0.10 for finger puppets and $0.25 for hand puppets. With his inventory if he sold out he would make a total of $8. He made $16.60. Plus, he had another 40 orders to fulfill over the following weekend. He brought in about $50 for the 6th grade. Oh and he made a special hand puppet in the character of the principal to present to her when he presents his money to the school.
Below are some of the examples of the puppets. My favorite are Han Solo and Chewbacca. He did Darth "Paper" (as he called him) and Yoda. He even made a few princesses, too. The one that sales "Trail Wind" is a thank you for his principal. The photo of him by his display wearing the blue shirt is the one my friend just prior to the start of his sale. The other of him with his display (white shirt) is the one I sent ahead of time to the principal to get the okay.