Saturday, November 17, 2012

One Cup at a Time...

This is clip art.  I was too lazy to
photograph our coffees, but for the
record...ours look better.
As I've mentioned, I'm a teacher.  One of the side projects connected to my teaching career is fundraising.  We all do it.  We all hate it.  But, in the world of the ever shrinking budget - so it goes.  

I like to think of fundraising opportunities that don't impose upon our school community too much.  I don't want to be like, "Here, buy some $25 popcorn when you could buy a product of similar quality at the grocery store!  IT'S FOR A GOOD CAUSE."

So I've tried to focus on things people already spend money on, and then compete within those markets.  I put said philosophy into practice with The Coffee Stand.  

Let us start at the beginning of the story...One fall morning a few years ago, a student walked into my room carrying a Starbuck's coffee.  Not a hugely strange event in this our modern times, but strange for us.  You see, where I teach, we are 15 miles away from the nearest Starbuck's.  In response to my confusion, this girl confessed that she sometimes gets up early to do a coffee run for she and her friends.  

Wait for it... LIGHT BULB!

The kids all buy something to drink at the beginning of the day.  Some gas station coffees, and sweet teas, and Monster energy drinks and soda pops.  Why couldn't we target that market?!  I talked to my principal, and he was on board, and in October of 2010 we opened.  We serve iced coffees, and amazing cocoa, and now our menu includes a ridiculous variety.  What can I get you?  Chai Tea with Skim.  You betcha.  Feeling seasonal?  Pumpkin Spice coffee coming right up.  Cinnamon Mocha?  Gingerbread Spice?  Merry Mocha Mint?  We've got it all. And the kids are always coming up with new ideas to add to the mix.

Our coffees are good - really good actually, but my favorite part is creating toppings.  I guess it's the artist in me.  I guess it's also the foodie too though.  We eat with our eyes.  There is no reason not to put a gingerbread cookie and candy sprinkles on top of the whipped cream that crowns the Gingerbread Spice Iced Coffee.  No reason at all.  

So what is the point of all this genius fundraising?  Well...we go to New York City.  It was my Art Club that started the project, but my drama kids participate too.  Each kid who works a given day, the profit goes into a trip account.  They keep working.  They keep earning. 

In April of 2011 we made our first trek to The Big Apple with Coffee Stand funds and it was an incredible experience.  To travel with students is to watch the world unfold in front of them.  To watch a kid walk through Times Square for the first time is to watch them know, without a doubt, that we live in a world that is filled with possibilities.  New York is creativity central.  It's Art & Theatre nirvana.  It's amazing.  It's wonderful.  It's inspiring.  I want to show as many kids that as I can.  And I remind myself that when I have to go to school an hour earlier than I want to.  

But it works.  So each day we keep showing up early.  And we keep earning and saving and making our way to NYC...one cup at a time.

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