Junior Achievement students donate to BrickWays

BrickWays received a lovely surprise to start the year — a donation from Traverse City Central’s Junior Achievement.

The group, which is actually a class about starting and marketing a business, sold Traverse City gift boxes throughout the fall. The process to choosing what to sell is a lesson in itself, says Ryleen Frusti, 17, a senior at TC Central and the public relations manager of the project.

“We start off with bouncing ideas off of each other while someone takes notes,” she explains. “Then we put the options on the whiteboard and narrow them down by voting.” During the voting process, students continue to discuss which ideas would benefit the company or be the most successful. The gift boxes idea rose to the top, but they still had to decide what to put in them. Another round of voting helped decide the products, then the students went to the companies, negotiated prices and set up the leadership of the project, which they called “Treasure Chest.” The students interviewed for leadership positions, “just like a real job,” Frusti says.

The Treasure Chest sold by TC Central's Junior Achievement students.

The Treasure Chest sold by TC Central's Junior Achievement students.

Frusti was chosen as vice president of public relations because of her experience with promoting and selling products. One of her responsibilities was to choose a nonprofit organization to share the profits with. “Not only do we want to create something for ourselves,” Frusti says, “we also want to give back in the process.”

After researching various area nonprofits, the class decided BrickWays was a natural fit. Frusti credits many of her special needs classmates at TC Central with helping make the decision; she says everyone thrives on their friendships. The money went to BrickWays’ Activity Fund, which is used for our many social experiences, including TC Central hockey games!

The business was a raging success, by the way. The class sold 345 Traverse City gift boxes resulting in $13,000 in sales. The stockholders got an 82 percent return on their investment — and BrickWays got a wonderful holiday gift. Sherry Opper, BrickWays housing manager, went to the school in January to receive the donation and told the students more about our housing, services and experiences.

Learn more about TC Central’s Junior Achievement on its Facebook page.

Susan Onan