Program challenges youth in Grades 4 to 8

For Coastal Community Credit Union, this spring marks a milestone of 10 years sponsoring PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs.

For Coastal Community Credit Union, this spring marks an important milestone of 10 successful years sponsoring PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs in Vancouver Island communities.

This exciting educational program challenges youth in Grades 4 to 8 to start and run their own business ventures. Starting with a single school in the winter of 2003, the credit union now reaches over 30 classrooms a year in three school districts.

“Coastal Community Credit Union is committed to providing youth in the communities we serve with the tools that will help them achieve their goals in a 21st century workforce,” says Allyson

Prescesky, manager of community experience and communications.

“With PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs, students learn by doing and as a result they build self-confidence and strengthen their skills in organization, critical thinking, money management and communication. We are proud to have played a part over the last 10 years in building up the skills of the youth who will become our future community leaders.”

“My students this year started out in kindergarten as little customers,” says Grade 6 teacher Patrisha Reader who for the past nine years has made the program an annual tradition at École

Robb Road in Comox.

“They’ve been going to the fair for years, looking at displays, checking out products and watching their older schoolmates. Many say that as early as Grade 1 or 2 they started thinking about products they would make.”

Nanaimo teacher Natascha Proctor of École Hammond Bay, whose son participated as a student several years ago, is excited to be running it herself for the first time.

“They’re very enthusiastic and very keen,” she commented of her Grade 6 students. “They’re thinking ahead and many have completed their product prototypes.”

Participating students design business plans, products and marketing materials and commit to donating a portion of their profits to charity. They realize that with persistence and planning they

are capable of carrying out a large project.

They also learn about math, language arts, fine arts and technology in ways that are fun and relevant.

Natascha Proctor’s class incorporated the program into their Social Studies unit on democratic processes, nominating different charities to support and selecting the final four through a vote.

At McGirr Elementary in Nanaimo, Leslie Olsen’s class used their artistic skills to design creative posters to advertise their sales event.

Some of the creative and clever products that will be on offer at Showcase events include colourful luggage tags, hand-sewn stuffed animals and gym bags, pop can jewelry, crocheted tams, ear bud organizers, homemade dog and cat food and cleverly repurposed key chain attachments made from potato chip bags that have been shrunk in the oven.

To find out more about PowerPlay Young Entrepreneurs, visit or or contact PowerPlay Strategies at 1-888-880-0816.

— Coastal Community Credit Union

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