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Kutztown High School student-run shop sells coffee for clean water

Two years ago Kutztown Area High School students started their own business called The Brew. This year a portion of the business proceeds will help the Kutztown Rotary Club provide clean drinking water in Ghana.

“I hope students learn how to think like entrepreneurs to solve problems and fill an unmet demand in the community,” Kutztown business teacher Christopher Simmons said in a statement. “Most importantly, I hope my students learn that running a successful business takes a whole lot of hard work but can be very rewarding, especially as they think about ways to give back.”

The student-run shop sells coffee and other goods to staff and students during approved school hours. To avoid conflict with classes or schoolwork, The Brew is only open at the beginning and end of every other school day.

Most of the customers are regulars and continue to come back. Many like the specials and the iced coffee.

The students will donate a minimum of 20% to the Rotary Club, which will work directly to use the money to provide clean water for areas in need. Some of the funds will be reinvested into The Brew to get next year’s students started in the business.

The four owners of the business Emma Aavild, Alyssa Daub, Kayla Schappell and Edison Yang are participating in the Junior Achievement Company Program as part of an entrepreneurship class at the high school.

Student consultants Bryce Bachman, Lacey Collins, Phoenix Kellogg, Isa Scherer and Sierra Garris keep the books for the business as part of an accounting class. Isa and Sierra participated in the entrepreneurship course two years ago and helped to start the shop. Student Torrin Ream wrote a press release as part of a sports marketing elective.

Simmons teaches the entrepreneurship class among other business and financial wellness classes.

“Along with the above business skills, this program teaches them valuable communication, problem-solving, and real-life work skills,” he said. “They also gain experience with banking procedures, accounting, marketing, sales, supply chain, and managerial and leadership skills.”

Junior Kayla Schappell, 17, is the head of finance. She said her biggest gain was learning how to manage the finances. She got a lot of tips from Simmons.

“Considering my desire to be in the business world, I will be able to utilize all that I have learned about finances someday,” Schappell said.

“I like being able to interact with people outside my friend circle and learn valuable customer service skills,” she said.

Senior Edison Yang, 18, is the head of marketing. He earned how to manage a business on a smaller scale and tactics to draw customers and retain them. He also learned how to work with a small team and use what they have to successfully run a business.

“I like making drinks and seeing the profit/cost margins,” he said. “I also enjoy the entrepreneurship aspect of starting a business and seeing the outcomes as well as the business side.”.

Junior Alyssa Daub, 17, is the head of supply chain.

“I like the learning experience as someone who hasn’t had a job yet,” she said. “It’s quite helpful to learn about working and being a part owner of a business. The most important thing I have learned so far is just the basics of working at a standard job. I also have learned how to help run a business, and to brainstorm plans for the business with a group of people.”

Junior Emma Aavild, 16, is the head of management. She is Kutztown Rotary’s exchange student from Denmark.

“I like seeing a bunch of people and being able to make our own decisions with what we wanna sell and when we wanna sell it,” Aavild said.

The students wanted to donate proceeds to an international relief project, so Aavild asked the Rotary Club to help identify a cause. In 2023 it contributed to a global grant for a Ghana water development project led by the Rotary Club of Montreal.

“Rotary International makes it easy because we can send the money to the RI Foundation and simply note the global grant to which it should be applied,” Kutztown Rotary Club President Kurt Rohrbach said in a statement. “Emma liked the idea and took it back to the students.”

The club will help the students make the donation through Rotary International.

“And that is how a Danish exchange student, working with her classmates in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, will contribute to an African water project through the Rotary Club of Montreal. Rotary connects the world!” Rohrbach said.

Source: Berkshire mont

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