Tales from Towne: ‘Tis the Season to be Charitable

Susan Stenhaug Young AmeriTowne Leave a Comment

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Students and businesses can donate at the Donation Station.

Students and businesses can donate at the Donation Station.

Every day as Young AmeriTowne comes to a close, I am rushing around to check in with the accountants to see if their shop was able to pay back the bank loan plus 10 % interest.  Each shop is required to take out a loan in the morning so they can do business, but at the end of the day the shop must pay back the loan.  If the accountant reports back that the shop made a profit, two things will happen.  First, I am usually greeted with the accountant enthusiastically exclaiming to the entire shop, “Hey guys!  We paid back our loan AND made a profit!”  This, of course, is followed by relief and cheering.  Then, once everyone has calmed down, I can explain to the accountant that because their shop has made a profit, they have the option of making a donation.

At school, the kids receive a lesson on spending, saving and sharing their money.  These lessons are all applicable in Towne.  The students track their purchases in their checkbook register as they spend their paycheck throughout the day.  During the day, the students have an option to donate some of their money to one of six charities, $0.10 of which is matched in real dollars at the end of each school year.

The charities

Every year, the Young Americans Youth Advisory Board and Jefferson Youth Leadership will select six charities for each of our Young AmeriTowne locations that students have the option of donating to.  For 2014-2015 at our Denver location, the charities are:

  • Susan M. Duncan YMCA
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Urban Peak
  • Pencils for Peace
  • Special Olympics

At the end of the year, the Schlessman Family Foundation will donate $0.10 for every $1.00 to the charities on behalf of the kids.

At Belmar, the charities are:

  • Anchor Center for the Blind
  • Family Tree
  • Freedom Service Dogs
  • The Greenway
  • Stephen T. Marchello Scholarship Foundation
  • Arts Street

Community First Foundation is responsible for matching the student’s gifts  for Belmar’s charities.

Citizens of our new travelling version of Towne, Young AmeriTowne On the Road, have the option of donating to Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House.  We are still looking for a sponsor to donate on the students’ behalf.

At each Young AmeriTowne location, there are 6 charities to choose from.

At each Young AmeriTowne location, there are 6 charities to choose from.

Being philanthropic

Let’s get back to the accountants who have the option of donating part of their shop’s profit.  It’s interesting to see the mix of the responses from different accountants on how much they should donate.  (The amount each shop can donate is traditionally capped at $5.00).  Some accountants are reluctant to see their hard earned money disappear, while others are happy to donate a portion of their profit.  And then there are the incredibly philanthropic students who want to donate their entire profit.  I remember one accountant in particular who was working in the Snack Shop.  The shop had made over $200 in profit and the accountant desperately wanted to donate all of it because, according to him, the charity would make $20 in real money, and they need it more than we do.  My heart melted.

I’m extremely proud to work for an organization that helps build a strong comprehension of philanthropy.  I have to give a lot of credit to the students, but also give thanks to the Schlessman Family and Community First Foundation for turning the donations into real dollars.  During this time of the year, I think most of us become a little bit more conscious of our charitable giving, but these kids learn to be conscientious all year long.

Teacher’s Tip

Make sure the shop employees decide together as a business which charity to donate to ahead of time.  This makes the donation process much easier at the end of the day.

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