For the last decade, I’ve hosted TREP$ programs for kids in Warren County, NJ. TREP$, short for enTREPreneur$, is a project-based learning program that teaches kids in grades 4-8 how to start their own businesses. They learn the lessons afterschool, over the summer, or remote workshops, and apply them at home as they build their businesses with the support of their families. The whole community comes out to enjoy the TREP$ Marketplace where the young entrepreneurs launch their businesses together. The program was developed by moms, Hayley Romano and Pamela deWaal, in 2006 and is held now held in hundreds of communities each year.
Kaleidoscope TREP$ workshops have gone through many iterations, but for several years the program has been hosted by the Warren County Library System so that kids could attend for free so that any child could participate regardless of their family’s financial situation. The program was held over the summer, during a time when kids had less academic pressure and more free time so that they could really immerse themselves in the excitement and creativity of the TREP$ program.
Working with Blairstown Farmers Market and later Warren County Farmers Market, we launched an innovative approach to the TREP$ Marketplace event — our young entrepreneurs launched their businesses at the market, where they benefited from the regular audience and foot traffic while the farmers benefited from the added attendance turning out for the special event. The program has grown each year, adding additional workshops and Marketplace events. Even with COVID-19 restrictions necessitating classes on Zoom and masks at the market, our young businesspeople thrived.
Many students return multiple times to learn more and to share their knowledge. They participate in the Marketplaces year after year, growing their businesses. There are students who participated in my first program, as 4th graders, who have now graduated high school and started their own businesses as adults!
Unfortunately, the Warren County Library is unable to host the program this summer. While I could simply pass the cost on to participants, I feel that especially with the economy still recovering, those fees may make the class out of reach for many kids. I believe in the power of small business and entrepreneurship to change people’s lives, but you need to get your foot in the door. If possible, I want to create as few barriers as possible for those that want to start that journey. That’s why I’m asking for your help.
Of course, it doesn’t stop with the kids. It’s about our small business community. Marketplace events help our farmers, crafters, artisans, and vendors. Because of the unique interconnected system we’ve created, our TREP$ kids not only start their businesses they support other local businesses while doing so. Meanwhile, local businesses support and mentor our students, provide feedback during workshops, teach them about the importance of their local economy, and help to promote their hard work. It’s incredibly powerful for our students. Whether they choose to continue their entrepreneurial work or not, they walk away with a valuable understanding of how business works and how that affects their town, county, state, and country.
This year many businesses are still struggling as they recover from a year of shutdowns and social distancing. It’s more important than ever to support our local businesses. TREP$ Marketplace events are one way to do that.
So I am asking you to help bring back our Kaleidoscope TREP$ program for 2021. Please sponsor the program. For $50, you can sponsor one child to take part in the 6-week workshop and Marketplace, covering all the cost of materials and workbooks. $250 sponsors five students and $500 sponsors 10. With more sponsors, not only can we include more students, we can host additional Marketplace events at more locations. Your support means more Marketplace events this summer. My goal is to raise $1,000 by June 16.
Anyone who has been a part of my TREP$ program knows I put a tremendous amount of time and effort into it. I want my students to be successful and feel empowered. After over 15 Marketplace events, I know how inspiring these kids are, how hard they work, and how exciting it is to be part of this program.
By sponsoring this program, you will be included in the marketing for the program itself as well as the Marketplace event(s). We will publish a program with your logo and contact information to be distributed at events. And you will be welcome to join us at the Kaleidoscope table, free of charge, during Marketplace events. We will also happily distribute your business information at the table.
Please use the button below to sponsor the TREP$ program today. You will absolutely make a difference in a child’s life and you will support small businesses in Warren County. Please note this is not a tax-deductible donation. If you would like to donate a different amount you can do so by sending money via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or Venmo to KaleidoscopeSci. And funds beyond the cost of the TREP$ program will be used to sponsor our Summer of Science 2021.