Treasure Mountain Junior High’s Money Club taught students to launch businesses

From left: Caden Gennerman, Briana Miller, Elaine Murray, John Vazquez, Grant Murray and Kyle Cink were the first members of the Money Club, which Elaine Murray started earlier this year.
Carolyn Webber/Park Record

Isabel Luckan and Briana Miller went to a dog park one day carrying bags filled with dog treats. By the end of the day, they were $10 in debt, but they had learned a thing or two about starting a business.

Luckan and Miller were both eighth-graders at Treasure Mountain Junior High last school year, and they were also members of the Money Club, an after-school group that launched in January. In the club, students were taught how to start a business and manage money.

Elaine Murray, co-president of the parent-teacher organization at Treasure Mountain, started the club because she wanted to teach students practical skills as well as how to think outside of the box with future career options.

“These are life skills, and these are things that kids will take with them forever,” she said.

Murray invited local entrepreneurs to speak to the students during the club’s meeting times. She and the speakers helped guide the students, but for the most part it was up to them to decide on a product or service and figure out how to market and sell it.

Miller, Luckan and the other four students who regularly attended the club agreed that they learned a lot.

“It was a good experience and was pretty helpful,” said Kyle Cink, a member of the club.

In the club, he worked on selling his video editing abilities on the freelance marketplace service Fiverr. He said he enjoyed learning about making a business plan and developing a recognizable brand.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get ahead of our peers and people who are older than us who didn’t have this learning opportunity,” Luckan said.

Miller said that she learned how risky starting a business can be, but also how fun it is. She and Luckan enjoyed making dog treats and selling them at the park, but realized that their business model was not working because people normally didn’t have cash or even their wallets at the park. They chose to not pursue their business any more, but are eager to try out other ideas in the future.

Murray hopes the students leave the club believing that they can pursue atypical career paths and still succeed. She said when kids start businesses at a young age, they will have less fear about starting one when they are older.

“The whole point is to give them courage, confidence and the track record to say, ‘I’ve done it before and I can do it again,’” she said. “When you become confident in one area of your life, it bleeds into other areas into your life.”

The club will resume next year at the school and is also being taught during a summer school course that started on June 11 and is scheduled to run until Friday, June 15.


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