Friday, February 13, 2009

High school students turn bottles into loans

Webber Academy, a Canadian Prep-School, is instilling a sense of social responsibility and enterprise in its students through a 12th-grade program called the "Legacy Project".

The program takes funds raised by the school's recycling program and puts the money toward micro-credit loans for people struggling in developing economies. The Legacy Project makes loans through KIVA- a US non-profit organization that operates a person-to-person micro-lending website, allowing individuals to lend directly to entrepreneurs throughout the developing world. Through this program, the Legacy Project has loaned money to entrepreneurs around the world, including: Cambodia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

According to the Calgary Herald, "the student's goal is to have $10,000 in their loan portfolio by the end of the year."

While it is an optional program, the approximately 15 students who are directly involved with the Legacy Project are completely energized by their tangible results, and have attained support from the entire school community- including elementary students.

The project's co-president, Elizabeth Huffaker is pleased by the "...tangible results. You can see a difference from small actions like recycling bottles or cans." She also highlighted the simplicity of the program, stressing that:

especially for places that already have recycling programs set up,
it's really simple... it's not that big a step to expand to not only recycling bottles, but taking the money you make and putting it into loans.

Bravo, Webber Academy. Not only are your students learning life-long skills, they are also learning that a small effort and some creative thinking can have big results.

(quotes from Calgary Herald)
(photo via Alex Kehr)

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