Nearly three dozen kids and teens showcased their unique products during the second Kidz Biz Expo at Lititz recCenter on July 25. Hosted by Lancaster Evangelical Free Church, the event celebrated the young budding entrepreneurs, who combined creativity and business skills with giving back to a charity or cause.
Handcrafted products included jewelry; slime, whose creators touted as a stress reliever; baked goods; chalkboards; cheeseboards crafted from granite; art; and even Kenyan food. Julie Zook, LEFC early elementary coordinator, said the event stems from an elective class taught by the church’s pastor of kid’s ministry, or KidMin, Dema Kohen.
“The class, ‘The Great Money Adventure: an Exciting Journey of Making Money and Making a Difference,’ teaches the Biblical principles of hard work and making money,” Zook explained, “Kids have a chance to talk about business opportunities that are right for the — finding out their gifts and talents and how they can use them in business. The class also teaches them about being a ‘kingdompreneur’ — not only using money they earn for themselves, but also to give to others.”
Carly Hillard’s Diamonds by Carly offered handmade artwork using “diamond” beads. She said they come in a kit.
“I start with a canvas and glue ‘diamonds’ on it like a paint-by-number. Once the piece is finished, it’s framed,” she said, “I’ve done a variety of pieces including landscapes, flowers and animals.”
With her business, Autumn’s Dreams, Autumn Mellinger offered fabric and paper jewelry creations. Some of the necklaces and bracelets were crocheted, while others were crafted from recycled paper — brochures from local businesses and flyers from her school’s (Lancaster County Christian School) production of “Peter Pan Jr.” She explained that the paper was cut into triangles, which were wrapped around a roller to form ‘beads,’ then an acrylic hardener was applied to make them water resistant, and the beads were strung together to form a bracelet or necklace.
She said 15% of her sales will be donated to Hope International.
“We visited Hope International in school, and I liked their outreach programs, so I’d like to help them,” Mellinger said.
Amanda Marie Zook and her Amanda Marie Illustrations offered wood-burned pieces including artwork and decorative wooden spoons. She’s also the author and illustrator of a children’s book, “Herman’s Voice.”
“This is a good opportunity to showcase both the book and my artwork,” Zook said.
The book is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble as well as at the expo. However she said $1 from sales at the expo only will be donated to Food for the Hungry, a Christian relief organization.
Luke Sangrey and his cousin, Chris Miller, teamed up to form Free Range Woodworking. Sangrey said they learned woodworking skills from their dads. They use those skills to create wooden shelves, hat and key hangers, and other wood-inspired creations. A portion of their sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society; Sangrey’s grandmother lost her battled with cancer and passed away earlier this year.
“I want to help other people who are dealing with cancer,” he said.
The thought of raising funds to donate to her church’s (Grace Community Church) expansion project spurred Zipporah McGowan to craft donut-shaped handwarmers and stress relievers.
“My parents received a letter from the church asking them to donate to the expansion fund, and I thought I could make a contribution, too. My mom taught me how to sew, and I like to do it, so I do something I like to do and earn money, some of which I’m donating to the church,” she said about the reason behind the business she calls Fun for Everyone.
Keturah Jackson’s booth featured luscious-looking baked goods, including cupcakes, brownies, cream puffs and petit fours. She said she chose those items to create a tea party theme; the brownies were included because everyone loves brownies.
“I love baking. I learned from my mom; my grandpa had his own baked goods shop — that’s how my mom learned how to bake,” Jackson explained, adding that funds from her sales would be donated to Joni & Friends, a Christian organization focused on outreach to people with disabilities.
Zook said that kids who participated in the church’s KidMin class are not required to be part of the expo, nor is taking the class a requirement for participating in the expo.
“We do have a pre-expo event, a warm-up party, for expo participants and their families. During the class kids learn about marketing themselves and their product, but we also talk about that in the pre-expo event,” she said.
During the warm-up party, expo participants learned how to present themselves, market their products, talk to people who stop at their booth, and ensure ongoing sales opportunities (often with business cards or contact information).
“They’re really learning lessons that they’ll use throughout their life,” Zook said.
In addition to showcasing and selling their wares, the kingdompreneurs were also judged on their efforts. Zook said judges awarded prizes for best customer service, highest business potential, and best promotion/creativity; and the prizes were awarded in each of two different age groups: 8 to 11-year-olds, and 12 to 17-year-olds.
Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.
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