$5 Challenge


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Sydney Owensby (Left) and Eillen Desmond. FFA National Convention In Louisville, Kentucky

Sydney Owensby (Left) and Eillen Desmond.
FFA National Convention In Louisville, Kentucky

Could you make a positive impact on your community with just $5? That’s the question agriculture teacher Robin Grundmeyer asked senior FFA members at Norco High School in California when she started the school’s $5 Challenge eight years ago.

The $5 Challenge is now an annual tradition for the senior class, and students look forward to it all through high school.

“I wanted to create a capstone senior project that involves service, supply and demand, and needs versus wants,” Grundmeyer says. “I had read online about a teacher doing a similar class project, so I tweaked it to incorporate community service.”

NorCo FFA $5 Challenge

Every January, Grundmeyer gives each senior FFA member the project rules and requirements with a $5 bill stapled to it. They have until April to complete the challenge either alone or in a group, and they are required to give a presentation to a panel of judges about what they did with the money. Winners receive gift cards.

“The judges are school administrators, city council members and people from our community,” Grundmeyer says. “That helps get the word out about the project.”

Students often team up in groups of four or five. They can also ask for help from community members and local businesses.

“One year, some students put on a carnival in our school parking lot, and they donated all the money they raised to the local animal shelter,” Grundmeyer says. “Kids have sold carnations at school to support the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. One student made and sold hair bows to support the Wounded Warrior Project. A lot of kids get additional donations, and one girl donated her money to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in memory of her aunt.”

The possibilities are endless, and the results have been impressive. In 2015, 42 students turned $210 of seed money into more than $1,200, which was donated to various community organizations and charities. They also donated more than 500 hours of their time to the community.


Snow Cone Anyone?

Diane Vavala, a recent graduate of Norco High School, completed the $5 Challenge in spring 2015.

“We formed a group of 10 students, so we had $50 to start with,” Diane says. “It was really hot outside, so we decided to rent a snow cone machine and sell snow cones for $1 at lunch. We did it over three days, and we made more than $300.”

The students sold snow cones in several flavors, including blue raspberry, sour apple, cotton candy and bubble gum.

“We had kids lining up to buy them,” Diane says. “It was so successful that we rented out the snow cone machine a second time to see how much more money we could raise.”

What could you do to benefit our community with 5 bucks?  Which ideas in the article do you think would work here, why or why not?  What changes would you make to the rules of the project?  Tell me all about it on your blog.  Your post is due Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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