One Hen Financial Literacy Program Expands Nationally in Partnership with BELL
BOSTON, MA - On the heels of a successful summer school pilot in 2009 with 100 students from BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) in Boston, One Hen Inc. is expanding summer enrichment programs to over 2,000 BELL students - whom BELL recognizes as scholars - in five cities across the country: Boston, Detroit, NYC, Augusta and Baltimore.
Meanwhile the financial literacy nonprofit, which grew out of the book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway, has launched its first West Coast program with Peninsula Bridge Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.
From late June to early August, school children in elementary and middle school on both coasts will learn stories of micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries and how they have started successful small businesses. They'll study basic business math, receive small loans, create simple key-chain and jewelry businesses (complete with product development and marketing jingles), sell their wares, and then vote on how to invest their profits (after paying back their loans with a little interest) after researching community and global needs.
Results of last year's program showed the exercise fostered both confidence and compassion. Before their One Hen training, 62% of students believed they could succeed in starting a business, but after the program, 100% of students said they were confident they could be successful. Perhaps more strikingly, pre-assessments showed that only 6% of children felt favorably about donating profits to others in need, but in post-assessment 32% of students said they wanted to share their gains.
"We were genuinely impressed with the way the students' attitudes changed after participating in the One Hen program," said Tiffany Cooper Gueye, CEO of BELL. "Not only did the lessons motivate students to entrepreneurship, but they also showed them the rewards of marrying their success to giving back to their communities The overall experience built their confidence that they could succeed in school and in life."
One Hen, Inc., which became a federally recognized nonprofit in June 2009, was recently named among the top 10% of innovative start ups for social change by Echoing Green, out of 1,300 global nominees. It's curriculum is helping students to understand how business works through hands-on activities, interactive learning (see www.onehen.org) and simple stories of African, Asian and Latin American microentrepreneurs-seamstresses, fisherman, jewelry makers and more-who start with a good idea, a small loan, and the willingness to work hard and build their way out of poverty.
Said Rolando Victoria, site director for the Penisula Bridge Schools program at Menlo School, "The lessons that One Hen brings to the classroom can be life changing for our students. We are very excited to see them taking personal initiative and growing in financial responsibility and awareness of global needs. Best of all, they feel empowered to address these needs through the money they earn building their businesses."
A second One Hen enrichment program, Maria's Garden: How Kids Can Fight World Hunger, is set to launch in Fall 2010. It will replicate One Hen's micro-entrepreneurship teaching system (Kojo's Market: Microfinance for Kids), to introduce children to the concept of food security and what they can do about the global food crisis.
Said One Hen, Inc. executive director Amma Sefa-Dedeh, "It is exciting that so many students across the nation will have the opportunity this summer to engage in real-world initiatives that build skills they can use to transform their lives, their communities and even the world."
About One Hen, Inc
One Hen, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that grew out of the 2008 children's book on microfinance: One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, and the educator movement it inspired. One Hen's mission is to help children become global citizens that succeed in school and beyond and marry that success to helping others. One Hen Global Kids, a family of enrichment books and web-based resources developed by One Hen, teaches elementary school children about world issues where they can make a difference. One Hen materials cultivate values of financial responsibility, personal initiative, global awareness and giving back. The website, www.onehen.org, offers students a chance to learn through participating in interactive activities that simulate real loans to real micro-entrepreneurs from One Hen, Inc. field partner Opportunity International. One Hen, Inc.'s second curriculum, Maria's Garden and the interactive website, www.thegoodgarden.org, both based on the book The Good Garden: How One Family Went from Hunger to Having Enough, written by Katie Smith Milway, will launch this fall.
About BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality summer and after school educational programs. It is committed to transforming the academic achievements, self-confidence and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. BELL serves more than 10,000 children annually in schools throughout Augusta, GA, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, MA. BELL's corps of educators includes more than 1,000 teachers and tutors. Please visit www.experiencebell.org for more information.