MINGO JUNCTION - Sometimes all it takes is something a little sweet to help out in a big way.
That seems to be the philosophy of Kids Inc., the once-a-year business ran by Hills Elementary School teacher Janet Maxon and her fourth-grade pupils.
Their creation this year after two months of work was called "Dipped Delights," which were cinnamon and honey graham cracker sticks dipped in butter cream frosting and covered in sprinkles.
WORKING TOGETHER — Fourth-graders Kaleigh Turner and Evan Jones on Wednesday prepared “Dipped Delights,” which are cinnamon and honey graham cracker sticks dipped in butter cream frosting and covered in sprinkles, as part of their Kids Inc. business. Teacher Janet Maxon said this is the 11th year fourth-graders at the school have created the business and all proceeds are donated back to the community, with the profits this year being given to Justin Cummings, an Indian Creek High School student injured in an accident in February, and his family. -- Jeremy Kins
This year Maxon said she and her kids celebrated their 11th year of business, and all proceeds are donated back to the community to help in some way. The business has raised $22,300 in its 11 years.
"We raised $3,000 of that just last year and we were only open two weeks. It's amazing," said Maxon.
In the past they have donated to the Fourth Street Health Center, Habitat for Humanity, the United Way of Jefferson County and more, and this year the pupils will donate the proceeds to Justin Cummings and his family. Cummings is an Indian Creek High School, and former Hills Elementary, student who was injured in an accident in February.
In addition, a $500 scholarship will be awarded to one graduating senior from Indian Creek High School who attended Hills Elementary and completed the Kids Inc. program.
"We give to everywhere we can and we make sure the money stays close to home," said Maxon. "My kids 11 years ago said they wanted to start a business and we just got into it from there.
"We made $1,000 our first year and we gave it to local students diagnosed with cancer. This program teaches pupils how to run a business and how important local business is. It's good to give back," said Maxon.
The pupils build the business from the ground up and this year they came up with the sweet snack to take on the go. Pupils run the business with the help of investors - community members the kids find themselves to donate money to their business. Maxon said that it takes $650 dollars just to "open" the business.
"They are 9 years old and they're going out and getting investors. We have hundreds of investors," said Maxon.
Pupils from pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade were able to purchase the treats last week for $1 per box, and Maxon said the company threw in a few new ideas this year.
"This year, after school, parents can drive up to the front of the school and buy them. We have a table set up out there. We also put a golden ticket in each batch," said Maxon, adding that if a golden ticket is found the next purchase is buy-one-get-one free.
Pupils also had the option to send a batch of the treats to any student in a school with a personalized message. In addition, Kids Inc. offered gluten- and sugar-free varieties.
The pupils on Friday will present Cummings and the scholarship winner with the money raised at 1 p.m. during their "Helping Hands Celebration" in the gymnasium.
Maxon also mentioned that if the pupils reach a goal of $2,000, that pupils were able to decide what they want their teacher to do during the celebration.
"Last year the pupils had us perform the Michael Jackson 'Thriller' dance. This year, if they reach their goal, I'll be dyeing my hair into rainbow colors and the teachers will be dancing to music from the '70s and '80s," said Maxon.