21 Dec, 2020
10 : 00
It all started innocently enough with a serious craving for chocolate cake. Year 12 students, Vera Parco, Stella Snider-Hickey, Chenan Li, Alice Zhou, Emmie Sandifer-Stench and Suri Son, decided to do something about it.
Things quickly snowballed after that and, presto, we had a Christmas Bake Sale, on December 17-18 to support the Bread of Life Bakery. Enterprising students can make things happen.
According to Stella, one of the organisers, they were recalling Emmie’s delicious chocolate birthday cake that they all had thoroughly enjoyed a week before. The girls asked Emmie where she purchased it. The chocolate trail led them to Bread of Life – a social enterprise that holds a special place in the hearts of Emmie’s family. They have been loyal customers since the move to Beijing several years ago.
Baking a Bright Future for OrphansLocated in neighbouring Hebei province, Bread of Life not only satisfies patrons’ sugar cravings, but also serves the community through donations made to a local orphanage that cares for disabled children. The bakery includes on its staff several youngsters from the orphanage.
During their CAS (Community, Activity & Service) class the students got talking. “We were really intrigued and thought it would be a great idea [to involve Bread for Life],” says Stella. With the Thanksgiving holidays approaching – the initiative suddenly seemed even more relevant.
Having decided this would be the organisation they would support, they planned the logistics with suggestions from schoolmates. How many students would be willing to pay for baked goods? What should the delivery schedule be for the bakery? How would they collect funds? They clearly had their work cut out for them.
The talking and sifting through ideas made the students feel like true entrepreneurs. Said Alice, “I felt like we were in a business that we had organised ourselves. I felt like a professional.”
Once the nitty-gritty had been taken care of – including a survey of potential orders – the bake sale was underway.
The success of this initial bake sale was beyond the team’s expectations, with the proceeds from sales to secondary students amounting to Rmb7,000. “I was pretty astonished,” exclaimed Chen An. So when an opportunity arose to host another sale during the Christmas bazaar, they grabbed it willingly.
This time however, they have decided to include the primary faculty and make it an initiative for the entire school to enjoy. For the Christmas bake sale and bazaar, additional activities will be included. Upon arrival, students will get a chance to also purchase Christmas cut-out cookies to decorate, all part of the push to spread the holiday spirit.
Skill Sets and New PartnershipsIn Stella’s view, participation in initiatives such as this is crucial, not only to raise funds for the beneficiaries, but to foster organisational and collaborative skills among students.
Recognising the level of planning and detailed execution that goes into such an event, Stella and her colleagues believe this will yield dividends in future when they organise things on a larger scale.
The goal is to establish a long-lasting partnership with Bread of Life even beyond this cohort’s tenure in school. “We’re trying to build a relationship with the bakery, so that YCIS Beijing and Bread of Life can work together,” she says.
The immediate goal, however, is to increase purchases, so “start ordering from Bread of Life, for your own birthdays or desserts during the holidays,” suggests Emmie.
We can see they will soon surpass all expectations.