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Lone Tree kids host annual bazaar

Funds raised by the students go to charity

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Students at Lone Tree Elementary took time out of their busy learning schedules to do a little holiday shopping, at the school's fifth annual Be the Difference Bazaar. Each year, third-graders at the school get a lesson in charity, as well as economics, marketing and customer service.

Third-graders present the bazaar, at which they sell items they made themselves. Students break into groups and decide what they will make, then get a loan from the teachers to buy supplies. They learn how to budget for their project, how to promote it and how to provide good customer service. The students sell their items at the bazaar, and after repaying their loan, they donate the rest to local charities.

“We try to pull in entrepreneurism,” said Lorri Hodges, one of three third-grade teachers who organize the bazaar each year. “The kids have to pay back the loan, they have to make their own shift schedules during the bazaar, so each one has time to go shop. They have to count change and really provide good service.”

Student Sami Khanavabian, 9, and her group decided to make Birdie Bowls — wooden bowls designed for year-round use.

“We did bird bowls so they can eat all year long” Sami said.

“We made dog treats, and they're all natural. You could eat them,” said Sydney Wolff, 8. A parent did taste the treat and declared it OK.

“My dog liked them,” said fellow entrepreneur Brooke Vantatenhove.

Victor Amari, 8, peddled Kindness Keychains at the bazaar. He assisted customers by recommending the keychain based on the design on each chain. Customer service was his goal. The keychains sold well and Victor and his group will donate their funds to the Ronald McDonald House.

Andrew Hagen, 8, and his group tie-dyed socks, and sold the Rockin' Rainbow socks at the bazaar. Their proceeds will go to A Precious Child.

Most of the young vendors were confident they could repay their loan and have money left to donate to charity.

“We made Be The Change Bags out of tie-dyed shirts,” said Nora Shody, 8. “We want to help people and we don't want to waste. I think we'll be able to pay back the loan.”

The bazaar has brought in more than $14,000 during the last five years, and donations have been made to Denver Dumb Friends League, Denver Fisher House, Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Ronald McDonald House, Fresh Harvest Food Bank, Lone Tree Police Department Victims Unit and A Precious Child.

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