COLUMBIA — A dozen fifth-graders at Shepard Boulevard Elementary School sold homemade bows, headbands and other goods this week that were so popular the girls raised nearly $1,000 for neonatal care.
They made bows, wallets, earrings and headbands out of everyday products such as duct tape, yarn, T-shirts and bobby pins. The items were sold for $1 to $3 to schoolmates, parents, teachers and staff.
The girls brainstormed the idea three weeks ago and turned to Google to find patterns for the goods.
They used duct tape to make wallets in multiple colors and patterns including camouflage for boys. They braided strips of T-shirts around elastic to make headbands and turned silver duct tape into bows attached to bobby pins.
The girls announced their sale at a school assembly and set up a table in the hallway last Monday. Customers began to line up almost immediately.
"By day three, we were jumping up and down," said Rylee Nichols, 10, one of the girls involved with the project.
They had set a goal of $100 for the week and ended up raising almost 1o times that amount. The money will be donated to help premature babies at Boone Hospital Center.
"We know they're trying to stay alive. It's hard to get machines because they're expensive," Rylee said.
Principal Jacquie Ward helped the group put together a strategy. Ward said she was impressed by the group's organization and motivation.
"They had the idea three weeks ago and they had to approach me with it," she said. "They made their own ad posters. We just had to work through the details. I couldn't say no."
The girls have started a trend at the school by inspiring their fellow students to start creating their own fundraisers, Ward said.1
"It's going to be unstoppable," Ward said. "When kids think out of their own needs, it's so powerful. It's inspiring."
The group included Rylee Nichols, Emma Goodlet, Daniela Calle, Megan Pilant, Sydney Jones, Kaitlyn Collier, Brooke Painter, Madison Marks, Amy Rivera-Monier and Christina Ingram.
They hope to continue their fundraising efforts and use the profits to help other charities.
Rylee hopes to send the story to the Disney Channel's "Make Your Mark" segment, which highlights kids trying to change the world.