Chamber receives grant for education initiative
by Matt Shinall
Jan 24, 2012 | 1643 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Starting kids early with an education in microeconomics, the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce is looking to start a new initiative reaching students in local schools.

Aiming to educate students in grades kindergarten through third, the chamber will distribute activity sheets teaching the effects of consumers within a given location. The Buy Bartow-Work Bartow campaign was begun last year to encourage local spending to support local businesses and return tax dollars to local government.

This project is being carried out not only for students but also by students with help from Bartow Youth Leadership, Cass High School's advanced marketing class and Kennesaw State University's Students In Free Enterprise.

"We received a $2,000 grant through the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce] and [KSU SIFE] to implement a program in the community and this is what we chose to do, to go around and educate K through third in all the schools -- private, we're going to go to Trinity and Excel; all 12 county elementary schools; and then the city ones as well," said Leslie McMillan, chamber vice president of government and community development. "Their parents are probably employed here in Bartow County and they're getting a wage from their employer. If they turn around and spend that locally then that will go back into the local revenue stream and help with schools and roads and things of that nature."

Youth Leadership students will be taking the lead in designing an educational program to complement the activity sheets. The sheets themselves will ask kids to visit participating businesses for a stamp, those collecting all the stamps will win an award and will be entered to win further prizes. No purchases will be required and participation will be voluntary.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the kids to get more involved in their community and find out what businesses are in their area and for us to make a connection with the community," said Lisa Laub, director of marketing for Health Caring Clinic. "I just think the chamber offers so many great opportunities for us to connect with the community and this is really just a way for us to give back to them as well."

The Health Caring Clinic, 491 E. Main St. in Cartersville, is one of the local companies joining the initiative to educate students about the importance of shopping locally.

"We're going to pass it out to about 5,000 kids K through third and the businesses engaged pay us $200 just to offset the printing of 5,000 cardstock activity sheets," McMillan said. "We're just trying to put it into a kid's language so that when the kid wants to go out of town to the movies or what not, we try to make them stay here and turn it over in Bartow County tax dollars and make sure that they know it's coming back to their school and they're benefiting from it."

The program has yet to be approved by the respective school boards but if approved, the program is tentatively planned to start in February or March, lasting six to eight weeks.

"There really is no end to the project because hopefully with your education you'll take your knowledge with you. But as far as getting game boards back into your teacher, we're looking at the end of April," McMillan said

For more information on the program or to become a sponsoring business, contact McMillan by noon on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 770-382-1466 or by email at leslie@cartersvillechamber.com.