What can be better than a fruity cold popsicle on a hot summer day? The answer to this question is a popsicle or paleta that helps young people from the community to learn about business while fundraising to pay for their class trip.
By now probably many residents of the Quad Cities are familiar with the EM Paletero Project from last year now rebranded The East Moline Paletera Project. Last year it was the first year when two Glenview students participated in this business opportunity. It is not a project to be taken lightly. It requires students to be serious and dedicated to work. This project also teaches many valuable skills that will be useful to the participants in their future endeavors. The Paletera Project runs all summer and participants go to various community events to sell paletas (Mexican style popsicle). The funds they will collect from sales will be used for their 8th-grade class summer DC/NYC trip.
“The purpose of the project has been to help two Glenview Middle School 8th-grade students to earn funds needs to pay for their 8th grade DC/NYC trip,” Margarita Mojica, the person in charge of this project, explained. “These are students who otherwise would not be able to afford the trip. The students we have worked with are driven and determined to see the project succeed.”
She also added that the Paletera Project teaches the two student participants about what it takes to run a business and ways to communicate with the community.
“The business teaches students about entrepreneurship as well as self-confidence, leadership and helps build a strong work ethic,” Ms. Mojica listed the advantages that students get from participating in the Paletera Project.
Even though this project is just entering its second year, Ms. Mojica announced that she will not be overseeing it next year.
“I am looking forward to passing the project onto another person or organization in the QC,” Ms. Mojica stated. “This is summer-only project because it is time-consuming with start-up business meetings and sales dates. Paletas sell best during summertime.”
While Ms. Mojica hopes the Paletera Project will find a new person who will be able to take over it and guide two new participants next year, she also shared about this year’s participants and changes that are going to make this project even better.
This year’s participants are 8th graders Gabriella A. and Jessica M. Also, Lupe C., Debora M., Beyonce G., and Sofia M. are the high school seniors who will be part of the Paletera Project this year, 3 of them are first generation college bound.
“They are volunteering their time to help guide the middle school girls,” Ms. Mojica explained. “Along the way they are learning about business and leadership.”
Many media outlets dubbed this year as a year of the woman. Women and girls all over the country are coming out to support each other and causes that are dear to them. There is no better way to celebrate females than the business opportunity that involves girls.
“This summer’s all girls crew honors the 100-year anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment by Congress in June 4, 1919,” Ms. Mojica explained how this year’s Paletera Project is a perfect way to celebrate the year of the woman.
While this is a great way to honor the women and girls in 2019, unfortunately, this year the project is kicking of pretty late in the summer.
“We had planned to launch the business during the first week of June this summer,” Ms. Mojica shared. “However, the theft of the original Paletero trike caused the delay. Most of it was recovered (not the umbrella or freezer) but it was in bad shape. The original trike is being repaired. We do have two other trikes that will be used to sell water and Mexican cokes this summer.”
While the girls are facing some obstacles, they are not about to give up on this. The 8th graders set up the goal of raising $1400 each and additional $200 for traveling essentials. The high school girls are taking on the Paletera Project to help the younger girls and along the way learn important lessons about leadership that would be helpful to them in the future no matter where it takes them.
“There will be a soft opening on July 2, from 5pm-7pm in the outside patio area of Country Style Ice Cream store, 4115 Kennedy Drive in East Moline,” Ms. Mojica shared the locations where the girls will be selling paletas, inviting the community to support the Paletera Project. “The official kick-off will be at the July 4th East Moline Parade. Girls will then sell at the Sunday Summer Concert Series at Runners Park in East Moline from 4pm-8pm. They will occasionally sell on Fridays at Mercado in Moline.”
Ms. Mojica mentioned that the girls will also sell a limited number of T-shirts to support the Paletera Project.
“All the funds from paletas, water, coca-colas, and T-shirts will go towards the cost of sending Gabriella and Jessica on the DC/NYC trip,” Ms. Mojica said. “Any extra money will be used as scholarship money for the 3 high school volunteers who are also first-generation college-bound in their families.”
Ms. Mojica further explained that the Paletera Project will wrap up this year’s season in mid-September. Their last sales date will be during the Mexican Independence Day parade in East Moline. For updated information about where community members can find the girls selling paletas please follow the East Moline Paletera Project: D.C. Bound Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
“We humbly ask the community once again to support the all girls crew of the EM Paletera Project this summer,” Ms. Mojica asked the Quad Cities residents. “100% of profits from every T-Shirt, paleta, water and Mexican cokes sales goes to helping youth working on the project this summer. The girls also have an account at IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union for those who would rather help with a donation. Their account is the EM Paletero Project: DC Bound.
While summer usually means fun in the sun for most young people, the participants of the EM Paletera Project are planning to do more than just sit by the pool all summer. The girls are gearing up to learn a little about the inner works of running a business and taking on a leadership role in the community. Of course, they cannot do this without the support of the Quad Cities community.
“One of the best parts of the EM Paletera Project is witnessing the progress that is made towards their goal,” Ms. Mojica invites residents of the Quad Cities to look favorably on this year’s all girls crew of the EM Paletera Project. “The journey/story and progress will all be posted and updated on social media so please join and begin following their story.”