Dog Adoption Day - A Project of 4th-Graders By Galit Zamler
Dog Adoption Day - a project of fourth-graders kid entrepreneurs from the Mordei HaGeta'ot school in Ramat Gan. The children established a social venture in the school to help find a warm home for abandoned dogs.
This page describes the steps in the process of establishing the venture from the concept to its successful realization.
The whole process was done as part of the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program which was taught at school as an enrichment program.
Forming an Entrepreneurial Group
In the Mordei HaGetaot school in Ramat Gan there are three fourth grades.
All the three classes attended the first three sessions of the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program.
This introduction to the program helped the students decide whether they would like to continue to participate in the full program and at the end set up a project.
The students' response was extremely high, but the number of participating students was limited in advance to 17. This was done to enable each young entrepreneur to express himself/herself during the program meetings.
Raising Ideas for Projects
Alongside studying the modules of the EFK program, the entrepreneurial team was asked to come up with ideas for ventures as far as they could imagine.
At first, the number of ideas were very limited, but the more students felt freer, the more ideas for projects came up. Eventually, it seemed like the flow of ideas suggested by children wouldn't stop.
Getting Approval From The School Director
The ideas were put on one list, which was passed on to the approval of the school a principal, Ronni Shasha.
Ronni approved and rejected project ideas according to her discretion, and the entrepreneurial students were given back a list of the approved ideas:
- Establishing a cafeteria at the school
- Classes day under the guidance of school students
- Cooking class at school
- A day that pupils can adopt abandoned dogs
- Setting up an agricultural garden at school
- Building a bicycle lock facility
- Establishing a cinema at the school
- Organizing sale days of second-hand toys at school
- Planting plants in pots and selling them
- Assigning a room in the school where students could play board games
- Day of role exchange between teachers and students
- Establishing a place in the schoolyard for a buffet
Prioritization and Focusing on One Idea
The process of choosing the team's favorite project was followed by brainstorming and then voting.
Here are the results of the vote, according to a report by Shirley Ben-Yaakov, the science teacher and the EFK program coordinator at the school:
Last Friday morning there was a charming and very forthright meeting - where students reached decisions on the approved ideas.
Six students want to promote the idea of finding a warm home for dogs.
Five students want to promote the idea of establishing an outdoor dining area.
Three other students chose two other ideas - the idea of exchanging roles and the idea of an agricultural garden, but were willing to join the above two ideas.
Two students were missing and one student chose to join whatever project wins.
I asked the students to think about the ideas in terms of the business plan, which we learned about in the meetings with Galit. I also suggested them to go over the summaries of the meetings.
The students are excited and are looking forward to next Friday to start working on one of the ideas.
Have a great week everyone,
These are the four ideas that came to the final stage:
The young entrepreneurs have learned that to succeed in realization of a project, they should focus on one project at a time.
This insight led to a discussion among the students about the various projects, and they raised arguments for each project idea.
At the end of this phase, one project was choosen to be implemented during this school year: Organizing a Dog Adoption Day.
Another idea of establishing a seating place in the schoolyard, that will serve students when eating breakfast, was postponed at this stage for the next school year.
The social venture that takes care of abandoned dogs was chosen for two main reasons:
- Such a project has not been done in schools yet.
- All students participating in the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program love animals and dogs.
Most young entrepreneurs first heard the term "business plan" during the entrepreneurial program. They all thought that in their venture there was no need for a business plan, and that a business plan was a matter for adults only.
However, after two sessions that dealt with this topic and the importance of the business plan for the success of the venture, the students realized that as a preliminary stage for realizing their venture, they should prepare a business plan.
Project Goals (Vision)
Finding a home for dogs in need of adoption
Each one formulated the idea for the venture separately, and at the meeting in the classroom, the venture was defined jointly.
Needs the Dog Adoption Day Project Will Fulfill
- Dogs need to find a home
- A lot of kids want to raise a pet
- Parents need to teach their children about responsibility
- The need to help families searching for a dog to adopt
- The need to save money on buying a dog
Who are We and Why can We Will Succeed?
- We participate in the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program
- We can succeed because we are working as a team
- We have the principal's approval and help from the school staff
- We can do a market survey
- We are target oriented and want to succeed
In this session, the students also learned about the SWOT model and discuss its various sections regarding their venture.
After the students checked and learned from various associations about dog adoption days, the entrepreneurial team defined what success was for him: adopting at least 2 dogs.
Added Values of the Venture:
The message conveyed to the students is that measuring the success of the project in terms of the number of dogs that they expected be adopted was correct and important, but for the process of establishing the venture, there are other related results such as:
- A new experience for the student entrepreneurs in terms planning, executing, and marketing.
- Raising awareness of the need to find a warm home for dogs.
- A better acquaintance between the students participating in the project, who learn in three different classes in the school.
The formula for calculating the market size of the social project was set as:
About 800 school students and their families.
Plus teachers and other school staff.
Minus 200 students that are from the same family.
Minus the number of students who already have a dog.
Minus the number of students that have someone in their family who is allergic to dogs.
Minus the students whose parents are strongly opposed to adopting a dog.
Israeli non-profit organizations for animal rescue and also animal shops in the area, were defined as project competitors.
The cake recipe is actually a step by step action plan on how to realize a successful venture.
The students brainstormed everything they thought needed to succeed with the venture.
Many questions were also asked, and in order to answer them, the students had to do some research.
Shirley Ben-Yaakov, the coordinator of the program, wrote down what was defined as an "Action plan - Phase A"- examine the feasibility of implementing the project and determine its chances of success.
Young Entrepreneurs Plan - 4thth Graders
Action Plan - Phase I
After meetings, discussions, and approval we received from principal Ronni for a few ideas, the young entrepreneurs chose to promote and lead a social enterprise of a adopting abandoned dogs that will be brought to school.
The first step is to conduct a survey in the school classrooms to decide on the viability of the project.
Planning the first phase:
1. Planning and conducting this survey.
2. Dividing the young entrepreneurs into eight groups. Each group is responsible for conducting the survey at one age group.
3. The young entrepreneurs will be trained on how to present the survey:
A brief introduction about who they are.
What is the plan?
The importance of the project.
The importance of providing credible and honest answers.
4. Presenting the survey in classrooms by the young entrepreneurs orally, to save paper, as well as the convenience of data collection. We propose to conduct the survey on Friday, Sunday and Monday, at the first hour.
5. Collecting data and drawing conclusions about continuing the project."
It was clear that the survey should be short and with closed answers so that it could be easily done and students' votes would be counted immediately.
The survey questions:
Entrepreneurship program for kids - 4th graders
A survey for the dog adoption day at school
The survey is intended for all students in the school and will be conducted orally by young entrepreneurs (students from the school).
The students formed teams and moved between classrooms and carried out the survey.
The survey was conducted orally and by vote, knowing that results may be biased due to peer pressure. This is addressed later in the project planning.
The young entrepreneurs gathered all the survey results and counted the votes.
The students wrote the results on a page in preparation for a meeting with the school principal.
Have a dog in their house - 99
Want to adopt and take care - 272
Think their parents would agree to adopt and pay - 104
They will come to the adoption day with their parents - 188
Almost 300 students are interested in adopting dogs and spending time with them.
Nearly 200 have declared they will come with their parents to the adoption day.
More than 100 think their parents would agree to adopt and to pay.
On the adoption day, we will try to find a home for 15 dogs, and the survey results indicate that we should try.
Go / No Go
A decision regarding the continuation of the project:
The survey results taught the young entrepreneurs that they should try and implement the project since there is a willingness among school students to come to adoption day with their parents and adopt a dog.
Contacting Association for Dogs in Need of Adoption
A necessary condition for the success of the project was to bring dogs in need of adoption to the school.
At this point, the young entrepreneurs got help from the staff accompanying the program.
They turned to a number of known associations that care for dogs that need a home to adopt them.
But it turned out that taking dogs outside the pens is not a simple matter:
Some of the associations do not have suitable vehicles.
At other nonprofits, the dogs stay in volunteer homes throughout the week and it's too much trouble to ask everyone to come to school on a particular day and time.
And some of the organizations have an experience that has proven such adoption days are doomed to failure and their whole purpose is to entertain the children.
At each stage, the entrepreneur students were updated about applying to the associations and their responses. They entrepreneurs even offered coping strategies to persuade them to cooperate.
Another search on the Internet led us to the great Israeli man Geva Zin from Geva Kennels.
It was agreed that Geva would bring 15 dogs and sned us the pictures and details of each dog, so we would be able to market them to the school students before the adoption day.
The decision for the place of the project
In the schoolyard, there are a number of open areas, and the young entrepreneurs were uncertain about what would be the most appropriate place to hold the adoption event.
They knew that the area must meet the following needs:
- The area should be big enough to allow anyone coming, walking around between the dogs, and not too large to allow control.
- A place that allows dogs to be leashed along the fence with enough spaces between them.
- The place should be at the entrance of the school, so everyone who comes will be exposed to the adoption day.
- Near the area, outside the school, there is a parking space that will fit the vehicale with which the dogs will arrive.
- The place should have a fence around it, so the number of visitors can be controlled at any given moment.
Passing the marketing plan
The students decided to continue working on the project and learned about the importance of the entrepreneur's marketing plan and how to market in different ways.
Every creative idea and practical marketing initiative were welcomed, and the entrepreneur students have revealed terrific creativity.
At the meeting, the entrepreneurs learned about the importance of creating consistent marketing messages, and together they formulated these messages, which they wrote on various marketing accessories.
When the young entrepreneurs were ready with their business plan and had a marketing plan, they asked to meet with the school principal, Ronni Shasha, to present the action plan, arrange a time for the event at school, and get answers to several questions that were raised during the formulation of the plan.
For the meeting, the students planned who would present what, so that the meeting would achieve its goals and be effective.
This is the letter the representatives brought to the meeting with the school's principal;
To Ronni Shasha:
Subject: Future Plan
1. Our plan is to hold an adoption day at school.
a. The adoption day will take place on the first two hours of Friday. Fifteen dogs will come for adoption, and some of them will be puppies.
b. Only students whose parents come will be able to adopt a dog.
c. The dogs will be tied to a fence in the yard next to the guard. Next to each dog will be a representative of the entrepreneurs who can provide details.
d. There will also be a stand of equipment that Geva will sell at cost.
2. To promote dog adoption day, we want to advertise in the following ways:
a. Flyers with exact details on the adoption day.
b. Posters - The posters will have details on the adoption day.
We want to know where can we hang the posters?
Two weeks before the date of adoption, we will post pictures of the dogs for adoption.
We would like to know whether the date of August 6th, 2012 is suitable?
We would be pleased if you could confirm this program.
Thank you on behalf of the entrepreneurship program.
After the meeting, an agreed date for the adoption day was set: June 1st, 2012 - a Friday during the first two hours of the school day.
Once receiving the green light from the school principal, the entrepreneurial team began extensive marketing activities aimed at encouraging students to reach their parents about the possibility of adopting a dog.
These marketing activities included:
Hanging signs that were prepared by the student entrepreneurs around the school, so that every student in the school would be exposed to the enterprise.
On the door of every grade in school the entrepreneur students hung a bulletin to announce to all schoolchildren about the existence of an adoption day.
An email newsletter was also distributed to students and their parents - so that E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y would know about the venture.
Photos and detail of the dogs were printed and concentrated in one place, so that every child who wanted a dog could read well in advance and decide who they would want to adopt and see if they could get their parents interested.
The entrepreneurial team organized marketing activities and came prepared with different colored strips of paper, markers, staplers, and more.
This marketing initiative of entrepreneurs received a lot of support among school students, who had prepared a bracelet for themselves with a slogan they came up with that encourages the adoption of dogs.
To attract the attention of school children to the stand, the young entrepreneurs played a trumpet they brought with them.
Taking the project into action - Children adopt dogs at Mordei HaGetaot school
On Friday, June 1st, 2012 the entrepreneurial team arrived, as did the participants' of Entrepreneurship for Kids Program, early in the morning before students arrived at school.
In order to create a sense of entrepreneurial team, the entrepreneur students wore white shirts and long jeans. They all received a white cap and a badge that hung around their necks.
Even Geva Zin from Geva Kennels came early with a man who helped him on adoption day. Both dropped the dogs out of the car and led them into the school yard.
In the school yard, the dogs were tied up along the fence. The children were able to identify the dogs as they had received in advance the dogs' pictures and details so the children themselves teamed up with the dogs they were interested in adopting on the day.
In this presentation, here are the dogs' pictures and their details:
The excitement of the students and the school staff was already huge with the first bark.
Within a short time, parents and students came to school, entered the compound of adoption, walked among the dogs and received information about the dogs they were interested in from the entrepreneurial team.
When they heard the ringtone, each grade came down to the schools' adoption compound, which was neatly organized and planned in advance, for fifteen minutes, and students whose parents came and were seriously considering adopting a dog joined them.
When the first dog, Putch, was adopted by a school student, the joy among the entrepreneur kids was big. They felt a great sense of accomplishment and anticipation for another dog to be adopted so they could meet the target they'd set for success.
Not long after, Putcha, was adopted as well. The young entrepreneurs shared the news among themselves while continuing to advertise the remaining dogs, and the excitement of their project's success was clear.
At the end of the adoption day, Terry, who was featured on the adoption day fliers, was adopted.
The father of one of the child entrepreneurs, who came to see his son in action, helped to find a home for Gali.
Four dogs in all were adopted, thanks to the students' adoption day project. The students considered the day as a considerable success.
Here is a short film produced at the end of the adoption day.
A closing session was held a week later, in which the students watched for the first time a video of their project.
A meeting was held for a discussion on the following questions:
Was the project successful or not? And why?
How did you feel before, during, and after the project day?
Did the business plan help? If so, how?
Was there a need for collaboration (teamwork) and with whom?
What was the most stressful?
Did you have to improvise on the adoption day?
What lessons can we conclude in retrospect?
At the end of the meeting, the young entrepreneurs received a certificate for their participation at the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program and for executing the social project that took care of abandoned dogs.
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