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Students create products to benefit Africa Bridge, a local nonprofit organization

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Kierra Kuehn, left, sells some of her fluffy yard balls with help from Georgia Santos.Lines of students holding bags of change and small bills filled the covered area outside of Stafford Primary near the playground Friday, May 25.

These eager children were waiting to purchase crafts or food made by students at the school's annual Marketplace event that empowers third-graders to make a difference through service and gain business, marketing and communication skills by creating and selling a product.

Items sold during Marketplace cost between $1 and $5, with proceeds going directly to Africa Bridge — a local nonprofit organization that works to improve and build schools in Tanzania by providing start-up capital, education and training resources to families.

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Elife Okerstrom displays one of her squishy creations.Bianca Valdes crafted wire photo holders with a painted rock at the base and beads on the stem of the wire for decor.

"I made them first for my friends and (it can) hold pictures of your best friend, your family and I thought they're really fun to make," said Valdes, adding that her wire photo holders are special because each might mean something very important to families or friends.

In the end, students raised $2,897, more than double last year's amount.

Through donations to Africa Bridge, $50 can pay for a year's worth of school supplies so a child can attend primary school, or can provide veterinary care to help keep livestock co-ops healthy. A $150 donation can pay for fees and supplies to send a student to secondary school for a year, and up to $10,000 can build a classroom.

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Olivia Burgen arranges her assortment of squishy creations for sale.Every Friday morning for the last five weeks, students have been learning marketing techniques, creating a product to sell, learning how to price products, and learning about Africa Bridge and the ways students at Stafford can help.

Elizabeth Orth, one of the moms who helped organize the event this year, said her daughter decided to offer facepainting for students.

"We've been practicing," Orth said. "She's got three brothers; we've been tattin' them all over."

Before the Marketplace event, Orth said her daughter painted the Oregon State University symbol and a baseball on her first-grade brother to market her craft.

Other items sold included baked goods, bath bombs, stress balls and slime.

"Slime is all the rage," Orth said.

Kaia Matthias and Mia Rucker made bath bombs out of coconut oil and lanterns with holes poked in the side of the can to reflect different shapes on the wall when the candle is lit.

TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Jack Taylor, right, rings up another sale of his beaded key chains."It was very hard and very messy (but) they work very well," said Matthias about the different-sized bath bombs. "I thought it'd be cool because if you're having a bath with these you can turn off the lights and just have (the lantern) shine on the wall."

Ryan Yip painted small rocks to look like cacti and placed them in tiny pots.

"They're cute," he said, adding that it was important to participate at the Marketplace event because it allows the community to donate money to Africa Bridge so people in Africa can have money for schools.

Orth sees Marketplace as a way students can learn real-life and business skills.

"The real-life business aspect has been cool to see them figure it out from a third-grade perspective," Orth said. "They're learning some real-life experience, but also learning how to do something that's pretty much all for someone else. It's been really cool to see their hearts change the last five weeks."

West Linn Tidings reporter Clara Howell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-636-1281.TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Morgan Christiansen work on a face painting of Houston Lillard.


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