Among the casualties of COVID-19 was McMurray Elementary School’s annual spring Entrepreneur Fair, and its cancellation meant a lot of students’ preparation ended up going for naught.
Caleb Vizza and Brady Holleran, McMurray sixth-graders at the time, decided to keep their entrepreneurial project in business, for a good cause.
The fair is the culminating activity of a program supported by Junior Achievement that encourages youngsters to create their own small businesses and sell their products, with all proceeds going to charities of their choice.
Brady and Caleb started “PT Sticker Rocks” to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, continuing their endeavors after schools in Peters Township and beyond closed in mid-March.
“We wanted to keep this going because even though the coronavirus is still going on, the kids who want to make their wishes, they can still look forward to it,” Caleb said.
The boys decorated rocks with words and images promoting kindness and encouragement, and then sold them. In fact, they sold out of them.
“Caleb had the idea of having the messages on the rocks, and he has been doing that in previous years,” Brady said. “And I had the idea of bringing stickers into it and adding the theme. It just kind of clicked together.”
They had to make some adjustments because of COVID-19 limitations, such as collaborating remotely, providing socially distanced delivery and pickup, and focusing on online sales through social media and offering electronic payments, through parental accounts.
In doing so, Caleb and Brady have learned firsthand about how small businesses are adapting their own practices to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
And all the while, Make-A-Wish is on the receiving end of the boys’ efforts.
“This organization makes such a difference in a child’s medical journey and was a driving factor in their decision to continue the project,” Gwen Vizza, Caleb’s mother, said. “It was important to them, that even during this time, many children are fighting their illness with the hope and eagerness to see their wish fulfilled.”