Students who come to school without the proper school supplies is a big problem when it comes to educating our youth. There are over 14 million students living in poverty and the fact is, when a family doesn't have enough money for food, buying school supplies seems insignificant. We believe that many people would like to help, but they just don't know how or where to start.
The average public school teacher ends up spending $300-$500 of their own money on school supplies for their classrooms and students.
MeForYou's primary goal is help tackle that problem by selling good quality, fashionable backpacks on a buy one, get one model. Actually, our tagline is Buy One. Bless One. What does that mean? For each backpack we sell, we are going to donate a backpack full of school supplies to another student in need in and around the community it was purchased.
MeForYou will also be a business primarily run by youth. We want to provide volunteer and, in the future, employment opportunities to students in our community at a business where the bottom line, isn't necessarily the bottom line. The students will be involved with everything from creating backpacks, t-shirts and advertising to selling, packing and delivering backpacks and supplies. Students will learn important, hands-on life skills that they can take with them into the future they are creating.
The future of MeForYou will be to help local students first, then branch out to help other students in other cities, then other states. We also have a vision of taking MeForYou and the Buy One. Bless One. tagline as an opportunity to help in other areas of social need. Some areas are clothing, food, books, mentoring, the list goes on and on. Our backpacks are the first step of hopefully many in the future.
MeForYou will be created for people who want to see a change and help with educating underprivileged students, but they just aren’t sure how to help. Buying our backpacks will: give the owner a great looking, quality bag; a student in need a backpack with necessary school supplies; and help support a business that is staffed by students who want to see that same change in their communities.
MeForYou will have a backpack line with a mix of styles and options that would fit primary grades, middle school or high school/college markets. Our graphic T-shirts will help us with branding, creating extra revenue, and also a percentage of the t-shirt profit will also go to help students in need.
We have contacted our local YMCA, Salvation Army and other local programs that work with people in poverty. We have identified over 500 students in our town, Mankato, and over another 400 students in surrounding towns that have students who currently qualify and depend on free/reduced lunch programs. These organizations will help us to distribute the supplies to the students who are most in need.
The founders of MeForYou Ally Kroehler, a student, and Coralyn Musser, a student leader, both believe they were made to make a difference. They feel a strong calling to not only "pay it forward" but to use MeForYou as a way to meet the needs of students and to create a business where our fellow students can volunteer and work together under a common cause to help others themselves.
MeForYou has a great business plan, T-shirts, a website, and school supplies ready to be donated. The primary place where we see a stumbling block are our start-up costs. The research shows that when kids can start school with the right supplies:test scores rise, absenteeism drops, disruptive behavior diminishes and kids feel better about themselves. We need to create this business so we can continue with what we’ve started.
There is a definite unmet need in our community, in our state and nation. We believe there are tons of students who need our help and we also believe that there are a lot of people who want to help them. With MeForYou, we can bridge the gap between these two groups and make a positive change in both of their lives.