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wabash college caps off a great semester with some gingerbread and a fun economics activity

December 08, 2011 | Crawfordsville, Ind.

Every December, all of College Mentors for Kids chapters host a holiday party to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the kids and the chapter as a whole. This year, College Mentors’ Wabash College chapter paired the holiday party with an end of year economics activity.

Ike Homburg, Wabash College chapter president, said their holiday activities keep kids engaged while teaching an important lesson.

“For the past couple years, we have been making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, icing and candy,” Homburg said. “We encourage our mentors to work with the kids, holding the graham crackers in place and giving ideas and opinions, but the majority of the work is done by the kids. We’re really trying to show them fun ways to be creative that they can take home and work on with their family.”

Along with decorating the houses, the kids participated in an activity with an economics professor focused on supply and demand, and how to responsibly save and spend money.

“The education-half of our final activity corresponds with the ‘store’ that our kids can buy small but fun prizes at,” Homburg said. “The professor who helped with the activity split the kids in half and let some be buyers and some kids act as sellers, but they both had to try to make a profit. The kids learned that if they save their money by buying something small or nothing at all this time, they can save up and get a bigger prize in the spring."

Erin Murphy, College Mentors’ associate program director overseeing the Wabash College chapter, is proud of the accomplishments and impact the mentors are making on their kids.

“Wabash College’s chapter has had an outstanding semester,” Murphy said. “They’ve been able to keep these kids engaged from the beginning. I love visiting the chapter and watching how much all the kids look up to their mentors. This spring is going to be another wonderful semester of programming, and I can’t wait to see the continued impact on these kids.”

The impact Wabash College mentors are having on these kids was demonstrated at the very end of the activity when Homburg was passing out “buddy bucks” to be used at their prize store.

“We always make sure that we are rewarding the kids’ accomplishments and good behavior,” Homburg said. “At the end of our last activity, I was handing out the buddy bucks like we usually do, and I was stopped by one of the kids who just received theirs. He told me that I gave him one dollar too many, and instantly handed it back. I was so impressed with his honesty, I had to reward him one more, anyway!

“That’s the impact we are trying to make, and that’s what keeps us driven to plan solid and meaningful activities,” Homburg said. “I just want to make a lasting impression on our kids, and I think we are doing just that.”