ASI Children's Programs

Children Start Business, Raise Money for Charities Through Yarn Barn


It all started with play and an idea to start a store. The children in the Poly Trekkers program at the Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center wanted to work together to sell items to their classmates.

They gathered craft materials from the classroom, created an employee schedule, and designed their own currency with a stamp. While running the store, they learned some important lessons about customer service, scheduling, employee morale, and fair-hiring practices; but when all of the children wanted to work at the store, they agreed that they needed to find customers outside of the classroom.

The children presented a business plan to ASI Children’s Programs Director Tonya Iversen, and the Yarn Barn was born. They began creating products to sell including pillows, keychains, bracelets, bags, lanyards, and duct-tape wallets.

Once material costs were covered, the children agreed to donate the leftover money from the sale to four charities. They promoted the sale with sidewalk chalk and set up shop in front of Robert E. Kennedy Library with jars to collect donations for the following charities: Woods Humane Society, SOS Children’s Villages, Project Linus, and the Youth Law Center. After the two-day, four-hour sale, the children raised a total of $465!

“They learned to open and run a successful business this summer,” Teacher Erin Stehli said. “Our Poly Trekkers summer program is all about fun and exploration, and this summer, these 8, 9, and 10 year olds walked away with math, business, and entrepreneurial skills.”

The children wanted to throw an ice-cream party for their fellow Yarn Barn employees following the successful sale. They visited their original investor, Tonya, and requested that she co-invest in the party to thank the store’s employees. Full of ice cream and happy with their successful business venture, the children finished their summer program with new memories, new friends, and some impressive new skills.

Poly Trekkers is a summer program at the ASI Children’s Center that offers activities, exploration, and play for children on campus. If you are interested in learning more about the services offered at the center, please visit the Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center or call 805-756-1267.