The Book Boss Program—a Community Sparkplug Project in partnership with The Rensselaerville Institute—recently empowered 24 3rd-5th graders of Lenora P. Miles Elementary to find their creative voices by writing and illustrating their own stories. Each of the budding authors received 10 copies of the books they wrote and participated in a book-signing event held on May 15th. More than 30 community members attended the event, where the students collectively sold more than 234 books, earning $2,448 in book sales. These hard-working student entrepreneurs kept all revenue generated from their book sales and have plans to use their money for things like college funds, helping their families pay for a move, supporting to a local homeless shelter, and some summer fun with friends.
This program is a powerful example of a community-school partnership. Jamela Peterson, a community member and founder of Book Boss and the SocialPreneur Lab, strongly believes that with early knowledge of entrepreneurship students can create economic equality and social impact through business. 5th-grade Book Boss participant Naija Dubose told us in an interview, “I’m excited to be an entrepreneur because before the program I always wanted to write a book and now this program gives me experience.” As a result of a $3,000 project investment by The Rensselaerville Institute, students of Miles Elementary have learned how to creatively express themselves, the power of their voice, and key business skills.
Ms. Peterson teamed up with community leader, resident advocate, and co-founder of the Mays High School Alumni Association, Khalifa Lee, to bring this powerful program to the Southwest Atlanta community. The program offered 12 free workshops and workbooks to guide students through the writing and business development progress. Each workshop engaged students to think critically and write creatively. One of the young authors, Diana, said this about her story, “It has a plot twist. It starts out scary and then turns funny. I love plot twists in movies and books so I wanted to write one of my own.”
The Rensselaerville Institute is working to continue its partnership with L.P Miles to empower students with literacy, arts, and entrepreneurship. If you would like to know how to support or get involved with Book Boss or SocialPreneur Lab e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Community Sparkplugs initiative in Atlanta visit www.rinstitute.org or email Noni Walker at email@example.com.
Read Atlanta Public School’s coverage of the program.