The Made-by-Me Workshop

We used to have a holiday shopping event at our school.  A fundraising company would bring in all sorts of knick-knacks (junk) and the kids would bring in their money and “shop” for gifts for family and friends.  The school would make a percentage of the profit and….Voila - fundraising.  Blech!

On the day of the sale, the kids would bring in their hard earned money (often their parents hard earned money) and they would purchase “gifts” for family and friends.  They would gift-wrap and tag these “treasures” at the wrapping station to give them as gifts over the holidays.  This was all done under the supervision of volunteers.  The idea was that parents did not come into the sale because they were to receive the gifts their children had chosen.   The students would shop on their own under the supervision of the volunteers, taking pride and ownership in their grown-up choosing, purchasing, wrapping and delivering experience.

The problem was the CRAP they bought.  It was similar to carnival prizes.  While the idea was lovely - kids using their money to purchase and wrap gifts for their families - the quality was horrible.  After taking an informal survey, parents said that while they supported the idea, they really preferred something their child made vs. the cheaply manufactured trinkets they brought home from the sale.  And so, an idea was born….

The Made-by-Me Workshop

This amazingly creative and successful idea was created by two incredible women who were running the service side of our PTO.  They began by researching to find inexpensive craft kits that kids could create with just a little volunteer assistance.  The idea was really for the kids to make the crafts on their own.  They made sure crafts were appropriate for all ages and for both boys and girls.  Order forms were created and each craft had a price, students simply pre-ordered the kits they would like to make.  The price charged for each kit was just rounded up to the nearest dollar over the cost of the kit.  If you choose, you can charge a bit more to make money or to cover the cost to host a Made-by-Me service project at another local organization.

A spreadsheet was created to organize orders.  This same spreadsheet can be used for check in as well.  Each child had a sheet, or punch card, with they items they ordered listed which they were given at check-in.  As they finished each craft, the volunteers would check it off to indicate the craft had been completed. If, for some reason, the children ran out of time to finish their crafts or were unable to attend the event, they could take their crafts home to create them and wrap them there.

After all of the crafts were completed, the children were directed to the wrapping and tagging station.  There, volunteers supervised the process and made sure names were placed on everything.  All gifts were placed in bags, and happy and proud students took home their treasures.

There are certainly a variety of ways to organize and host a Made-by-Me event.  If you have any wonderful craft ideas, we love for you to share BIG!

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