The Oakwood Shop
The Oakwood Shop is the newest project at the Oakwood Forest Community Center. Over the past few months, the center has been fortunate enough to have received generous donations of bikes, board games, a variety of toys, basketballs, stuffed animals and so on. This prompted the volunteers to come up with a creative plan to distribute the toys. Librado Mendoza Sosa, Guilford College Junior, Bonner Scholar and volunteer coordinator came up with a creative solution to not only give out the toys, but to make a positive impact on the kids in the process.
How The Oakwood Shop works is students at the center receive “Sosa Bucks” (named after Librado Mendoza Sosa) for showing up to tutoring, having good behavior, cleaning the center, and completing homework. Certain tasks equate different amounts of Sosa Bucks. For example, completing homework in a timely manner wages one dollar while assisting in cleaning-up earns two dollars. As a means to encourage daily participation with the center, showing up on a daily basis earns two Sosa Bucks.
Twice a week, the kids can spend their Sosa Bucks at the Shop on toys, games, and treats.
Mendoza wanted the kids to learn about the benefits of saving money while also improving behavior at the center. So far he’s been impressed by the thriftiness of how kids spend their Sosa Bucks, as many spend a portion of their earnings while putting aside money for later.
Overall, Mendoza believes that in the five weeks since the project launched, the center has become a more efficient and enjoyable environment for the kids and the volunteers. “There has already been a difference in how the kids spend their time in the center as many come ready to work, are eager to clean and tidy the center, listen better to the volunteers and are overall happier.”
Even the parents are on board, as they play an active role in awarding Sosa Bucks and ensuring that the system is fairly enforced. The project has a lot of engagement from the kids, and Librado and his team hope to continue the project throughout the year.
Any toys, games, treats and other items would happily be accepted as donations. You can contact Librado at: email@example.com.
Written by Elijah Rogan-Kelly, Guilford College, Sustainable Food Systems Major, Intern spring 2019