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Greed, charity in single lesson

Teens learn e-commerce with a philanthropic twist

Posted: December 8, 2008 9:04 p.m.
Updated: December 9, 2008 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch High School students Kelsey Leggat, left, Tiffany Manio and Alex Adams hold up items they've put on bid at eBay.com as part of a class-wide marketing project. Proceeds of the items sold will go to fire victim relief.

 

In a class that is typically about earning money, students are learning how to earn it and then give it away.
West Ranch High School students in Linda Cox's business and marketing classes are engaging in an eBay e-commerce project with a philanthropic twist - all proceeds of items sold will go to fire victim relief.

Wesley Tierney of Castaic enrolled in Cox's class because he wants to be a business owner.

He said it "feels good to help people out" while learning ways to pursue his own career.

"I thought (the idea) was really nice because we could help fire victims and at the same time learn how the market works and get press releases out and how they work and the media," he said.

Alex Adams of Stevenson Ranch also caught on to the project's double lesson.

"Marketing is in every day life. You see it everywhere you go," he said. "This is a great way to apply marketing and advertising and put it to a good use to help other people. It doesn't always have to be just for a job."

Cox wanted to assign an e-commerce project for a while, one that would also teach students about grass-roots marketing and writing press releases.

But when she saw the tragedy of the recent fires, she wondered how she could combine the project with a way to reach out to the community.

She asked students to bring in an item to sell on eBay.

Each group picked one item to post and monitor for about a week.

A Coach purse, DVDs, shoes, video games, dolls, brand-name jeans, jewelry and a fishing net are just some of the 200 items up for bid, most starting as low as 99 cents.

From press releases sent to Oprah and Dr. Phil to the production of an online Youtube video, the students took the promotion of their cause seriously.

"I'm wanting students to learn the full gamut of putting an item up on eBay, from writing a proper description to sending a thank you note and writing it properly - they're being graded on all of it," she said.

"I've never even used eBay and now I know how," Adams said. "You have to be truthful about the item but also have to make it descriptive and make sure you tell them everything about that product. It's fun listing things on there and everything goes to a great cause."

English major Kelsey Leggat of Castaic said she learned how to incorporate her writing skills into press releases and marketing.

But Leggat said she's especially excited about helping people with the donations.

"I think there are people that need a lot more than we do right now," she said. "So if there was any cause for the money to go to right now I would probably pick that being so close to home as well."

Tiffany Manio of Castaic agreed.

"It feels really good because I know Christmas is a hectic time if you lose something like your home - it's stressful," she said. "So it's good to help someone out and let them relax and enjoy the holidays."

Students are excited to see some items receive bids online, but the bids will end today or Wednesday, Cox said.

The students will use the American Red Cross to get donations to fire victims.

Additionally, Cox will donate the processing fees and students will donate shipping costs, "so more will be donated to fire victims," Cox said.

To access the students' items, type "dancoxrocks!" in the eBay "By seller" search bar.

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