We were fortunate to have some special visitors in the Chamber office last week. Sergio Garcia and Jesus Gutierrez, students from Glenview Middle School and creators of The East Moline Paletero Project, were connected to Chamber staff to build strategies to raise money to get their business off the ground. El Paletero is a Mexican cultural tradition whereby a Paleta (popsicle) vendor pushes a cart through the streets of Mexico distributing a variety of delicious handmade Paletas to the public. The East Moline Paletero Project was developed to help raise funds that would enable students to attend a class trip to Washington, D.C. in 2019.
The cost of the trip can be a barrier for many families and so Margarita Mojica, 7th and 8th grade ELL teacher at Glenview Middle School and her students came up with the idea to sell Paletas to earn the money needed. The Quad Cities community has stepped up in a big way to help get the project rolling.
For example, individual donations have helped the Paletero Project purchase the popsicles to get the project started. Jose Nunez, an engineer at Deere & Company, is helping to build the boys an authentic Mexican paletero bike to use this summer, and Quad Cities Chamber member, Cristina Sanchez-Lopez, Country Style Ice Cream donated freezer space where the boys could store their product.
At the Chamber the boys were connected with staff to go over soft skills, including how to shake hands and how to make an introduction. They were able to go over a business plan, a business pitch, and also created strategies to help raise the money needed to make this project a success.
Notice their business attire? The ties they wore have a community connection as well. Sergio Garcia and Jesus Gutierrez recently participated in a community program to help develop their confidence and connected them with mentors through the Boys Minority Youth Forum at the Deere Wyman House. At this event they were given ties and were taught how to tie them. Those were the same ties that they wore to the meeting at the Chamber.
Thank you to all of the community members and business leaders for dedicating time and resources to help these young Quad Citizens succeed.