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Do it for the children

Juan Cancio | Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Student International Business Council (SIBC) is composed of many Notre Dame students who embark on projects to try and find solutions to a myriad of problems national companies face on a daily basis. Although many of said projects have a national or even international focus, there are a few projects that attempt to focus on problems faced by local South Bend entities as well.

One such local project is aimed at developing, publishing and successfully marketing a children’s book for the Robinson Community Learning Center in order to provide it with a new source of revenue for its many programs.

The book is titled “Every Child has a Story” and this process began almost two years ago under the leadership of Notre Dame students. Ming Archbold started this interesting project in the spring of 2011, during his sophomore year.

“The idea was to have children [of the center]… write and illustrate a children’s book about their culture and values,” he said.
The project started off with only four ND students trying to push this idea forward, but it has now expanded to around seven students. The SIBC group started this process by having 20 students in the after-school program at the center begin brainstorming ideas for what direction they wanted the story to head in. Ming also expressed, “As group leaders…[the] ND students would just make sure the children within each group were working together and that the stories weren’t getting too out of hand.” In other words, the creative direction of this project was solely dictated by the children at the center in order to ensure an honest representation of who they really are.

Geraldine Mukumbi, the current project manager, said, “the most grueling [part of this process was getting] the content that we had and making it conform to [the publisher’s standards.]” In order to maximize opportunities to sell this book, the SIBC group made certain to publish an e-version on CreateSpace, an online self-publication service by Amazon. After all their effort, the group successfully digitized the children’s book and has made it available for online purchase of both hard and e-copy.

Now that the group has reached this milestone, its has ambitiously decided to try and sell a minimum of 200 books by the end of the semester. The organizers of this project are now calling us, the Notre Dame community, to help reach their goal and, in doing so, fund some of the amazing services this center is able to perform. In the following weeks you will start to see an aggressive on-campus push to advertise this wonderful endeavor; expect table tents in the dining halls and LaFortune, possible book sales at the Eck Visitors Center and Hammes bookstore during home football game weekends and maybe even celebrity endorsements to try and spread the word about this book.

This effort unites Notre Dame students’ passion for service with the Robinson Community Learning Center’s need for revenue. All profits from this project will go towards benefiting a community center that has been helping our local community for almost 13 years now.

The entire South Bend community will benefit from these funds since the Robinson Community Learning Center hosts enrichment programs for the children, adults and elderly of South Bend. Ideally, in the long run, the SIBC will be able to hand off the responsibilities of selling and advertising this book to the Robinson Center and provide it with a stable revenue source with possibilities of expansion into a children’s book series.

Any and all help in making this dream a reality will no doubt be greatly appreciated by the center and the SIBC group; if you have any ideas to help move this project forward or have connections that may help sales please do not hesitate to email Geraldine Mukumbi at gmukumbi@nd.edu.

Juan Cancio is a junior in the College of Arts and Letters. He can be contacted at jcancio@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.