The Patriot Balloon Factory will be returning this month with a variety of new balloons to sell instead of focusing only on birthday balloons. They are planning to add more smiley face and congratulations balloons.
Last year, transition support teacher Lily Herzing heard about the idea of starting a Balloon Factory from her colleague at Blake. Hearing that their balloon factory had positive effects for the students, faculty and staff, she knew she had to bring it here. With the help of a grant from the county and her fellow colleagues, the Patriot Balloon Factory opened last May. Being open for about a month, the factory was able to sell approximately 130 balloons.
This opportunity benefits the students running the factory and the students taking orders because it allows there to be a connection between one another. This is a joyful thing because students can buy balloons for their friends to celebrate. It is also easier to purchase a balloon from a school-run business than an outside consumer source and raise school spirit. “I’m most looking forward to seeing them participate, getting out there and making other people happy,” Herzing said.
The students sell balloons using their assistive technology to take orders during lunch. They fill the balloons with helium, then put ribbons and weights on them. Selling balloons allows the students to work on their social skills, be involved within the school community and raise money for their School Community Based (SCB) Program’s Vocational Experience Fund. “I like to put the weights on,” junior Samriti Thakur said.
Being able to connect with everyone in the school is important because it strengthens the school as a whole. The involvement of being in the community and with one another is what builds a school.
The Factory only takes orders Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at lunch. The balloons are delivered during the morning announcements. One mylar balloon costs $3 and a bouquet, which contains a balloon with a print plus a star balloon, is $5.
The date of the balloon factory’s opening will be placed on the morning announcements.