A new endeavour within the Wanta Academies this year is to support students in developing and delivering their own social enterprises within their communities. The goal is to develop their understanding of social enterprises, how running a small business can support economic freedom, and to provide opportunities for them to develop a multitude of skills, including independence, confidence, customer service, money handling, and teamwork. The hope for the Academy Directors is that the skills and experiences they will gain through their social enterprise projects will allow students to highlight strengths, perhaps find enjoyment or purpose in the process, and may contribute to them undertaking employment in the future…and maybe even setting up their own small business!

The Senior class at Kalkaringi School has been working with Ellie, the Academy Director, with the strong support of Jan, the senior class teacher, to build their social enterprise idea. Ultimately social enterprises look to use their profits to keep the business running whilst investing in local community improvement. At the start of the project, the seniors discussed areas of the community they would like to see improved and brainstormed ideas of services or products they could deliver to their community to improve these areas.  Amongst many great ideas of local footy team merchandise, tie dye t-shirts, and a coffee shop, the common theme was bringing community members together and providing an alternative option to engaging in antisocial behaviour. Food is always a winner in community and the students eventually decided to host termly movie nights and discos where they would sell food and drink for guests. The social enterprise was named ‘Wanta Join Us?’.

The planning sessions included logo designing, deciding what to sell and what movie to screen, making shopping lists for ingredients, asking for permission from community organisations to use equipment, deciding on the pricing of items, poster making, writing invites and much more. In the lead up to the official first movie night, the team was finalised to eight committed high school students who really delivered on the night.

On Friday 18th June, the senior students (with the support of Ellie, Jan, and other Kalkaringi School teachers) were responsible for everything for the event, from the set-up of the BBQ and movie screen to the food preparation, to serving the customers and handling money. The students screened The Croods 2: A New Age and they sold burgers, hotdogs, soft drinks, popcorn, and Milo. For a first run, it was a huge success with a great turn out from community and wonderfully positive responses.

The following week the students counted the money and, after factoring in expenses for ingredients, they calculated the profit to be just under $300! They also wrote thank you cards to the teachers that helped make the event a success and then evaluated the event, looking at what went well and where it could have been improved. The students noted that we ran out of food and drinks sooner than anticipated as we underestimated the turn out. Knowing the demand was much higher than we originally expected, we will buy more drinks and burgers next time….and hopefully make a larger profit as a result!

Well done to Scotty, Eddie, Paul, Alaston, Kerri-lee, Richaundia, Jimma, and Nonnie for their efforts – they all showed fantastic can-do attitudes, put themselves out of their comfort zones, worked well as a team, and displayed great commitment, staying for the whole event, and packing down at 9.30pm. A big thank you to the generous teachers who came to support the seniors in the running of the event, including bus runs, tech support, and crowd control. We are already looking forward to our next one in Term 3 after the holidays!

We also have some exciting enterprise initiatives up and running in other communities, such as Yuendumu, Arlparra, Lajamanu and Beswick which we look forward to sharing with you soon. Wanta would like to thank contributors; Katie and Mark Davies as well as The Sunshine Foundation for allowing our Social Enterprise program to happen.

Written by Ellie Simmons, Director Kalkaringi Sports Academy.