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Small Business, Big Change

It is the season of giving and small businesses around Anchorage have gotten in the spirit for Lake Hood’s Community PLUS Schools Adventure Club.

Alaska Escape RoomsGet AirAlaska Rock Gym, and Midnight Sun Car & Van Rental have all donated their services, time and attention for the 12 Anchorage School District students participating in the club.

Although in healthy competition as businesses, as philanthropists and role models they work for a common cause: to show Anchorage youth they care about their success and provide opportunities the students otherwise wouldn’t have.

Adventure Club and other Community PLUS Schools clubs give students struggling with attendance a reason to show up to school and strengthen their connection to community—a task that the small businesses have taken on wholeheartedly.

Alaska Escape Rooms owner, Graeme Deishl, knows just how important the task is saying, “What we try to do and what United Way is trying to do is support children and raise them up with as many fair chances as we can. Not everyone is born with the same opportunities. Not everyone is born with the same structure at home. Anything we can do as a community to give students that same chance is really important.”

The benefits of the Adventure Club extend beyond increased attendance. The activities that School Counselor and PLUS clubs Manager Angie Jensen set up for the group also promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills, encourage physical activity, and instill self-confidence. As a bonus, they get to see the inner workings of how small businesses operate and talk with the owners firsthand, which gives budding entrepreneurs something to aspire to.

Lake Hood Counselor and Community PLUS Schools Club Manager, Angie Jensen, with the PLUS Adventure Club

“As business owners, we have the unique ability to show children new directions, mentor them, and expose them to new career paths and opportunities within the business community. We also have a chance to lead by example,” said Graeme.

The impact local businesses can have by supporting Adventure Club and the dozens of other PLUS clubs around town is important. Increased attendance leads to increased high school graduation rates and increased high school graduation rates lead to a better, more prepared workforce made up of individuals with higher earning potential and spending power than those that didn’t graduate high school.

By playing a hand in keeping students engaged and connected to school, small business owners are securing a brighter economic future for all in our city.

And if you ask Graeme and the other participating business owners, it’s changing young lives and the course of our economic future at very little cost to their businesses, “If there’s something that we can do, we should do it. In the end, it adds up to big change.”