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Students set sights on helping furry friends

By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
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The owner of the local pizza restaurant, the inventor who sells his ideas and 10 students at Roseville High School all have something in common – each is testing out entrepreneurial skills with different business ventures. The students make up the high school’s Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship team, which is a 6-year-old international organization that promotes the business skills of high school students in connection with giving something back to their community. Lending a Paw, Roseville’s SAGE business, combines fashion and design with preventing animal cruelty. Over the course of the school year, the students have designed cat beds, shoulder bags, T-shirts, painted pet rocks and custom beds – all in support of the Placer County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. From start to finish, the students have stitched, stuffed and sewed more than 100 pet beds that were donated to the PSPCA and have made more than 1,000 Adopt Bags that were sold and raised funds for the society. The Adopt Bags have stitched words that portray the good that comes from adopting – Adopt: joy, love, happiness, hope and peace. Kate Steinkamp, the vice president of Roseville’s SAGE, volunteered for the SPCA previously and saw the importance of helping the animals. The club, about to end its first year at Roseville High School, voted on the cause and agreed SPCA was the direction they wanted to go. “SAGE is about being a business, but we wanted to make it about helping too,” Steinkamp said. As a junior, Steinkamp originally played with the idea of becoming a zoologist, but getting involved in SAGE has changed her outlook. “I really didn’t think I’d make something out of this,” she said. “But you’re able to help someone else.” Steinkamp has had a first-hand look at what business can bring. She said her favorite part about Lending a Paw was seeing all the animals using their pet beds at the Pet Fest, PSPCA’s annual awareness event. Victoria Nguyen, the secretary for Roseville’s SAGE, said she got involved in the club because it set the stage for her business and fashion interests to collide. Besides designing and creating bags and beds from scratch, Nguyen enjoyed “our creativity that we put into our work.” As a team, Roseville High School’s SAGE club attended a statewide competition at the end of April where their ideas were shown and their business plans were heard. Although they didn’t qualify for the national and international competitions, they left with a positive outlook and determination for next year. “I think our group made a big impact,” Steinkamp said. Roseville’s SAGE club began through the high school’s Fashion Design and Merchandising class, using their sewing skills to design things to sell. Tara Kringel, the advisor for Roseville’s SAGE, said there are strong benefits of joining the club, including working with and receiving advice from business owners, communication skills and recognition. Kringel said she likes the students to have a real feel for how to run a successful company. “I really want it to be their business,” she said. Approximately 20 percent of profits go toward the purchase of new materials; the rest is donated to PSPCA. SAGE strives to show young students that they have the potential to change the world. And in the case of Roseville High School’s SAGE team, they are doing it one pet bed, handbag and T-shirt at a time.