From Pennsylvania to Bolivia!! How the Penn State Altoona Enactus Club Helped an Orphanage During Spring Break

The Penn State Altoona Enactus Club members recently spent their spring break over in Guayaramerín, Bolivia, to help an orphanage open up a coffee shop for the local citizens.

The six students and two faculty members stayed at Andreas Home For Hope And Joy and were there as business students to help with cost analysis of the potential new shop.

“We looked at where their target market would be, if they were in a good location (and if) Brazilians that come across the river to shop at this market near by would be willing to even come stop there, as well as how much a normal citizen of Bolivia would spend on certain products,” said Penn State Altoona sophomore Elissa Calhoun.  

Photo submitted by Elissa Calhoun

The profits of the shop will benefit the orphanage and would provided the owners with a sustainable income and “it would also give the older students of the orphanage the ability to develop not only a strong work ethic but some marketable skills,” said Calhoun.

The biggest problem the Penn State students found during their trip was that many Bolivians don’t drink hot coffee so the students had to reassess the products that this shop would sell. They found that the Bolivians enjoyed smoothies and other cold drinks that they could sell in place of the hot coffee. The profits for these kinds of drinks are feasible and Calhoun said that now “It’s just a matter of them getting the shell up and figuring out where to go from there.”

This was the club’s first trip to Bolivia and the members plan to make annual returns to the site to help the owners Gary and Jerri Zimmerman of Love In Action International Ministries with other projects.

Photo submitted by Elissa Calhoun

“There’s a lot of opportunities so whether or not it’s focusing on this cafe right now there’s a lot that our organization can still do

with them,” said Calhoun.

The Enactus club members will also present their research at the Enactus National Exposition in Kansas City, Miss on May 20 along with their other projects they’ve worked on this year called Jazzed About Java, Trash to Table, and Don’t waste it! Compost it!.


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