The Paperclip Project / TradeAid

TradeAid’s Final Reflection

Trade Aid is a social non-profit business whose sole mission is to make the world a better place, specifically for those with pediatric cancer.  We raise money by trading up what we have for items that are more valuable and liquidate them if possible, and allowing the community to help us.

Challenges and Successes of our project:

In our project we have had a number of challenges, and for each one we have had to adapt and rise to the occasion.  For example, we had to make at least one trade every week.  This became very stressful for our group because if we didn’t trade not only would we not get an A for the week, but we also wouldn’t increase the value of our assets for the week and make as big of an impact as we possibly could have.  A major success for us was that the group actually managed to make a trade every week keeping us on track to help kids with pediatric cancer.  Another challenge we had was when one of our group members left us.  He used to do the spreadsheet and make a lot of trades.  When he left, we had to delegate out the task of doing the spreadsheet and we all had to step up and make more trades.  Another challenge was liquidating all of our assets to donate.  We all had to scramble and pull our weight to get rid of all of our remaining assets.  It was hard, but we all pulled through and managed to liquidate all of our assets.  After this we all felt ecstatic because we were almost done transforming our assets into something with a long-lasting positive impact.

Jeff Gordon

NASCAR Driver, Philanthropist, and all-around great guy, Jeff Gordon

Along the way though, we lost our way.  We kept thinking about what the next trade would be instead of thinking about how this will benefit our cause.  We stopped seeing this project as a way to make the world as a better place, but only as a necessary evil to maintain a good grade.  The worst part about it is we never figured it out until it was almost too late.  We had our eureka moment on the second to last day of the project where we rediscovered what our company was about.  After we figured this out we righted all of our wrongs and made sure we made the biggest impact we could possibly make!  After I emailed Jeff Gordon about our social business he thought what we were doing was fantastic!  We all felt ecstatic that not only did Jeff Gordon remember us, he congratulated us on the accomplishment.  No matter what challenge we faced, we always came out on top.


One on the most key aspects on any project is why?  Where’s the motivation for it?  Are you here just for the grades?  Why do we even bother?

Here at Trade Aid, we feel our motivation is one of key factors to our success.  Stuck with a paperclip we felt lost and confused about what to do.  When we traded with Jeff Gordon and saw what we could do we were amazed and inspired to do more things.  We wanted to do our greatest good for the community and it helped us all connect with each other.  This is what pushed us forward to do more and keep making those trades.  It allowed us to connect with people who were interested in our story, and made all of us feel better and more accomplished.  That is what we strive to do and why we work as hard as we do.

Matthew’s Story (It’s fun because it rhymes)

Week 1

At the beginning of week one, we decided to have some fun. We began with a paperclip that we had to flip for something meaningful. We decided to contact Jeff Gordon to see if he would trade. Like a knight in shining armor, he leapt upon the chance to help out Mr. Downs’s Civics students. And so, we traded a paperclip for an autographed lanyard.

Week 2

As soon as it started, week two flew by in a flurry of new as we traded our precious lanyard for a Patriots flag and a Dick’s gift card. My heart was a little saddened by the reality that we may never top our first trade.

Week 3

As week three came in, our egos stung us like a bee when we made two trades instead of one. We traded the Patriots flag for an autographed basketball and the gift card for a Hornets t-shirt. The pressure to trade every week meant that our future did look bleak. For it made us trade at a much lower profit than that of a Barter King.

Week 4

During week four, we wanted some more but we found it harder to trade because we had less desirable items than before. It was as if we were reaching for a light that was making impact, but we just couldn’t reach.

However, we too on the challenge and traded our Hornets shirt for a Seahawks jersey and  a Hornets bobblehead, but there was still doubt ahead.

Week 5

By week 5, we were in full drive. We traded the Hornets bobble head for an ACC poster signed by NBA player Mason Plumlee himself. I could hardly resist the temptation to put it on my shelf. To add to our satisfaction, we traded for a tie of the Vineyard Vines variety that released some of our anxiety.

Week 6

When week six began, we pulled an idea from our bag of tricks. In order to get a trade every week while gaining profit from our big items, we traded our tie for assorted school supplies, how cool.

However, Jake did declare with a puff of air that he was not satisfied with our current affairs.

Week 7

As week seven came, we were in heaven with no troubles to be seen. With the certainty of a last minute trade, we were no longer afraid. In fact, we traded our ACC poster for a Gift Card which was in high demand. For cash is always easy to trade while our basketball didn’t have any aid to us.

Week 8

On week eight, we had a great time trying to get rid of the basketball. We agreed to sell it at the PD auction, but they wouldn’t agree to our cause, and it fell through in week 9.

At this point, tension is rising. We look around and see that hands down, we are not the most meaningful group.

Week 9

On week nine we crossed the line between having fun and making an impact, after the resignation of Jake, we reformed and regrouped to trade our gift card for a spot at a karate camp worth $240, like true Barter Kings

Five is better than four, but four together is better than five apart.

Week 10

We finished week ten when we traded our expo markers to Mr.Li for a sword that could strike down any daring cancer cell, and we also recieved a broken pencil

Week 11

On week eleven, well we already used all the rhymes for that, we traded some school supplies to Mrs. Collins for a Barnes & Noble gift card. Then, we started to figure out how to work out our end game.

Week 12

At the start of week twelve, we delved into our inventory to find any last minute trades we would like to make. We traded our sword for some collectible ducks.

Week 13

It’s week thirteen and I need some caffeine because reading this is taking a lot of energy. We traded some school supplies for two flash drives, and we think our company will survive.

Week 14

Week fourteen, what a scene we are at the end of our journey. We finally got rid of that basketball for a t-shirt from the school store. Now we must sell, our project went swell. I wish we could do it again.


Liquidating was tough because it was awkward to sell all of our items, because who wants to buy an old flash drive or a spot at a karate camp?  We managed to do it, although it was tough.  We will donate all our money to Jeff Gordon’s charity.  We felt awesome and filled with immense pride for our accomplishment.  Finally feeling as if we made the world around us a better place.


This project showed us that even though it is good to have a beneficiary of our project, it shouldn’t blind us from doing good from others too.  This project was more than just a grade, this was a valuable insight for all of us, allowing us to make a positive impact on the world.


To view TradeAid’s mid-semester advertisement, click here.


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