Beautiful, delicate and amazing are some of the words that the sixth grader Justin Jesuele uses to describe his experiences with coral reefs. Each year, students at Justin’s elementary school complete a year-long community service project with the goal of educating their peers on issues important to them and fundraising for an organization that aligns with their chosen cause. For his project, Justin chose to raise funds for the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and awareness about the current state of coral reefs.
At an annual Innovation Fair in the early spring, students present products they design, test and mass produce to raise funds for their chosen organization. Justin designed and manufactured a beat blox, an “elegant, cordless iPhone speaker that doesn’t need to be charged.” At the end of the fair, Justin sold all 29 speakers and raised a record-breaking $580.
Thanks to passionate donors like Justin, CORAL can work with communities to help save coral reefs for future generations. Please read through our Q&A with Justin to learn more about his project, his interests and why he cares about saving coral reefs. If you would like to purchase a beat blox of your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What was the goal of your project?
The goal of my school project was to raise awareness of what is happening to the coral reefs and to try to stop these delicate ecosystems from being destroyed. Coral reefs are so beautiful. I saw pretty amazing ones in the Philippines, and I know that they are in danger of dying all around the world because of dynamite fishing, human carelessness and pollution. Coral Reefs are very important because they protect the coastline from damaging storms and waves and they provide a habitat, shelter, and protection for thousands of marine organisms. By making people aware of the situation reefs face and getting support, I was also able to raise funds.
How did you build out your plan to reach your goal?
I thought of a new product that would appeal to my school community that I could manufacture by myself. I love music, so I decided to make an iPhone speaker. I made a few prototypes that failed, or that didn’t look that great. It was very frustrating coming up with the idea. Finally, I came up with a speaker that worked, was solid and not too expensive to make. When I was sure I had my finished product, I started manufacturing the speakers.
How did you promote your project to raise money?
I created flyers to advertise to the school community. I also presented the product at the school assembly. I tried to create some buzz by talking to students about it.
Why did you choose the Coral Reef Alliance to benefit from the sale of your beat blox?
When I was researching for an organization, I was overwhelmed with the number of choices. It was hard to tell which one was better. But Coral Reef Alliance had a good nonprofit rating, so I thought that was a good sign. It also sounds like they are doing good work around the world. I hope someday they help the coral reefs in the Philippines as well.
Fun Facts about Justin
What are three single words that describe your personality?
Innovative, adventurous and curious
To date, what’s been your favorite travel destination?
The islands of Palawan in the Philippines
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Tinkering, rock climbing and fishing
What’s your favorite subject at school?
STEAM is my favorite subject in school because I get to innovate, create different projects and express myself and my ideas with physical creations.