EAST MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - A group of girls from East Moline is selling Mexican popsicles, paletas, after their trike was stolen and vandalized last year.
They're raising money so they can send two eighth graders to Washington D.C. on their class trip that they otherwise may not have been able to afford on their own.
Jessica Morales, one of the eighth graders said, "usually it'd take me a long time to get me on my own to go but this is helping me raise money to go."
The East Moline Paletera Project got started last year, with all boys. This year, it's all girls, and that's significant for the paleteras: "it feels pretty cool since it's the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment that allowed women the right to vote. And it's pretty cool that the team is just girls" said Lupe Cuellar, one of the senior paleteras.
Their slogan "she se puede" puts a modern spin to the traditional Latin American "si se puede," which means "yes, it can be done."
Beyonce Gonzalez, senior paletera explained, "we're trying to achieve our goal of sending the 2 girls to Washington. We really wanted to emphasize female empowerment and we're girls that come from like a small place. But we want to encourage others to do whatever they think is best for them."
The Paletera Project isn't just helping two girls go to D.C., It's also helping the high schoolers learn how to eventually run their own business.
"I think it gives us an opportunity to get involved in our community and really get into a hands-on experience and running a business" shared Cuellar.
Last year, their paleta trike was stolen and vandalized. But the community came together to help the group.
Sofía Mojica a senior paletera said, "the community was so great and started a gofundme page and one of our community members actually donated a bike to us and that's how we ended up getting money and repaired the other."
The support didn't stop there - the East Moline Fire Department offered to store their bike at their station, keeping it safe. Country Style ice cream is letting the girls use the freezer for their paletas, and San Jose's Paletería helped the girls find a wholesale paleta vendor for a cheap price.
So far, they've sold about 200 paletas, raising $400. To send the two girls to D.C., they need $2800, so go try your own paleta!
You can support the girls at Runner's Park from 5-7 every Sunday night, make sure to bring cash!