Teacher uses bracelets to spread positive behavior

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 16, 2015

 The Make A Difference Experiment bracelet program features a unique code on each bracelet. People get bracelets for doing positive deeds and then register their bracelets before passing them on to other people doing positive deeds. By registering a bracelet, people are able to track its progress and see why people receive it.

The Make A Difference Experiment bracelet program features a unique code on each bracelet. People get bracelets for doing positive deeds and then register their bracelets before passing them on to other people doing positive deeds. By registering a bracelet, people are able to track its progress and see why people receive it.

Photo by Kevin Bunch

ROSEVILLE — A Roseville High School marketing teacher has started a new program to encourage positive behavior in people through bracelets and the networking power of social media.


Jeff Verkeyn created MADE, or the Make A Difference Experiment, as a bracelet-tracking program that involves people giving away bracelets to others when they see helpful deeds in progress. Verkeyn formed a limited liability corporation to manufacture the bracelets, which are reminiscent of Livestrong bracelets.


Each bracelet has the Web address www.madetracker.com and a unique identification number imprinted on it. Once a person receives a bracelet, Verkeyn said, the person goes to the website and inputs the identification number and a brief story about the good deed, along with a rough location. The recipient can then pass the bracelet to another person who does a good deed.


The website allows people to track the bracelet and see where it went and why it went there.


“If I see a kid stopping someone from getting bullied, helping someone out when they didn’t need to, I go up to them and give them the bracelet and thank them,” Verkeyn said. “They go onto the site, put in the code, and then they have the power to give it to someone they see making a difference.”


He said the program slowly has been rolling out since May. He had spoken to other school districts and organizations in the area to spread the word about his idea before he gave a presentation at the Roseville Community Schools Board of Education meeting Sept. 8. The big rollout took place during Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak over Labor Day weekend, Verkeyn added.


“We already have some in Italy, Alaska, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, all in a short period of time,” Verkeyn said.


He said that since the bracelets are unique, they do cost about $5 apiece, though the price drops with bulk orders. The money goes toward production, the website and getting the word out, Verkeyn said.


Trustee Joseph DeFelice offered Verkeyn a “couple hundred dollars worth” in a personal check to purchase bracelets throughout Roseville Community Schools.


Roseville High School Principal Pete Hedemark said he supported the concept as a way to promote the positive aspects of social media, particularly since the negatives — such as online bullying — get so much attention. He said people could spread the stories of positive behavior to other social media networks.


“This is just the opposite (of bad social media),” Hedemark said. “You can see where your bracelet’s been and how it’s been helping people out.”


Verkeyn said this project is unrelated to his marketing class and that his students have no involvement with it, though he added that the lessons he’s learned in rolling it out should make for helpful material in the marketing class.


In addition to school districts, Verkeyn said he wants to make the bracelets available to businesses, shelters, organizations and religious groups. For more information, visit www.madetracker.com.