Youth Venture

The Problem

We will be working with youth from the Barry Farms Community of Anacostia. Barry Farms is a small inner-city neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C., adjacent to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Possibly the oldest African American neighborhood in Washington, it is today almost entirely occupied by public housing projects and has a reputation for violent crime, poverty, and neglect, although it has devoted and concerned community activists who believe that it is in the early stages of redevelopment. We are working with youth who have an interest in doing something for their community and becoming leaders. This program will enhance these much needed qualities.

Plan of Action

The longterm goal of the Youth Venture Program is to create a self-sustaining program that will expose students to an entrepreneurial work environment while aiding a non-profit agency whose focus is on developing leadership abilities in youth from the Barry Farms Community in Anacostia. Students will be responsible for creating, running, and managing a virtual store that will sell clothing and other merchandise to support FLY. The clothing and merchandise are designed by Anacostia youth served by FLY. Students will also take part in contributing ideas for new merchandise, developing novel approaches to marketing FLY work, and selling merchandise face-to-face at fairs and other venues. The program leader will be Zack Schwartz, who is entering his second year at American University. Zack has worked at FLY for the past year. Zack served as FLY corporate outreach intern last year, and is now the president of the FLY Club at American University, where he organizes events to help support FLY and encourages other students to volunteer their time to FLY. Zack has more than 5 years of experience in the design and management of his own successful on-line business, Coral Forum (www.CoralForum.com). The two areas that volunteers will work on as well as the skills they will develop are listed below: Development of a Virtual Store Research software needs that fits with budget and website design requirements Learn what constitutes good website design Develop basic coding skills Develop photography skills and learn how to add pictures to the website Development of Marketing and Management Skills Learn basics of customer service Learn basic accounting to keep track of orders, merchandise supplies, and financial accounts Brainstorm and develop advertising approaches Research online advertising outlets like Google Adwords Learn how to communicate with potential customers Plan and run tabling at the H Street Festival, at American University and other venues to advertise and sell merchandise The first phase of the project will take approximately 4 months. Students will work up to 10 h per week on the project. The goal is to develop a program that will be sustained by other students in years to come. The project will begin in August with the following: • Selection of up to 10 students to work on project. Students are chosen based on their interest and their academic achievement from a pool of about 40 FLY students. • Initial meeting to describe what needs to be accomplished and to develop goals and time lines. Students will be divided into two groups to focus on virtual store and marketing/management skills separately. Weekly student presentations will provide an opportunity for all students to learn about both areas. • Development of Virtual Store Short class on website design, photography. Design of site. Testing site. Site launched. Development of written instructions for maintaining and upgrading site (for later years). • Development of Marketing and Management Skills Short class on advertising and marketing on-line and in person. Development of advertising and marketing plans Practice customer service skills Create materials for tabling Run practice tabling at FLY Development of written instructions for future participants. Youth Venture Program Learning Objectives. 1. Students will be able to describe the characteristics of a successful website, the requirements for launching new websites, and how websites are evaluated. 2. Students will be able to plan, execute, and evaluate marketing campaigns. 3. Students will be able to participate in cooperative activities in a variety of different working environments. 4. Students will learn about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and why they are so valuable in our economy. Youth Venture Program Fiscal Objectives: 1. Create a self-sustaining program to continue to train students each year and financially support FLY activities. 2. Get youth excited about fundraising for their programming and how to support it. Long term outcomes that we expect to see will be a more entrepreneurial spirit of the youth at FLY. Our goal is to achieve the above objectives through the course of this program. They combine personal growth for the youth so that they feel more comfortable with the business environment in the DC area, intellectual growth through understanding how communities identify themselves while conducting outreach, and educational growth through marketing/literacy programs. DC is a vibrant commerce environment with businesses catering to all types of people from the residents of each neighborhood to the thousands of tourist who come to visit each day. The Youth Venture Program will teach and encourage the youth to understand how successful business are run and why it is so important to have a plan and be organized. This program will be a positive part of the youth’s resume along with solid background for high school and introductory college business courses. The youth working on this project will come from the Barry Farms community in Anacostia. This neighborhood has a distinct image and the shirts that have been designed have this in mind. The challenge for the youth now is creating new styles to fit other areas of DC. By understanding how they define their community the youth can work together to figure out the best ways of understanding how other neighborhoods define themselves. Their growth will come from marketing and management to ensure they reach the heart of people.

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