“My first memory of life is when some guy my mom was kicking out broke a beer bottle on my head at the age of two. She was pacing back and forth yelling, and this guy just stood there agitated, till he went to get a new beer from the fridge. He took one swig, then chucked the bottle across the room at me yelling, ‘YOU WANT ME OUT, FINE I'M OUT!’ I watched it soar towards me til it hit me smack across the head and shattered into pieces. The weight of the bottle stunned me, turned the whole room red, and I learned for the first time the unique type of burn alcohol has on an open wound. My skull still has the fracture lines across my forehead.
By the age of nine, I was heading into foster care with my younger siblings for my third tour, 5th placement. We entered into a room with 13 or 14 other kids, some of whom were raging at the world, some were bawling their eyes out, and others were so statuesque that you had to really be paying attention to even know they were there. The nurse looked at the four of us walking in and threw up her hands in disgust at the extra workload, and I just remember thinking how bizarre that was. There, in front of me, was an adult who seemed to have her life together, who couldn't take care of kids--or, at least, was worse than me at it.
I walked up to her when it came time for my blood work and asked her, ‘What's going on? Why isn't anyone consoling these kids.’ She turned to me and said something that I've both, word for word, never forgotten, and the handful of words that would motivate me into developing the non-profit that I have today. She turned to me and she said:
‘You know, I see where you're coming from there kid, but the sad fact is--according to all the books and statistics I've read--90% of you will die, end up on drugs, on the streets, or contribute back to the system. Only 10% of you will make more than $15k per year, and only the top 1% of you will ever hope to graduate from college. I just don't have high hopes for you.’
A ton of what I went through as a kid is a bit blurred together for how similar in context the experiences were, but that doesn't stop the experience or feeling from still existing. The above are just a few moments that still stand out to me.
Dis-empowerment is a constant quest to reconcile someone's value to a world that would allow a trauma to happen to said person. The only way I've ever found to consistently treat dis-empowerment is to take a person who's been through tremendous injustice, and give them the chance to help someone else who is currently going through it; To give youth the chance to have immediate and measurable impact, become indispensable to the person in front of them, that--in a way--gives them the tools and experience necessary to handle said tragedy should it ever happen to them. This is what we do at the Young Entrepreneurs Club--we just happen to teach youth, ages 8-18, how to build businesses in the process.
Never really fixes the damage or resets the stage--but it does a lot to give youth in need a new, more positive, purpose.”
Founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Club
How We Do It:
Believe it or not, we founded this organization on the premise that businesses each of our members build would eventually cover all brick and motor cost of running our program—freeing up all donations to go exclusively to helping the youth with their projects. We’re still pretty new as an organization, but we’ve already set into motion ways to earn funds through AirBnB, art and wine walks, and we’re eager to continue expanding our business models and other ideas to anyone who’d like to partner with us.
In the meantime, every little bit helps—and to help highlight that point further:
Did you know, that if everyone in Glendale, Arizona gave just $20 today—we would be fully funded for the next 20 years?
Or if all of Phoenix gave just $1 per person, we would be fully funded for the next 19 years. There’s no set limit to what you can give, but—if you’re interested in helping our staff have the full support they need to be able to give support to others—we ask that you carefully consider giving only what you would not feel burdened by.
Whether that be by using:
Amazon Smile to chose where Amazon sends the portion of your purchases they donate to 501c3 charities.
Signing up to use Square’s Cash App, and being refunded the first $5 you donate using $jointheyec (which they match).
Helping to raise funds on Giving Tuesday for this year’s dollar-to-dollar match.
Simply donating to our Paypal account for a full tax write-off.
What We Do:
As a club, we’re committed to what we call the three pillars:
Uniting the voices of foster, at risk, and homeless youth communities.
-When there are 15 million to 19 million underprivileged youth in the U.S., depending on who you read, why are we still trying to argue for change 20 social workers at a time?
-Why is there so much burnout amongst youth workers?
-Why don’t the youth get a say in what they need?
-What would happen if we all had a place where we could dialog about our our struggles in a collaborative environment, and voice issues together?
We don’t know, but feel free to join our group page if you’re as eager as us to find out!
Supporting our youth workers, and teaching about vicarious trauma.
Have you ever read a really good book, or watched a great movie, and felt yourself almost becoming one of the characters?
Well, that same feeling happens when working with youth who have been assaulted, neglected, starved, or in-any-other-way abused—and, if you’re like most youth workers who come in thinking they’re going to save kids, you can easily find yourself caught between trauma and unrealistic—even harmful—ways in addressing the issue.
Talk about a rock and a hard place.
If you’re interested in learning how to prevent yourself from getting burnt out, how to give the youth you aim to work with back some of their a voice, and how to better recognize the realistic goals these young men and women have in surviving—maybe even thriving—what they’re going through in a way that no longer leaves them alone in their battle, feel free to contact us to learn how to schedule a seminar for your organization.
Breaking down dis-empowerment.
Everyone who’s been through trauma has to reconcile their importance to a world that would allow said trauma to happen—but for a child, who identity is so dependent on trying to figure out what they mean to the world around them in general, trying to answer the question of whether or not they are important can be especially daunting.
So, how do you help them figure out how to answer that question?
We, at the Y.E.C., teach service to empowerment. Every youth gets the chance to have an immediate and measurable impact, on the lives of people who would typically consider our Young Entrepreneurs indispensable in the moment, while giving each youth the tools they’d need to handle such circumstances should they ever arise within their own lives—almost as a consequence! We train our partners on how to teach the above, personal finance, and lean launch business to youth—however, if you’d like a copy of our open source service project curriculum, please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!