Fidelity Bank, Teach For America’s New Project Empowers Local Students While Teaching Entrepreneurship

NEW ORLEANS – Fidelity Bank and Teach For America have invited local students, teachers and mentors to generate solutions to some of the most pressing community issues facing New Orleans such as public safety, criminal justice and bullying as part of the culmination of a year-long pilot program called Young Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Project (YECP).

         The program uses collaborative talent to foster leadership and innovative entrepreneurship among New Orleans K-12 students by working with teachers and business and community leaders to identify social injustice issues, research their roots and impacts and create various business and social ventures to address the problems.

         Throughout the school year, students and teachers discussed six primary areas of focus, which included public safety, criminal justice, feminism and sexual health, child abuse and bullying, youth empowerment and change making ideas. The young entrepreneur program is designed to include student empowerment and leadership in the city’s educational system in an attempt to end the social injustices in New Orleans and to create personal success for all participating students.

         The YECP curriculum teaches students skills such as organizational management and development, while also immersing the students in value-oriented goals. “These children are the future of New Orleans,” says Alton McRee, President and CEO of Fidelity Bank. “The Young Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Project teaches students how to think strategically, believe in themselves and see their value to New Orleans. Fidelity Bank’s mission is Here for Good, and our Fidelity Bankers live our mission by giving back and serving as mentors for special projects like the YECP. We can’t teach them ingenuity, but we can help them think, operate and respond with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

         The culmination of the YECP will take place on Monday, May 16, 2016, at Xavier University where students, teachers, community leaders, and Fidelity Bank and Teach For America members will share thoughts and provide feedback on business plans formulated by students. After a morning of collaborative sessions with students challenging each other, students will break into focus groups. The winning team will be considered for funding and implementation.

         Teach For America recognizes the classroom is a powerful place for students to find their voice. With the large number of young entrepreneurs moving to New Orleans each year to launch their own companies and social ventures, the Young Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Project was a natural step in classroom innovation. “Each member of our community shares an important role in education,” says Kira Orange Jones, Executive Director, Teach For America-Greater New Orleans. “To ensure that we’re preparing all students to play an active role in their education and chart a course to their college and career aspirations, it will require a new approach to leadership. To facilitate meaningful change in our communities, we must cultivate teachers and school leaders who will in turn empower our youth to visualize their own leadership potential in their neighborhoods.”

         In its first year, the YECP has received support from 15 business and community leaders who serve as mentors and advisers, and the program has reached six local schools and 200 students.

 

 

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