OUR PROGRAM: The Sweet Potato Project provides a unique, disciplined and cultural approach to motivating and educating “at-risk” youth on the benefits of entrepreneurship in low-income, disadvantaged communities. The project is based on the theory that poverty, unemployment, and lack of economic opportunities fuel illegal drug activity, the disproportionate minority high school dropout rate and the incarceration of (mostly) minority youth in juvenile and, eventually, adult correctional facilities.
Below is a summary of our nine-week summer program:
WEEK ONE: GETTING TO KNOW YOU (June 9th – June 12th)
Goals: Set tone; farming and neighborhood dynamics; urban planting and community ownership; youth interaction; Assess knowledge & strengths.
WEEK TWO: SELF DETERMINATION (June 16th – June 19th)
Goals: Introduce youth to formal communication platforms; Introduce to varying economic factors in upper, middle and low-income areas; Focus on personal and professional communication.
WEEK THREE: CONFLICT EDUCATION (June 23rd – June 26th)
Goals: Identify ways to deescalate conflicts; Use Conflict education to get to unity and team inter-dependence; Encourage youth to see global and local roots of violence; Encourage self-responsibility in deescalating conflicts.
WEEK FOUR: PUBLIC SPEAKING/FINANCIAL LITERACY (June 30th – July 3 rd)
Goals: Daily media-review; one-on-one interviews, stress importance of speaking publicly & confidently; Understanding banking necessities (checking and savings); Understanding predatory lending and establishing and maintaining “good credit.
Goals: Understanding Produce & Products (sweet potato-based products); Understand nutritional value, cooking and food processing procedures; Introduction to current and new products and understanding of “product lines.”
Goals: Define concepts of “Branding” and “Marketing”; Introduce and discuss product development & distribution; Identify consumer and community branding and marketing; Introduce demographic marketing (what’s sold, how and why it sells).
Goals: Understanding the mechanics of creating the basic business plan; Understanding Competition / Financial Management; Location, Location, Location; Understanding Profit & Loss.
Goals: Understanding Our Produce & Products (sweet potato-based products); Understand nutritional value, cooking and food processing procedures; Introduction to current and new products and understanding of “product lines.”
Goals: Finalize New Products; Post-program evaluations; Review of Nine Week lessons; Plan & execute End-of-Summer-Session public event.