Invest in the "Shark Tank" for Urban Kids
Every year in America, there are half a million kids who drop out of high school due to unseen problems. These secret struggles aren't always obvious at school -- they are often happening at home, such as watching parents split or seeing siblings gonig to prison. Many of these hidden hurts are happening within -- such as embarrassment from being overight, struggling with sexual identity, or battling depression to the brink of attempting suicide. Without hope, they're ready to give up on their future because they don't feel connected to that future, or anyone who sees a better one for the. And for those students who do graduate, too many leave high school without skills, without a plan, and without any clear pathway to success.
BUILD empowers youth to find a vibrant hope again through the experience-based principles of entrepreneurship. Over BUILD's four-year program, students are supported, mentored, and funded to start real businesses with an essential requirement: stay in school and graduate. In a matter of months, students are taught “Spark Skills”: communication, collaboration, problem solving, innovation, self management, and grit. These are entrepreneurial skills that research shows are the key determinants for college, career, and lifelong success. When a 14 or 15 year old creates a company with a valuable product or service that people are willing to pay for, it opens up a fulfilling future in business they never knew was possible. Instead of dropouts, they become educated CEOs.
Since 1999, BUILD has leveraged the "art of the start" to help hundreds of students believe in themselves, think creatively, and graduate from high school. Most BUILD students enroll in college -- for those who stick with BUILD for all four years, 96 perfect graduate high school on time and 80 percent go to college, including schools like Columbia University and UCLA.