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Youth at The Village Network Boys’ Village Campus have a new outlook on traditional education thanks to The Village Network Entrepreneurship Program.

The Entrepreneurship Program began in spring 2017 and presents traditional education in a way that inspires and promotes individuality, confidence and academic success through the spirit of entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurship is an education reformation,” said Troy Pascley, supervisor of recreational, vocational and entrepreneurial programming at Boys’ Village. “It’s reforming the way kids think about things like problem solving, math, reading and other classroom topics. The program educates them in a way that can directly benefit them in the future.”

By reviewing case studies, theories and lessons, boys enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Program are exposed to all aspects of the entrepreneurial process. Jonathan Tolbert, clinical case manager at Boys’ Village, meets with the boys three days per week to teach them about entrepreneurship.

“The boys learn to the process and tasks of becoming an entrepreneur,” Tolbert said. “We look at several basic and complex concepts that real entrepreneurs have had to encounter.”

The program averages about 10 boys per class, but due to graduation and other summertime transitions, eight boys are currently enrolled. The Entrepreneurship Program, however, is available to all boys living at Boys’ Village as part of their partial hospitalization group, a group session youth living in Boys’ Village cottages attend.

Celebration Day Offers Opportunity to Practice Entrepreneurial Skills

This summer, boys enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Program will have the opportunity to practice the concepts they’re learning in the classroom by managing a baked goods and lemonade stand at Celebration Day.

“We are a part of Celebration Day because our program is capable of providing a service to the community,” Tolbert said. “The lemonade stand will be the first time the boys get to see the whole entrepreneurial process. The boys will physically see the monetary gains and understand how hard work truly pays off. I think Celebration Day will put everything into perspective for them, so I’m really excited to see how the group changes after this event.”

From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., the boys will sell fresh lemonade, sweet and unsweetened tea and packages of homemade chocolate chip, sugar and iced sugar cookies. Boys will also sell plaques engraved with inspirational quotes that reflect their personal journeys. The baked goods stand will sit outside the service building and the plaques stand will sit outside the Arts Center.

“Celebration day is a lot more than what it looks like,” Pascley said. “The boys are going to be learning more than just selling a product, they’re going to have to sell themselves and advertise their business in a professional way.”

By managing the two stands, the boys will learn business, marketing and advertising skills as well as how to handle money and how to evaluate success.

“We’re not giving the boys a test to see what they know and grading it,” Pascley said. “They’re learning how to develop their own company, and its success is based on the boys, how hard they work and how much pride they have in it.”

At the moment, the Entrepreneurship Program is only available at Boys’ Village, but Pascley and Tolbert said that with the support of The Village Network leadership, they have the opportunity to build the program and eventually bring it to other residential locations.

“This program benefits more than just the kids; we’re learning from this too,” Tolbert said. “I’m just as much a part of this as the kids are.”

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